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Re: [Xen-devel] Woes of NMIs and MCEs, and possibly how to fix

At 19:12 +0000 on 30 Nov (1354302731), Mats Petersson wrote:
> >1) Faults on the NMI path will re-enable NMIs before the handler
> >returns, leading to reentrant behaviour.  We should audit the NMI path
> >to try and remove any needless cases which might fault, but getting a
> >fault-free path will be hard (and is not going so solve the reentrant
> >behaviour itself).
> What sort of faults are we expecting on the NMI path?

None, but we have to keep it that way, and if we accidentlly introduce
one there's no immediate indication that we've messed up.  Unless we add
'am I in the NMI handler?' to all the fixup code.

> >2) Faults on the MCE path will re-enable NMIs, as will the iret of the
> >MCE itself if an MCE interrupts an NMI.
> The same questions apply as to #1 (just replace NMI with MCE)

Andrew pointed out that some MCE code uses rdmsr_safe().

FWIW, I think that constraining MCE and NMI code not to do anything that
can fault is perfectly reasonable.  The MCE code has grown a lot
recently and probably needs an audit to check for spinlocks, faults &c.

> >3) SMM mode executing an iret will re-enable NMIs.  There is nothing we
> >can do to prevent this, and as an SMI can interrupt NMIs and MCEs, no
> >way to predict if/when it may happen.  The best we can do is accept that
> >it might happen, and try to deal with the after effects.
> SMM is a messy thing that can interfere with most things in a system. We 
> will have to rely on the BIOS developers to not mess up here. We can't 
> do anything else in our code (on AMD hardware, in a HVM guest you could 
> trap SMI as a VMEXIT, and then "deal with it in a container", but that 
> doesn't fix SMI that happen whilst in the hypervisor, or in a PV kernel, 
> so doesn't really help much).

You can't even do that any more -- some BIOSes turn on the SMM lock,
which disables the VMEXIT hook.

But yes, if BIOS vendors are executing IRET in SMM mode (and if 'fix
your BIOS' isn't an appropriate response), then the simple 'just don't
IRET anywhere that's rechable fom #NMI' solution can't prevent that, and
we need to handle nested NMIs.

But I'd be happy to cross that bridge when we come to it.

> Surely both 4 & 5 are "bad guest behaviour", and whilst it's a "nice to 
> have" to catch that, it's no different from running on bare metal doing 
> daft things with vectors or writing code that doesn't behave at all 
> "friendly". (4 is only available to Xen developers, which we hope are 
> most of the time sane enough not to try these crazy things in a "live" 
> system that matters). 5 is only available if you have pass through 
> enabled. I don't think either is a particularly likely cause of real, in 
> the field, problems.

AFAICS both are only available to Xen, unless there's a bug in Xen's MSI
handling, so they'd only be caused by Xen bugs or bad hardware.  And
both can be detected (in most cases) with the same simple flag that
would detect real nested NMI/MCEs.  Or more completely by a linux-style

> >7) Real MCEs can race with each other.  If two real MCEs occur too close
> >together, the processor shuts down (We cant avoid this).  However, there
> >is large race condition between the MCE handler clearing the MCIP bit of
> >IA32_MCG_STATUS and the handler returning during which a new MCE can
> >occur and the exception frame will be corrupted.
> From what I understand, the purpose of this bit is really to ensure 
> that any data needed from the MCE status registers has been fetched 
> before the processor issues another MCE - otherwise you have a big race 
> of "what data are we reading, and which of the multiple, in short 
> succession, MCEs does this belong to. If you get two MCEs in such a 
> short time that the MCE handler doesn't have time to gather the data 
> from the status registers, it's likely that the machine isn't going to 
> do very well for much longer anyways. Now, if we have a common stack, we 
> should not reset the MCIP bit until it is time to return from the MCE 
> handler - ideally on the last instruction before that

We can do the equivalent with a 'mce-being-handled' flag, which allows
us to (try to) print a useful message intead of just losing a CPU. 

> >[1] In an effort to prevent a flamewar with my comment, the situation we
> >find outself in now is almost certainly the result of unforseen
> >interactions of individual features, but we are left to pick up the many
> >pieces in way which cant completely be solved.
> >
> Happy to have my comments completely shot down into little bits, but I'm 
> worrying that we're looking to solve a problem that doesn't actually 
> need solving - at least as long as the code in the respective handlers 
> are "doing the right thing", and if that happens to be broken, then we 
> should fix THAT, not build lots of extra code to recover from such a thing.

I agree.  The only things we can't fix by DTRT in do_nmi() and do_mce()
 - IRET in SMM mode re-enabling NMIs; and
 - detecting _every_ case where we get a nested NMI/MCE (all we can 
   do is detect _most_ cases, but the detection is just so we can print
   a message before the crash).



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