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Re: Error during update_runstate_area with KPTI activated

On 15/05/2020 10:10, Roger Pau Monné wrote:
On Fri, May 15, 2020 at 09:53:54AM +0100, Julien Grall wrote:
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On 15/05/2020 09:38, Roger Pau Monné wrote:
On Fri, May 15, 2020 at 07:39:16AM +0000, Bertrand Marquis wrote:

On 14 May 2020, at 20:13, Julien Grall 
<julien.grall.oss@xxxxxxxxx<mailto:julien.grall.oss@xxxxxxxxx>> wrote:

On Thu, 14 May 2020 at 19:12, Andrew Cooper 
<andrew.cooper3@xxxxxxxxxx<mailto:andrew.cooper3@xxxxxxxxxx>> wrote:

On 14/05/2020 18:38, Julien Grall wrote:

On 14/05/2020 17:18, Bertrand Marquis wrote:

On 14 May 2020, at 16:57, Julien Grall <julien@xxxxxxx<mailto:julien@xxxxxxx>> 

On 14/05/2020 15:28, Bertrand Marquis wrote:


When executing linux on arm64 with KPTI activated (in Dom0 or in a
DomU), I have a lot of walk page table errors like this:
(XEN) p2m.c:1890: d1v0: Failed to walk page-table va
After implementing a call trace, I found that the problem was
coming from the update_runstate_area when linux has KPTI activated.
I have the following call trace:
(XEN) p2m.c:1890: d1v0: Failed to walk page-table va
(XEN) backtrace.c:29: Stacktrace start at 0x8007638efbb0 depth 10
(XEN)    [<000000000027780c>] get_page_from_gva+0x180/0x35c
(XEN)    [<00000000002700c8>] guestcopy.c#copy_guest+0x1b0/0x2e4
(XEN)    [<0000000000270228>] raw_copy_to_guest+0x2c/0x34
(XEN)    [<0000000000268dd0>] domain.c#update_runstate_area+0x90/0xc8
(XEN)    [<000000000026909c>] domain.c#schedule_tail+0x294/0x2d8
(XEN)    [<0000000000269524>] context_switch+0x58/0x70
(XEN)    [<00000000002479c4>] core.c#sched_context_switch+0x88/0x1e4
(XEN)    [<000000000024845c>] core.c#schedule+0x224/0x2ec
(XEN)    [<0000000000224018>] softirq.c#__do_softirq+0xe4/0x128
(XEN)    [<00000000002240d4>] do_softirq+0x14/0x1c
Discussing this subject with Stefano, he pointed me to a discussion
started a year ago on this subject here:

And a patch was submitted:

I rebased this patch on current master and it is solving the
problem I have seen.
It sounds to me like a good solution to introduce a
VCPUOP_register_runstate_phys_memory_area to not depend on the area
actually being mapped in the guest when a context switch is being
done (which is actually the problem happening when a context switch
is trigger while a guest is running in EL0).
Is there any reason why this was not merged at the end ?

I just skimmed through the thread to remind myself the state.
AFAICT, this is blocked on the contributor to clarify the intended
interaction and provide a new version.

What do you mean here by intended interaction ? How the new hyper
call should be used by the guest OS ?

  From what I remember, Jan was seeking clarification on whether the two
hypercalls (existing and new) can be called together by the same OS
(and make sense).

There was also the question of the handover between two pieces of
sotfware. For instance, what if the firmware is using the existing
interface but the OS the new one? Similar question about Kexecing a
different kernel.

This part is mostly documentation so we can discuss about the approach
and review the implementation.

I am still in favor of the new hypercall (and still in my todo list)
but I haven't yet found time to revive the series.

Would you be willing to take over the series? I would be happy to
bring you up to speed and provide review.

Sure I can take it over.

I ported it to master version of xen and I tested it on a board.
I still need to do a deep review of the code myself but I have an
understanding of the problem and what is the idea.

Any help to get on speed would be more then welcome :-)
I would recommend to go through the latest version (v3) and the
previous (v2). I am also suggesting v2 because I think the split was
easier to review/understand.

The x86 code is probably what is going to give you the most trouble as
there are two ABIs to support (compat and non-compat). If you don't
have an x86 setup, I should be able to test it/help write it.

Feel free to ask any questions and I will try my best to remember the
discussion from last year :).

At risk of being shouted down again, a new hypercall isn't necessarily
necessary, and there are probably better ways of fixing it.

The underlying ABI problem is that the area is registered by virtual
address.  The only correct way this should have been done is to register
by guest physical address, so Xen's updating of the data doesn't
interact with the guest pagetable settings/restrictions.  x86 suffers
the same kind of problems as ARM, except we silently squash the fallout.

The logic in Xen is horrible, and I would really rather it was deleted
completely, rather than to be kept for compatibility.

The runstate area is always fixed kernel memory and doesn't move.  I
believe it is already restricted from crossing a page boundary, and we
can calculate the va=>pa translation when the hypercall is made.

Yes - this is a technically ABI change, but nothing is going to break
(AFAICT) and the cleanup win is large enough to make this a *very*
attractive option.

I suggested this approach two years ago [1] but you were the one
saying that buffer could cross page-boundary on older Linux [2]:

"I'd love to do this, but we cant.  Older Linux used to have a virtual
buffer spanning a page boundary.  Changing the behaviour under that will
cause older setups to explode."

Sorry this was long time ago, and details have faded. IIRC there was
even a proposal (or patch set) that took that into account and allowed
buffers to span across a page boundary by taking a reference to two
different pages in that case.

I am not aware of a patch set. Juergen suggested a per-domain mapping but
there was no details how this could be done (my e-mail was left unanswered

If we were using the vmap() then we would need up 1MB per domain (assuming
128 vCPUs). This sounds quite a bit and I think we need to agree whether it
would be an acceptable solution (this was also left unanswered [1]).

Could we map/unmap the runtime area on domain switch at a per-cpu
based linear space area? There's no reason to have all the runtime
areas mapped all the time, you just care about the one from the
running vcpu.

AFAICT, this is only used during context switching. This is a bit surprising because I would expect it to be updated when the vCPU is running.

So maybe we could just use map_domain_page() and take care manually about cross-page boundary.

Maybe the overhead of that mapping and unmapping would be
too high? But seeing that we are aiming at a secret-free Xen we would
have to eventually go that route anyway.

The overhead is likely to be higher with the existing code as you have to walk the guest page-tables and the p2m everytime in order to translate the guest virtual address to a host physical address.

So mapping/unmapping a physical address is not going to be too bad :).

Another option would be to just return -EINVAL or -EOPNOTSUPP in that
case and just get on with it. runstate info shouldn't be mandatory for
guests to function properly, I would say it's just extra info that's
provided in good faith from the hypervisor in order to help the guest
make better scheduling decisions.

Linux will panic if the VCPUOP_register_runstate_memory_area returns an
error (see xen_setup_runstate_info()).

Oh, that's dull. That hypercall was never noted to be optional, so it
failing would mean Linux has somehow screwed the call which is not


Julien Grall



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