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Re: [Xen-devel] libvirt, libxl and <channels>

[cc:d Ian Jackson— sorry I should have cc:d you originally!]

On 4 Jun 2014, at 10:38, Daniel P. Berrange <berrange@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> On Wed, Jun 04, 2014 at 09:11:59AM +0000, Dave Scott wrote:
>> Hi,
>> Two of the applications I’d like to use with libvirt (cloudstack
>> and oVirt) make use of “<channels>” in the domain XML, like this:
>> <channel type='unix'>
>> <source mode='bind' path='/var/lib/libvirt/qemu/s-4-VM.agent'/>
>> <target type='virtio' name='s-4-VM.vport'/>
>> <address type='virtio-serial'/>
>> </channel>
>> I don’t believe these are currently supported by libvirt + libxl
>> — I’d like to see what it would take to hook these up.
>> I chatted with Daniel Berrange at the Xen hackathon last week,
>> and if I understood correctly these channels are analogous to
>> serial ports used for low-bandwidth communication to (e.g.)
>> guest agents. Daniel suggested that the xen console mechanism
>> ought to be adequate to power these things. The other option
>> (if higher bandwidth was required) would be to use the Xen
>> vchan protocol.
> Yep, the only really relevant difference between a console and
> a channel, is that a channel has an string name associated with
> it. The distinction between console & channel serves a few purposes
> 1. A guest OS can be set to automatically spawn getty login
>    process on all (paravirt based) <console> devices safe in
>    the knowledge no application is expecting to use them for
>    some higher level protocol.
> 2. A guest agent can reliably identify which <channel> it is
>    supposed to be using from its name. ie QEMU guest agent
>    knows that it should always open /dev/virtio-port/org.qemu.guest_agent.0
>    and no other app will touch that.
> 3. The named port can be used to write udev rules that automatically
>    spawn the correct guest agent when the port with the matching
>    name appears in the guest. eg here we trigger a systemd service
>    matching on QEMU guest agent port
>    $ cat /lib/udev/rules.d/99-qemu-guest-agent.rules
>      SUBSYSTEM=="virtio-ports", ATTR{name}=="org.qemu.guest_agent.0", \
>         TAG+="systemd" ENV{SYSTEMD_WANTS}="qemu-guest-agent.service”
>> I think the behaviour is:
>> * bind a unix domain socket on the host (‘/var/lib/libvirt/qemu/…')
>> * connect a bidirectional low-bandwidth channel to the guest
>> * manifest the channel in the guest as a ‘/dev/vport/s-4-VM.vport’ device (?)
> Yep, that's pretty much it. For virtio-serial the dir is /dev/virtio-ports.
> If Xen uses a different non-virtio-serial device type, it can provide a
> suitable guest udev rule to setup named devices in a dir that you think
> is best.
>> So an application on the host can connect() to the host socket, an
>> application in the guest can open() the guest device and they can
>> talk privately. [Have I got this right?]
> Yes.
>> I had a quick read of the libxl code and I think the consoles are
>> considered an internal detail: there is a function libxl_console_get_tty
>> to retrieve a console’s endpoint in dom0 but I couldn’t see a way to
>> request additional consoles are created. The libxl_domain_config has
>> disks, nics, pcidevs, vfbs, vkbs, and vtpms but no consoles. (Have I
>> missed something?)
>> Bypassing libxl I was able to manually create a 
>> /local/domain/%d/device/console/1
>> which was recognised by the VM as /dev/hvc1. As an aside, I notice that there
>> are 2 console backends now: xenconsoled seems to only watch for the initial
>> console, while a per-domain qemu process is used for all subsequent consoles,
>> so any enhancements to the dom0 end would have to go into qemu?
>> So to implement channels via consoles I would need to:
>> 1. check if qemu when acting as a console server in dom0 is able to connect
>>   the console to a suitably named Unix domain socket in dom0 (signalled via
>>   xenstore in the usual way)

>> 2. modify libxl to support consoles as configurable devices alongside disks,
>>   nics etc
> I'd suggest you also want to support a non-tty backend, specifically UNIX
> sockets. This means that the process connecting to the backend on the host
> does not need to query libvirt to discover what random /dev/pts/NN was
> allocated to it - it can just inotify watch /var/lib/libvirt/libxl/ for
> new files appearing and connect to it straight off based on the name of
> the file.
> I'd really strongly recommend the ability to give names to the devices
> if you want to re-use the xen console device type, so that the guest
> agents can automatically determine the correct device and so that the
> guest OS can tell which console instances it should launch a getty on
> vs ignore.

This sounds sensible to me.

As an experiment I created a console frontend in xenstore with a “name = <some 
nice label>” and wrote a simple udev rule to catch the device creation, read 
this key and ‘mknod’ the device in a nice-sounding location. So I was able to 
create something like /dev/xenchannel/<some nice label>.

As experiment #2 I ran a qemu in dom0 with a command-line:

  qemu-system-i386 -xen-domid 28 -xen-attach -name trusty2 -machine xenpv \
  -chardev socket,id=charchannel0,path=/tmp/foo.agent,server,nowait

and I created a console frontend in xenstore with 
“output=chardev:charchannel0”. Happily everything worked as expected and I was 
able to use ‘socat’ to pump data into the nicely-named dom0 Unix domain socket 
and see it appear in the guest in the nicely-named tty (/dev/xenchannel/…)

>> 3. add support to libvirt’s libxl driver
>> 4. see if I can write something like a udev rule in the guest to
>>   notice the console, look up the ‘name’ from xenstore and make a
>>   suitably-named file?
>> What do you think?
> Sounds reasonable to me.

Ian — what do you think? If you think the approach is sensible then I’ll 
prepare a prototype set of patches for libxl for review.

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