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Re: [Stratos-dev] Enabling hypervisor agnosticism for VirtIO backends

On Tue, 14 Sep 2021, Trilok Soni wrote:
> On 9/13/2021 4:51 PM, Stefano Stabellini via Stratos-dev wrote:
> > On Mon, 6 Sep 2021, AKASHI Takahiro wrote:
> > > > the second is how many context switches are involved in a transaction.
> > > > Of course with all things there is a trade off. Things involving the
> > > > very tightest latency would probably opt for a bare metal backend which
> > > > I think would imply hypervisor knowledge in the backend binary.
> > > 
> > > In configuration phase of virtio device, the latency won't be a big
> > > matter.
> > > In device operations (i.e. read/write to block devices), if we can
> > > resolve 'mmap' issue, as Oleksandr is proposing right now, the only issue
> > > is
> > > how efficiently we can deliver notification to the opposite side. Right?
> > > And this is a very common problem whatever approach we would take.
> > > 
> > > Anyhow, if we do care the latency in my approach, most of virtio-proxy-
> > > related code can be re-implemented just as a stub (or shim?) library
> > > since the protocols are defined as RPCs.
> > > In this case, however, we would lose the benefit of providing "single
> > > binary"
> > > BE.
> > > (I know this is is an arguable requirement, though.)
> > 
> > In my experience, latency, performance, and security are far more
> > important than providing a single binary.
> > 
> > In my opinion, we should optimize for the best performance and security,
> > then be practical on the topic of hypervisor agnosticism. For instance,
> > a shared source with a small hypervisor-specific component, with one
> > implementation of the small component for each hypervisor, would provide
> > a good enough hypervisor abstraction. It is good to be hypervisor
> > agnostic, but I wouldn't go extra lengths to have a single binary. I
> > cannot picture a case where a BE binary needs to be moved between
> > different hypervisors and a recompilation is impossible (BE, not FE).
> > Instead, I can definitely imagine detailed requirements on IRQ latency
> > having to be lower than 10us or bandwidth higher than 500 MB/sec.
> > 
> > Instead of virtio-proxy, my suggestion is to work together on a common
> > project and common source with others interested in the same problem.
> > 
> > I would pick something like kvmtool as a basis. It doesn't have to be
> > kvmtools, and kvmtools specifically is GPL-licensed, which is
> > unfortunate because it would help if the license was BSD-style for ease
> > of integration with Zephyr and other RTOSes.
> > 
> > As long as the project is open to working together on multiple
> > hypervisors and deployment models then it is fine. For instance, the
> > shared source could be based on OpenAMP kvmtool [1] (the original
> > kvmtool likely prefers to stay small and narrow-focused on KVM). OpenAMP
> > kvmtool was created to add support for hypervisor-less virtio but they
> > are very open to hypervisors too. It could be a good place to add a Xen
> > implementation, a KVM fatqueue implementation, a Jailhouse
> > implementation, etc. -- work together toward the common goal of a single
> > BE source (not binary) supporting multiple different deployment models.
> I have my reservations on using "kvmtool" to do any development here.
> "kvmtool" can't be used on the products and it is just a tool for the
> developers.
> The benefit of the solving problem w/ rust-vmm is that some of the crates from
> this project can be utilized for the real product. Alex has mentioned that
> "rust-vmm" today has some KVM specific bits but the rust-vmm community is
> already discussing to remove or re-org them in such a way that other
> Hypervisors can fit in.
> Microsoft has Hyper-V implementation w/ cloud-hypervisor which uses some of
> the rust-vmm components as well and they had shown interest to add the Hyper-V
> support in the "rust-vmm" project as well. I don't know the current progress
> but they had proven it it "cloud-hypervisor" project.
> "rust-vmm" project's license will work as well for most of the project
> developments and I see that "CrosVM" is shipping in the products as well.

Most things in open source start as a developers tool before they become
part of a product :)

I am concerned about how "embeddable" rust-vmm is going to be. Do you
think it would be possible to run it against an RTOS together with other
apps written in C?

Let me make a realistic example. You can imagine a Zephyr instance with
simple toolstack functionalities written in C (starting/stopping VMs).
One might want to add a virtio backend to it. I am not familiar enough
with Rust and rust-vmm to know if it would be feasible and "easy" to run
a rust-vmm backend as a Zephyr app.

A C project of the size of kvmtool, but BSD-licensed, could run on
Zephyr with only a little porting effort using the POSIX compatibility
layer. I think that would be ideal. Anybody aware of a project
fulfilling these requirements?

If we have to give up the ability to integrate with an RTOS, then I
think QEMU could be the leading choice because is still the main
reference implementation for virtio.



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