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Re: Enabling hypervisor agnosticism for VirtIO backends

Hi Stefan,

On Tue, Aug 17, 2021 at 11:41:01AM +0100, Stefan Hajnoczi wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 04, 2021 at 12:20:01PM -0700, Stefano Stabellini wrote:
> > > Could we consider the kernel internally converting IOREQ messages from
> > > the Xen hypervisor to eventfd events? Would this scale with other kernel
> > > hypercall interfaces?
> > > 
> > > So any thoughts on what directions are worth experimenting with?
> >  
> > One option we should consider is for each backend to connect to Xen via
> > the IOREQ interface. We could generalize the IOREQ interface and make it
> > hypervisor agnostic. The interface is really trivial and easy to add.
> > The only Xen-specific part is the notification mechanism, which is an
> > event channel. If we replaced the event channel with something else the
> > interface would be generic. See:
> > https://gitlab.com/xen-project/xen/-/blob/staging/xen/include/public/hvm/ioreq.h#L52
> There have been experiments with something kind of similar in KVM
> recently (see struct ioregionfd_cmd):
> https://lore.kernel.org/kvm/dad3d025bcf15ece11d9df0ff685e8ab0a4f2edd.1613828727.git.eafanasova@xxxxxxxxx/

Do you know the current status of Elena's work?
It was last February that she posted her latest patch
and it has not been merged upstream yet.

> > There is also another problem. IOREQ is probably not be the only
> > interface needed. Have a look at
> > https://marc.info/?l=xen-devel&m=162373754705233&w=2. Don't we also need
> > an interface for the backend to inject interrupts into the frontend? And
> > if the backend requires dynamic memory mappings of frontend pages, then
> > we would also need an interface to map/unmap domU pages.
> > 
> > These interfaces are a lot more problematic than IOREQ: IOREQ is tiny
> > and self-contained. It is easy to add anywhere. A new interface to
> > inject interrupts or map pages is more difficult to manage because it
> > would require changes scattered across the various emulators.
> Something like ioreq is indeed necessary to implement arbitrary devices,
> but if you are willing to restrict yourself to VIRTIO then other
> interfaces are possible too because the VIRTIO device model is different
> from the general purpose x86 PIO/MMIO that Xen's ioreq seems to support.

Can you please elaborate your thoughts a bit more here?

It seems to me that trapping MMIOs to configuration space and
forwarding those events to BE (or device emulation) is a quite
straight-forward way to emulate device MMIOs.
Or do you think of something of protocols used in vhost-user?

# On the contrary, virtio-ivshmem only requires a driver to explicitly
# forward a "write" request of MMIO accesses to BE. But I don't think
# it's your point. 

-Takahiro Akashi

> Stefan



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