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Re: [Xen-devel] [RFC] ARM VM System Sepcification

Hi Christoffer,

Comments below...

On 26 Feb 2014 18:35, "Christoffer Dall" <christoffer.dall@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> ARM VM System Specification
> ===========================
> Goal
> ----
> The goal of this spec is to allow suitably-built OS images to run on
> all ARM virtualization solutions, such as KVM or Xen.
> Recommendations in this spec are valid for aarch32 and aarch64 alike, and
> they aim to be hypervisor agnostic.
> Note that simply adhering to the SBSA [2] is not a valid approach,
> for example because the SBSA mandates EL2, which will not be available
> for VMs.  Further, the SBSA mandates peripherals like the pl011, which
> may be controversial for some ARM VM implementations to support.
> This spec also covers the aarch32 execution mode, not covered in the
> Image format
> ------------
> The image format, as presented to the VM, needs to be well-defined in
> order for prepared disk images to be bootable across various
> virtualization implementations.
> The raw disk format as presented to the VM must be partitioned with a
> GUID Partition Table (GPT).  The bootable software must be placed in the
> EFI System Partition (ESP), using the UEFI removable media path, and
> must be an EFI application complying to the UEFI Specification 2.4
> Revision A [6].
> The ESP partition's GPT entry's partition type GUID must be
> C12A7328-F81F-11D2-BA4B-00A0C93EC93B and the file system must be
> formatted as FAT32/vfat as per Section in [6].
> The removable media path is \EFI\BOOT\BOOTARM.EFI for the aarch32
> execution state and is \EFI\BOOT\BOOTAA64.EFI for the aarch64 execution
> state.
> This ensures that tools for both Xen and KVM can load a binary UEFI
> firmware which can read and boot the EFI application in the disk image.
> A typical scenario will be GRUB2 packaged as an EFI application, which
> mounts the system boot partition and boots Linux.
> Virtual Firmware
> ----------------
> The VM system must be able to boot the EFI application in the ESP.  It
> is recommended that this is achieved by loading a UEFI binary as the
> first software executed by the VM, which then executes the EFI
> application.  The UEFI implementation should be compliant with UEFI
> Specification 2.4 Revision A [6] or later.
> This document strongly recommends that the VM implementation supports
> persistent environment storage for virtual firmware implementation in
> order to ensure probable use cases such as adding additional disk images
> to a VM or running installers to perform upgrades.
> The binary UEFI firmware implementation should not be distributed as
> part of the VM image, but is specific to the VM implementation.
> Hardware Description
> --------------------
> The Linux kernel's proper entry point always takes a pointer to an FDT,
> regardless of the boot mechanism, firmware, and hardware description
> method.  Even on real hardware which only supports ACPI and UEFI, the kernel
> entry point will still receive a pointer to a simple FDT, generated by
> the Linux kernel UEFI stub, containing a pointer to the UEFI system
> table.  The kernel can then discover ACPI from the system tables.  The
> presence of ACPI vs. FDT is therefore always itself discoverable,
> through the FDT.

I would drop pretty much all of the above detail of the kernel entry point. The spec should specify UEFI compliance and stop there.

What is relevant is the allowance for the UEFI implementation to provide an FDT and/or ACPI via the configuration table.

> Therefore, the VM implementation must provide through its UEFI
> implementation, either:
>   a complete FDT which describes the entire VM system and will boot
>   mainline kernels driven by device tree alone, or
>   no FDT.  In this case, the VM implementation must provide ACPI, and
>   the OS must be able to locate the ACPI root pointer through the UEFI
>   system table.

It is actually valid for the VM to provide both ACPI and FDT. In that scenario it is up to the OS to chose which it will use.

> For more information about the arm and arm64 boot conventions, see
> Documentation/arm/Booting and Documentation/arm64/booting.txt in the
> Linux kernel source tree.
> For more information about UEFI and ACPI booting, see [4] and [5].
> VM Platform
> -----------
> The specification does not mandate any specific memory map.  The guest
> OS must be able to enumerate all processing elements, devices, and
> memory through HW description data (FDT, ACPI) or a bus-specific
> mechanism such as PCI.
> The virtual platform must support at least one of the following ARM
> execution states:
>   (1) aarch32 virtual CPUs on aarch32 physical CPUs
>   (2) aarch32 virtual CPUs on aarch64 physical CPUs
>   (3) aarch64 virtual CPUs on aarch64 physical CPUs
> It is recommended to support both (2) and (3) on aarch64 capable
> physical systems.
> The virtual hardware platform must provide a number of mandatory
> peripherals:
>   Serial console:  The platform should provide a console,
>   based on an emulated pl011, a virtio-console, or a Xen PV console.

For portable disk image, can Xen PV be dropped from the list? pl011 is part of SBSA, and virtio is getting standardised, but Xen PV is implementation specific.

>   An ARM Generic Interrupt Controller v2 (GICv2) [3] or newer.  GICv2
>   limits the the number of virtual CPUs to 8 cores, newer GIC versions
>   removes this limitation.
>   The ARM virtual timer and counter should be available to the VM as
>   per the ARM Generic Timers specification in the ARM ARM [1].
>   A hotpluggable bus to support hotplug of at least block and network
>   devices.  Suitable buses include a virtual PCIe bus and the Xen PV
>   bus.
> We make the following recommendations for the guest OS kernel:
>   The guest OS must include support for GICv2 and any available newer
>   version of the GIC architecture to maintain compatibility with older
>   VM implementations.
>   It is strongly recommended to include support for all available
>   (block, network, console, balloon) virtio-pci, virtio-mmio, and Xen PV
>   drivers in the guest OS kernel or initial ramdisk.
> Other common peripherals for block devices, networking, and more can
> (and typically will) be provided, but OS software written and compiled
> to run on ARM VMs cannot make any assumptions about which variations
> of these should exist or which implementation they use (e.g. VirtIO or
> Xen PV).  See "Hardware Description" above.
> Note that this platform specification is separate from the Linux kernel
> concept of mach-virt, which merely specifies a machine model driven
> purely from device tree, but does not mandate any peripherals or have any
> mention of ACPI.
> References
> ----------
> [1]: The ARM Architecture Reference Manual, ARMv8, Issue A.b
> http://infocenter.arm.com/help/index.jsp?topic=/com.arm.doc.ddi0487a.b/index.html
> [2]: ARM Server Base System Architecture
> http://infocenter.arm.com/help/index.jsp?topic=/com.arm.doc.den0029/index.html
> [3]: The ARM Generic Interrupt Controller Architecture Specifications v2.0
> http://infocenter.arm.com/help/index.jsp?topic=/com.arm.doc.ddi0487a.b/index.html
> [4]: http://www.secretlab.ca/archives/27
> [5]: https://git.linaro.org/people/leif.lindholm/linux.git/blob/refs/heads/uefi-for-upstream:/Documentation/arm/uefi.txt
> [6]: UEFI Specification 2.4 Revision A
> http://www.uefi.org/sites/default/files/resources/2_4_Errata_A.pdf

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