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Re: [Xen-devel] [PATCH v4 0/4] virtio: Clean up scatterlists and use the DMA API

On Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 4:21 PM, Benjamin Herrenschmidt
<benh@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Tue, 2015-07-28 at 15:43 -0700, Andy Lutomirski wrote:
>> Let me try to summarize a proposal:
>> Add a feature flag that indicates IOMMU support.
>> New kernels acknowledge that flag on any device that advertises it.
>> New kernels always respect the IOMMU (except on PowerPC).
> Why ? I disagree, the flag should be honored when set in any
> architecture. PowerPC is no different than any other platform in that
> regard.

Perhaps I should have said instead "someone more familiar with PPC
than I am should figure out what PPC should do".  For the non-PPC
case, there is only one instance that I know of in which ignoring the
IOMMU is beneficial, and that case is the experimental Q35 thing.

If new kernels ignore the IOMMU for devices that don't set the flag
and there are physical devices that already exist and don't set the
flag, then those devices won't work reliably on most modern
non-virtual platforms, PPC included.

>>   New kernels
>> optionally refuse to talk to devices that don't have that feature flag
>> if the device appears to be behind an IOMMU.  (This presumably
>> includes any device whatsoever on an x86 platform with an IOMMU,
>> including Xen's fake IOMMU.)
>> New QEMU always respects the IOMMU, if any, except on PPC.
> This is just a matter of what is the default of the flag, ie we
> should have a machine flag that indicates what the default is for
> new virtio devices, otherwise, it should be specified per device
> as an attribute of the device instance.

On x86, I think that even super-peformance-critical virtio devices
should always honor the iommu, but that the iommu in question should
be a 1:1 iommu.  I *think* that x86 supports that.  IOW x86 would
always set the feature flag.

> I would argue that we should default to "bypass IOMMU" on *all*
> architecture due to the performance impact, and to essentially
> default to the same behaviour as today. With things like DDW even
> powerpc might be able to mostly alleviate the performance impact
> so we might to change in the long term, but I tend to prefer
> more incremental approaches.

As above, there's a difference between "bypass IOMMU" and "there is no
IOMMU".  x86 and, I think, most other platforms are capable of the
latter.  I'm not sure PPC is.

I think that, in an ideal world, there would be no feature flag and
all virtio devices would always respect the IOMMU.  Unfortunately we
have existing practice in the form of PPC and Q35 iommu=on that
conflict with that.

>>   New QEMU
>> always advertises this feature flag.  If iommu=on, QEMU's virtio
>> devices refuse to work unless the driver acknowledges the flag.
> This should be configurable.

Would any non-PPC user ever configure it differently?  I suppose if
you want to support old kernels on new QEMU, you'd flip the switch.

>> On PPC, new QEMU will not respect the IOMMU and will not set the flag.
>> New kernels will not talk to devices that set the flag.  If someone
>> wants to fix that, then they get to figure out how.
> I disagree with the kernel bit and I disagree with special casing PPC in
> any shape or form in the code. The only difference should be a default
> value for the iommu mode of virtio in qemu set per machine.
> You can then feel free to change that default (in a separate patch for
> bisectability) on x86 for the sake of Xen.

I think we should flip the default everywhere to "respects IOMMU".
That's the setting that will work in all cases on new guest + new
host, and it's the setting that's safest.  vfio will probably always
malfunction if given a device that looks like it's behind an IOMMU but
doesn't respect it.  For people who need the last bit of performance,
they should use bus-level controls where available (they should be
available everywhere except PPC and maybe arm64) and, ideally, someone
would teach PPC how to exclude devices from the IOMMU cleanly if
possible.  If that can't be done, then there can be an option to
bypass the IOMMU the way it's currently done and no one except PPC
would do it.

PPC really is different from everything except x86 Q35 iommu=on, and
the latter is experimental.  AFAIK in all other cases, the IOMMU is
respected by virtio, but there is no non-1:1 IOMMU.


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