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Re: [Xen-devel] Should we mark RTDS as supported feature from experimental feature?

>> When RTDS scheduler is initialized, it will print out that the
>> scheduler is an experimental feature with the following lines:
>>     printk("Initializing RTDS scheduler\n"
>>            "WARNING: This is experimental software in development.\n"
>>            "Use at your own risk.\n");
>> On RTDS' wiki [1], it says the RTDS scheduler is experimental
>> feature.
> Yes.
>> However, inside MAINTAINERS file, the status of RTDS scheduler is
>> marked as Supported (refer to commit point 28041371 by Dario Faggioli
>> on 2015-06-25).
> There's indeed a discrepancy between the way one can read that bit of
> MAINTAINERS, and what is generally considered Supported (e.g., subject
> to security support, etc).
> This is true in general, not only for RTDS (more about this below).

Ah-ha, I see.

>> In my opinion, the RTDS scheduler's functionality is finished and
>> tested. So should I send a patch to change the message printed out
>> when the scheduler is initialized?
> So, yes, the scheduler is now feature complete (with the per-vcpu
> parameters) and adheres to a much more sensible and scalable design
> (event driven). Yet, these features have been merged very recently,
> therefore, when you say "tested", I'm not so sure I agree. In fact, we
> do test it on OSSTest, but only in a couple of tests. The combination
> of these two things make me think that we should allow for at least
> another development cycle, before considering switching.

I see. So should we mark it as Completed for Xen 4.7? or should we
wait until Xen 4.8 to mark it as Completed if nothing bad happens to
the scheduler?

> And speaking of OSSTest, there have benn occasional failures, on ARM,
> which I haven't yet found the time to properly analyze. It may be just
> something related to the fact that the specific board was very slow,
> but I'm not sure yet.

Hmm, I see. I plan to have a look at Xen on ARM this summer. When I
boot Xen on ARM, I probably could have a look at it as well.

> And even in that case, I wonder how we should handle such a
> situation... I was thinking of adding a work-conserving mode, what do
> you think?

Hmm, I can get why work-conserving mode is necessary and useful. I'm
thinking about the tradeoff  between the scheduler's complexity and
the benefit brought by introducing complexity.

The work-conserving mode is useful. However, there are other real time
features in terms of the scheduler that may be also useful. For
example, I heard from some company that they want to run RT VM with
non-RT VM, which is supported in RT-Xen 2.1 version, but not supported
in RTDS.

There are other RT-related issues we may need to solve to make it more
suitable for real-time or embedded field, such as protocols to handle
the shared resource.

Since the scheduler aims for the embedded and real-time applications,
those RT-related features seems to me more important than the
work-conserving feature.

What do you think?

> You may have something similar in RT-Xen already but, even
> if you don't, there are a number of ways for achieving that without
> disrupting the real-time guarantees.

Actually, in RT-Xen, we don't have the work-conserving version yet.
The work-conversing feature may not affect the real-time guarantees,
but it may not bring any improved real-time guarantees in theory. When
an embedded system designer wants to use the RTDS scheduler "with
work-conserving feature" (suppose we implement it), he cannot pack
more workload to the system by leveraging the work-conserving feature.
In practice, the system may run faster than he expects, but he won't
know how faster it will be unless we provide theoretical guarantee.

> What do you think?

IMHO, handling the other real-time features related to the scheduler
may be more important than the work-conserving feature, in order to
make the scheduler more adoptable in embedded world.

>> If I understand correctly, the status in MAINTAINERS file should have
>> the highest priority and information from other sources should keep
>> updated with what the MAINTAINERS file says?
>> Please correct me if I'm wrong.
> This has been discussed before. Have a look at this thread/messages.
> http://lists.xenproject.org/archives/html/xen-devel/2015-06/msg00972.html
> http://lists.xenproject.org/archives/html/xen-devel/2015-06/msg01775.html

I remembered this. Always keep an eye on ARINC653 as well. :-)

> And at this:
> http://lists.xenproject.org/archives/html/xen-devel/2015-06/msg01992.html

Yes. I read this before I asked. :-)

> The feature document template has been put together:
> http://lists.xenproject.org/archives/html/xen-devel/2015-08/msg01929.html

This is great!

> And there are feature documents in tree already.
I see.

> Actually, writing one for RTDS would be a rather interesting and useful
> thing to do, IMO! :-)

Agree. I can do it in the summer.  Put it on my TODO list now.



Meng Xu
PhD Student in Computer and Information Science
University of Pennsylvania

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