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Re: [Xen-devel] [PATCH] x86/cpuid: Untangle Invariant TSC handling

  • To: Jan Beulich <jbeulich@xxxxxxxx>
  • From: Andrew Cooper <andrew.cooper3@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 6 Mar 2020 17:48:59 +0000
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  • Cc: Anthony PERARD <anthony.perard@xxxxxxxxxx>, Xen-devel <xen-devel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Ian Jackson <Ian.Jackson@xxxxxxxxxx>, Wei Liu <wl@xxxxxxx>, Roger Pau Monné <roger.pau@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Delivery-date: Fri, 06 Mar 2020 17:49:11 +0000
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  • List-id: Xen developer discussion <xen-devel.lists.xenproject.org>
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On 05/03/2020 08:20, Jan Beulich wrote:
> On 04.03.2020 19:40, Andrew Cooper wrote:
>> On 04/03/2020 10:25, Jan Beulich wrote:
>>> On 03.03.2020 19:24, Andrew Cooper wrote:
>>>> ITSC being visible to the guest is currently implicit with the toolstack
>>>> unconditionally asking for it, and Xen clipping it based on the vTSC and/or
>>>> XEN_DOMCTL_disable_migrate settings.
>>>> This is problematic for several reasons.
>>>> First, the implicit vTSC behaviour manifests as a real bug on migration to 
>>>> a
>>>> host with a different frequency, with ITSC but without TSC scaling
>>>> capabilities, whereby the ITSC feature becomes advertised to the guest.  
>>>> ITSC
>>>> will disappear again if the guest migrates to server with the same 
>>>> frequency
>>>> as the original, or to one with TSC scaling support.
>>>> Secondly, disallowing ITSC unless the guest doesn't migrate is conceptually
>>>> wrong.  It is common to have migration pools of identical hardware, at 
>>>> which
>>>> point the TSC frequency is the same,
>>> This statement is too broad: Pools of identical hardware may have the same
>>> nominal frequencies, but two distinct systems are hardly ever going to have
>>> the exact same actual (measured or even real) frequencies.
>> There is no such thing as truly invariant TSC.  Even with the best
>> hardware in the world, the reference frequency will change based on
>> physical properties of the surroundings, including things like ambient
>> temperature.  i.e. even a single server, sitting in a datacenter is
>> likely to see a fractional change in frequency across a 24h period.
>> What matters is the error margins, and how long until it manifests as a
>> noticeable difference.
>>> Recall Olaf's vTSC-tolerance patch that still hasn't landed anywhere?
>> This is a different problem.  Even on the same system, errors in Xen's
>> frequency calculations can differ by several hundred kHz (iirc), boot to
>> boot, making it quite useless for answering the question "am I running
>> at the frequency the guest saw before?", which is how we just whether to
>> intercept TSC accesses or not.
> But that's why I've said "too broad": Right now pools of identical
> hardware will not look to us as if they all had the same freq.

The statement is about the hardware.

Xen's (mis)measurements is just another bug in the mix, needing fixing,
and not related to the paragraph.

>> There are things which can be done about this, such as using frequency
>> data provided by the CPU directly (rather than correlating it with a
>> separate timesource).  At that point, the only difference between two
>> identical systems will be the variability in the reference clock, and
>> PLL circuitry which ultimately multiplies it up from 19.2/25/100 MHz to
>> the 1-3.5GHz typically encountered for core frequencies.
> Right. The question just is how large the error margin is from the
> nominal frequency reported via CPUID leaves 15/16 and the actual
> frequency. If it's no worse than the differences we observe from
> our "measurement", then yes, we could and perhaps should use that
> data if available.

I can't locate (even via backchannels) any written guarantee on error
margins, but from what I gather, it is in practice rather more accurate
than Xen's error margins.

CPUID leaves 15/16 are far from perfect - see the steady stream of
corrections making their way into Linux.  The most recent issue I saw
was that 15/16 has no compensation for overclocking settings in the
K-sku processors.  Either way, there are systems now in Linux where the
TSC is the sole clocksource, and the stability seems to be ok now.

