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RE: [Xen-devel] Migration and CPU type?

  • To: <john.l.byrne@xxxxxx>
  • From: "Noam Taich" <noam.taich@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 00:53:52 -0800
  • Cc: xen-devel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Delivery-date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 09:06:26 +0000
  • List-id: Xen developer discussion <xen-devel.lists.xensource.com>
  • Thread-index: AcYy1oK79q8fyCE7TXuCU4nJ0c3wOg==
  • Thread-topic: RE: [Xen-devel] Migration and CPU type?

John Byrne wrote:

>There are various differences between x86 CPU types that I believe would cause a guest to fail after being migrated. Are there >checks in the migration code to prevent this from happening? Does it check for an "incompatible CPU" and fail early, leaving the >guest running on the source host? If there is a check, what is its nature? (Exact match of CPU type/rev or something based on >CPU-features?)




>John Byrne


No. no checks for CPU type in migration code. And since the RAM image itself is being copied, there are certainly different

Problems created.

But it's even more complicated than that: the question of whether or not the migrated guest will fail or not depends on the CURRENT RAM image, and it may succeed at one point and fail in another one. It all depends on the current state.


Here is an interesting example I ran into:

I created my guest on my Athlon and tried to migrate it to my laptop running a Pentium M. The guest failed.

When I tried the opposite, creating it on my laptop and migrating it to my Athlon, it worked… Not only that,  but now, after being forged in the flamed of the Pentium M, I could migrate it BACK from the Athlon to the laptop…then to an Opteron… That was fun. It can actually function like a roaming guestJ


One problem is that OSs usually gather information on the system they are running, on all the features the CPU offers them.

What if one or more of the features is not supported on the target host? You think it will crash?

NOT necessarily. It won't crash if there's currently no running code on the guest that uses that feature.


I believe It will also be a problem if some code that USES such a feature is ON the guest RAM image, but for some reason is not

Currently running, until a user dose something…this could lead to seemingly unexplained crashes.


I am also interested in future compilations/executions on the migrated OS…

It can be affected too…


NOW, having said that… completely preventing migration between CPUS that are not 100% compatible may not be a good idea…
after all…you may KNOW that the current configuration will work on the other machine (or you may know it was migrated from there

In the first place), and you may need to do a hardware upgrade with no downtime… no reason to prevent this…


I discovered that as long as you create the guest on the machine with the LEAST amount of features among the ones it may

Be migrated to (the one that has NO feature the other ones don't have) , the migration seems to work fine in every direction.



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