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Re: [Xen-devel] [RFC 2/2] x86, vdso, pvclock: Simplify and speed up the vdso pvclock reader

On Jan 6, 2015 4:01 AM, "Paolo Bonzini" <pbonzini@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On 06/01/2015 09:42, Paolo Bonzini wrote:
> > > > Still confused.  So we can freeze all vCPUs in the host, then update
> > > > pvti 1, then resume vCPU 1, then update pvti 0?  In that case, we have
> > > > a problem, because vCPU 1 can observe pvti 0 mid-update, and KVM
> > > > doesn't increment the version pre-update, and we can return completely
> > > > bogus results.
> > > Yes.
> > But then the getcpu test would fail (1->0).  Even if you have an ABA
> > situation (1->0->1), it's okay because the pvti that is fetched is the
> > one returned by the first getcpu.
> ... this case of partial update of pvti, which is caught by the version
> field, if of course different from the other (extremely unlikely) that
> Andy pointed out.  That is when the getcpus are done on the same vCPU,
> but the rdtsc is another.
> That one can be fixed by rdtscp, like
> do {
>     // get a consistent (pvti, v, tsc) tuple
>     do {
>         cpu = get_cpu();
>         pvti = get_pvti(cpu);
>         v = pvti->version & ~1;
>         // also acts as rmb();
>         rdtsc_barrier();
>         tsc = rdtscp(&cpu1);

Off-topic note: rdtscp doesn't need a barrier at all.  AIUI AMD
specified it that way and both AMD and Intel implement it correctly.
(rdtsc, on the other hand, definitely needs the barrier beforehand.)

>         // control dependency, no need for rdtsc_barrier?
>     } while(cpu != cpu1);
>     // ... compute nanoseconds from pvti and tsc ...
>     rmb();
> }   while(v != pvti->version);

Still no good.  We can migrate a bunch of times so we see the same CPU
all three times and *still* don't get a consistent read, unless we
play nasty games with lots of version checks (I have a patch for that,
but I don't like it very much).  The patch is here:


but I don't like it.

Thus far, I've been told unambiguously that a guest can't observe pvti
while it's being written, and I think you're now telling me that this
isn't true and that a guest *can* observe pvti while it's being
written while the low bit of the version field is not set.  If so,
this is rather strongly incompatible with the spec in the KVM docs.

I don't suppose that you and Marcelo could agree on what the actual
semantics that KVM provides are and could write it down in a way that
people who haven't spent a long time staring at the request code
understand?  And maybe you could even fix the implementation while
you're at it if the implementation is, indeed, broken.  I have ugly
patches to fix it here:


but I'm not thrilled with them.


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