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Re: XSM and the idle domain

On Thu, Oct 22, 2020 at 1:01 PM Hongyan Xia <hx242@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Thu, 2020-10-22 at 13:51 +0100, Andrew Cooper wrote:
> > On 21/10/2020 15:34, Hongyan Xia wrote:
> > > The first question came up during ongoing work in LiveUpdate. After
> > > an
> > > LU, the next Xen needs to restore all domains. To do that, some
> > > hypercalls need to be issued from the idle domain context and
> > > apparently XSM does not like it.
> >
> > There is no such thing as issuing hypercalls from the idle domain
> > (context or otherwise), because the idle domain does not have enough
> > associated guest state for anything to make the requisite
> >
> > I presume from this comment that what you mean is that you're calling
> > the plain hypercall functions, context checks and everything, from
> > the
> > idle context?
> Yep, the restore code just calls the hypercall functions from idle
> context.
> > If so, this is buggy for more reasons than just XSM objecting to its
> > calling context, and that XSM is merely the first thing to explode.
> > Therefore, I don't think modifications to XSM are applicable to
> > solving
> > the problem.
> >
> > (Of course, this is all speculation because there's no concrete
> > implementation to look at.)
> Another explosion is the inability to create hypercall preemption,
> which for now is disabled when the calling context is the idle domain.
> Apart from XSM and preemption, the LU prototype works fine. We only
> reuse a limited number of hypercall functions and are not trying to be
> able to call all possible hypercalls from idle.

I wonder if for domain_create, it wouldn't be better to move
xsm_domain_create() out to the domctl (hypercall entry) and check it
there.  That would side-step xsm in domain_create.  Flask would need
to be modified for that.  I've an untested patch doing the
rearranging, which I'll send as a follow up.

What other hypercalls are you having issues with?  Those could also be
refactored so the hypercall entry checks permissions, and the actual
work is done in a directly callable function.

> Having a dedicated domLU just like domB (or reusing domB) sounds like a
> viable option. If the overhead can be made low enough then we won't
> need to work around XSM and hypercall preemption.
> Although the question was whether XSM should interact with the idle
> domain. With a good design LU should be able to sidestep this though.

Circling back to the main topic, is the idle domain Xen, or is it
distinct?  It runs in the context of Xen, so Xen isn't really in a
place to enforce policy on itself.  Hongyan, as you said earlier,
applying XSM is more of a debugging feature at that point than a
security feature.  And as Jan pointed out, you can have problems if
XSM prevents the hypervisor from performing an action it doesn't
expect to fail.




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