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Re: [Xen-devel] [RFC 3/4] HVM x86 deprivileged mode: Code for switching into/out of deprivileged mode


At 17:51 +0100 on 11 Aug (1439315508), Ben Catterall wrote:
> On 11/08/15 10:55, Tim Deegan wrote:
> > At 11:14 +0100 on 10 Aug (1439205273), Andrew Cooper wrote:
> >> On 10/08/15 10:49, Tim Deegan wrote:
> >>> Hi,
> >>>
> >>> At 17:45 +0100 on 06 Aug (1438883118), Ben Catterall wrote:
> >>>> The process to switch into and out of deprivileged mode can be likened to
> >>>> setjmp/longjmp.
> >>>>
> >>>> To enter deprivileged mode, we take a copy of the stack from the guest's
> >>>> registers up to the current stack pointer.
> >>> This copy is pretty unfortunate, but I can see that avoiding it will
> >>> be a bit complex.  Could we do something with more stacks?  AFAICS
> >>> there have to be three stacks anyway:
> >>>
> >>>   - one to hold the depriv execution context;
> >>>   - one to hold the privileged execution context; and
> >>>   - one to take interrupts on.
> >>>
> >>> So maybe we could do some fiddling to make Xen take interrupts on a
> >>> different stack while we're depriv'd?
> >>
> >> That should happen naturally by virtue of the privilege level change
> >> involved in taking the interrupt.
> >
> > Right, and this is why we need a third stack - so interrupts don't
> > trash the existing priv state on the 'normal' Xen stack.  And so we
> > either need to copy the priv stack out (and maybe copy it back), or
> > tell the CPU to use a different stack.
> The copy is relatively small and paid only on the first and last entries 
> into the mode. I don't know if this is cheaper than the  bookwork that 
> would be needed on entering and returning from the mode to switch to 
> these stacks. I'm assuming the sp pointers in the TSS and ISTs would 
> need changing on the first and last entry/exit if we have the extra 
> stack, is that correct?


> Or, is this a more dramatic change in that 
> everything uses this three stack model rather than just this feature.

Well, some other parts would have to change to accomodate this new
behaviour - that was what Andrew was talking about.

BTW, I think there need to be three stacks anyway, since the depriv
code shouldn't be allowed to write to the priv code's stack frames.
Or maybe I've misunderstood how much access the depriv code will have.

> I'm not sure how much in Xen would need changing to switch across to 
> using three stacks. Also, would this also need to be done for PV guests? 
> Would that need to be a separate patch series?
> What's the overall consensus? Thanks!

I'm not sure there is one yet -- needs some more discussion of
whether the non-copying approach is feasible.

> > If we had enough headroom, we could try to be clever and tell the CPU
> > to take interrupts on the priv stack _below_ the existing state.  That
> > would avoid the first of your problems below.
> >
> >> * Under this model, PV exception handlers should copy themselves onto
> >> the privileged execution stack.
> >> * Currently, the IST handlers  copy themselves onto the primary stack if
> >> they interrupt guest context.
> >> * AMD Task Register on vmexit.  (this old gem)
> >
> > Gah, this thing. :
> Curious (and I can't seem find this in the manuals): What is this thing?

IIRC: AMD processors don't context switch TR on vmexit, which makes
using IST handlers tricky there.  We'd have to do the TR context
switch ourselves, and that would be expensive.  Andrew, am I
remembering that right?


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