In addition to the logic Linux currently uses, the TSC frequency can be
obtained for Nehalem thru Broadwell in a similar way to the existing
Atom logic, and for AMD, the TSC frequency can be obtained directly from
the P0 frequency control MSR, which is in the BKDG/PPR and available
from at least Fam10h onwards (and we really don't care about K8 these days).

If we end up with a measured TSC frequency which is very close to what
the model-specific logic thinks the actual TSC frequency is, then going
with the model specific version seems like a much better bet - in
particular, it should make most systems come in with a nice round number.

Obviously, the first step towards this is to build the model specific
logic and at least report it on boot, so we can then see what the
differences are in practice.

>>>> and more modern hardware has TSC scaling
>>>> support anyway.  In both cases, it is safe to advertise ITSC and migrate 
>>>> the
>>>> guest.
>>>> Remove all implicit logic logic in Xen, and make ITSC part of the max CPUID
>>>> policies for guests.  Plumb an itsc parameter into xc_cpuid_apply_policy() 
>>>> and
>>>> have libxl__cpuid_legacy() fill in the two cases where it can reasonably
>>>> expect ITSC to be safe for the guest to see.
>>>> This is a behaviour change for TSC_MODE_NATIVE, where the ITSC will now
>>>> reliably not appear, and for the case where the user explicitly requests 
>>>> ITSC,
>>>> in which case it will appear even if the guest isn't marked as nomigrate.
>>> How sensible is it to allow the user to request something like ITSC with
>>> no respective support underneath?
>> Right now, Xen will ignore ITSC if the hardware isn't capable, just like
>> any other missing feature flag.
>> When we get the policy auditing logic in better shape, I intend to
>> reject requests which can't be fulfilled.
> Okay, good to know. I wonder though how well we'll be able to
> express in the eventual user visible error message which of
> the settings was actually refused.

That is still very much TBD, but even the current "There was some
problem with leaf $X, subleaf $Y and MSR $Z" is far better than nothing.

>>> Shouldn't we translate such a request
>>> into enabling vTSC if there's no ITSC on the platform?
>> No, because a) doing things implicitly like this is the root of far too
>> many bugs, this patch included, and b) it probably isn't what the user
>> wants.
>> The reason to play around with TSC settings will ultimately to be try
>> and avoid intercepting RDTSC, because the performance hit from
>> interception dominates most other factors.
>>> Actually looking
>>> at the change to libxl__cpuid_legacy() I wonder whether you don't instead
>>> mean "requests vTSC" here.
>> I don't see how you come to that conclusion.  It is two separate cases
>> where the toolstack can reasonably expect the guest-observed frequency
>> not to differ.
> Looking at this hunk

Ok.  There are ...

> @@ -432,7 +433,22 @@ void libxl__cpuid_legacy(libxl_ctx *ctx, uint32_t domid,
>      if (info->type == LIBXL_DOMAIN_TYPE_HVM)
>          pae = libxl_defbool_val(info->u.hvm.pae);
> -    xc_cpuid_apply_policy(ctx->xch, domid, NULL, 0, pae);
> +    /*
> +     * Advertising Invariant TSC to a guest means that the TSC frequency 
> won't
> +     * change at any point in the future.
> +     *
> +     * We do not have enough information about potential migration
> +     * destinations to know whether advertising ITSC is safe, but if the 
> guest
> +     * isn't going to migrate, then the current hardware is all that matters.

... 1, or ...

> +     *
> +     * Alternatively, an internal property of vTSC is that the values read 
> are
> +     * invariant.  Advertise ITSC when we know the domain will have emualted
> +     * TSC everywhere it goes.

... 2 orthogonal cases described, where xl/libxl in its current form can
determine that ITSC is safe to advertise.

> +     */
> +    itsc = (libxl_defbool_val(info->disable_migrate) ||
> +            info->tsc_mode == LIBXL_TSC_MODE_ALWAYS_EMULATE);
> +
> +    xc_cpuid_apply_policy(ctx->xch, domid, NULL, 0, pae, itsc);
> I see the check of ->tsc_mode, which aiui is a request to enable
> vTSC unconditionally.

vTSC in Xen is not !!tsc_mode.

In particular, libxl cannot (currently) determine whether
TSC_MODE_NATIVE will result in suitable invariant properties inside the
guest, because amongst other things, it depends on where the VM might
migrate to in the future.


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