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Re: [Xen-devel] [RFC 0/5] xen/arm: support big.little SoC

On Mon, Sep 19, 2016 at 9:53 AM, Julien Grall <julien.grall@xxxxxxx> wrote:
>>> As mentioned in the mail you pointed above, this series is not enough to
>>> make
>>> big.LITTLE working on then. Xen is always using the boot CPU to detect
>>> the
>>> list of features. With big.LITTLE features may not be the same.
>>> And I would prefer to see Xen supporting big.LITTLE correctly before
>>> beginning to think to expose big.LITTLE to the userspace (via cpupool)
>>> automatically.
>> Do you mean vcpus be scheduled between big and little cpus freely?
> By supporting big.LITTLE correctly I meant Xen thinks that all the cores has
> the same set of features. So the feature detection is only done the boot
> CPU. See processor_setup for instance...
> Moving vCPUs between big and little cores would be a hard task (cache line
> issue, and possibly feature) and I don't expect to ever cross this in Xen.
> However, I am expecting to see big.LITTLE exposed to the guest (i.e having
> big and little vCPUs).

So it sounds like the big and LITTLE cores are architecturally
different enough that software must be aware of which one it's running

Exposing varying numbers of big and LITTLE vcpus to guests seems like
a sensible approach.  But at the moment cpupools only allow a domain
to be in exactly one pool -- meaning if we use cpupools to control the
big.LITTLE placement, you won't be *able* to have guests with both big
and LITTLE vcpus.

>> If need to create all the pools, need to decided how many pools need to be
>> created.
>> I thought about this, but I do not come out a good idea.
>> The cpupool0 is defined in xen/common/cpupool.c, if need to create many
>> pools,
>> need to alloc cpupools dynamically when booting. I would not like to
>> change a
>> lot to common code.
> Why? We should avoid to choose a specific design just because the common
> code does not allow you to do it without heavy change.
> We never came across the big.LITTLE problem on x86, so it is normal to
> modify the code.

Julien is correct; there's no reason we couldn't have a default
multiple pools on boot.

>> The implementation in this patchset I think is an easy way to let Big and
>> Little
>> CPUs all run.
> I care about having a design allowing an easy use of big.LITTLE on Xen. Your
> solution requires the administrator to know the underlying platform and
> create the pool.
> In the solution I suggested, the pools would be created by Xen (and the info
> exposed to the userspace for the admin).

FWIW another approach could be the one taken by "xl
cpupool-numa-split": you could have "xl cpupool-bigLITTLE-split" or
something that would automatically set up the pools.

But expanding the schedulers to know about different classes of cpus,
and having vcpus specified as running only on specific types of pcpus,
seems like a more flexible approach.


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