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Re: [RFC] xen/arm: introduce XENFEAT_ARM_dom0_iommu

On 17/02/2021 15:37, Bertrand Marquis wrote:
Hi Julien,

Hi Bertrand,

On 17 Feb 2021, at 08:50, Julien Grall <julien@xxxxxxx> wrote:

On 17/02/2021 02:00, Stefano Stabellini wrote:
Hi all,
Today Linux uses the swiotlb-xen driver (drivers/xen/swiotlb-xen.c) to
translate addresses for DMA operations in Dom0. Specifically,
swiotlb-xen is used to translate the address of a foreign page (a page
belonging to a domU) mapped into Dom0 before using it for DMA.
This is important because although Dom0 is 1:1 mapped, DomUs are not. On
systems without an IOMMU swiotlb-xen enables PV drivers to work as long
as the backends are in Dom0. Thanks to swiotlb-xen, the DMA operation
ends up using the MFN, rather than the GFN.
On systems with an IOMMU, this is not necessary: when a foreign page is
mapped in Dom0, it is added to the Dom0 p2m. A new GFN->MFN translation
is enstablished for both MMU and SMMU. Dom0 could safely use the GFN
address (instead of the MFN) for DMA operations and they would work. It
would be more efficient than using swiotlb-xen.
If you recall my presentation from Xen Summit 2020, Xilinx is working on
cache coloring. With cache coloring, no domain is 1:1 mapped, not even
Dom0. In a scenario where Dom0 is not 1:1 mapped, swiotlb-xen does not
work as intended.
The suggested solution for both these issues is to add a new feature
flag "XENFEAT_ARM_dom0_iommu" that tells Dom0 that it is safe not to use
swiotlb-xen because IOMMU translations are available for Dom0. If
XENFEAT_ARM_dom0_iommu is set, Linux should skip the swiotlb-xen
initialization. I have tested this scheme with and without cache
coloring (hence with and without 1:1 mapping of Dom0) on ZCU102 and it
works as expected: DMA operations succeed.
What about systems where an IOMMU is present but not all devices are
There is no way for Xen to know which devices are protected and which
ones are not: devices that do not have the "iommus" property could or
could not be DMA masters.
Perhaps Xen could populate a whitelist of devices protected by the IOMMU
based on the "iommus" property. It would require some added complexity
in Xen and especially in the swiotlb-xen driver in Linux to use it,
which is not ideal.

You are trading a bit more complexity in Xen and Linux with a user will may not 
be able to use the hypervisor on his/her platform without a quirk in Xen (see 
more below).

However, this approach would not work for cache
coloring where dom0 is not 1:1 mapped so the swiotlb-xen should not be
used either way

Not all the Dom0 Linux kernel will be able to work with cache colouring. So you will need 
a way for the kernel to say "Hey I am can avoid using swiotlb".

I fully agree and from my current understanding the condition is “having an 

For these reasons, I would like to propose a single flag
XENFEAT_ARM_dom0_iommu which says that the IOMMU can be relied upon for
DMA translations. In situations where a DMA master is not SMMU
protected, XENFEAT_ARM_dom0_iommu should not be set. For example, on a
platform where an IOMMU is present and protects most DMA masters but it
is leaving out the MMC controller, then XENFEAT_ARM_dom0_iommu should
not be set (because PV block is not going to work without swiotlb-xen.)
This also means that cache coloring won't be usable on such a system (at
least not usable with the MMC controller so the system integrator should
pay special care to setup the system).
It is worth noting that if we wanted to extend the interface to add a
list of protected devices in the future, it would still be possible. It
would be compatible with XENFEAT_ARM_dom0_iommu.

I imagine by compatible, you mean XENFEAT_ARM_dom0_iommu would be cleared and 
instead the device-tree list would be used. Is that correct?

What do you mean by device tree list here ?

Sorry I meant "device list". I was referring to Stefano's suggestion to describe the list of devices protected in the device-tree.

How to set XENFEAT_ARM_dom0_iommu?
We could set XENFEAT_ARM_dom0_iommu automatically when
is_iommu_enabled(d) for Dom0. We could also have a platform specific
(xen/arch/arm/platforms/) override so that a specific platform can
disable XENFEAT_ARM_dom0_iommu. For debugging purposes and advanced
users, it would also be useful to be able to override it via a Xen
command line parameter.
Platform quirks should be are limited to a small set of platforms.

In this case, this would not be only per-platform but also per-firmware table 
as a developer can decide to remove/add IOMMU nodes in the DT at any time.

In addition to that, it means we are introducing a regression for those users 
as Xen 4.14 would have worked on there platform but not anymore. They would 
need to go through all the nodes and find out which one is not protected.

I am not sure i understand your point here as we cannot detect if a device is 
protected or not by an IOMMU as we do not know which device requires one.

That's correct...

Could you explain what use case working before would not work here ?

From Stefano's e-mail, Xen would expose XENFEAT_ARM_dom0_iommu if all the devices are protected by the IOMMU.

This implies that Xen is aware whether ever DMA-capable devices are protected. As you rightfully pointed out this cannot work.

This is a bit of a daunting task and we are going to end up having a lot of 
per-platform quirk in Xen.

 From my understanding the quirks here would be in Linux as it would have to 
decide for what to use swiotlb or not.

This is not how I understood Stefano's e-mail. But even if it is happening in Linux, then we need a way to tell Linux which devices have been protected by Xen.

What quirk do you imagine we could implement in Xen ?

Me? None. That Stefano's idea and I don't think it can work.


Julien Grall



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