Re: [PATCH V2 3/5] ara virt interface of perf to support kvm guestos statistics collection in guest os

From: Avi Kivity
Date: Thu Jun 24 2010 - 04:00:19 EST

On 06/24/2010 06:36 AM, Zhang, Yanmin wrote:

If the perf event is bound to the vm, not a vcpu, then on guest process
migration you will have to disable it on one vcpu and enable it on the
other, no?
I found we start from different points. This patch is to implement a para virt
interface based on current perf implementation in kernel.

The words 'current perf implementation' are scary. I'm after a long term stable interface. My goals are a simple interface (so it is easy to implement on both sides, easy to scale, and resists implementation changes in guest and host), live migration support, and good documentation.

Since most of our infrastructure is for emulating hardware, I tend towards hardware-like interfaces. These tend to retain all state in registers so they work well with live migration.

While realistically I don't expect other OSes to implement this interface, I would like to design it so it would be easy to do so. That will help Linux as well in case the perf implementation changes.

Here is a diagram about perf implementation layers. Below picture is not precise,
but it could show perf layers. Ingo and Peter could correct me if something is wrong.

| Perf Generic Layer |
| PMU Abstraction Layer |
| (a couple of callbacks) |
| x86_pmu |
| (operate real PMU hardware) |

The upper layer is perf generic layer. The 3rd layer is x86_pmu which really
manipulate PMU hardware. Sometimes, 1st calls 3rd directly at event initialization
and enable/disable all events.

My patch implements a kvm_pmu at the 2nd layer in guest os, to call hypercall to vmexit
to host. At host side, mostly it would go through the 3 layers till accessing real


Most of your comments don't agree with the kvm_pmu design. Although you didn't say
directly, I know that perhaps you want to implement para virt interface at 3rd layer
in guest os. That means guest os maintains a mapping between guest event and PMU counters.
That's why you strongly prefer per-vcpu event managements and idx reference to event.

The conclusion is correct, but I arrived at it from a different direction. I'm not really familiar with perf internals (do you have pointers I could study?). My preference comes from the desire to retain all state in guest-visible registers or memory. That simplifies live migration significantly. Keeping things per-vcpu simplifies the interface.

If we implement it at 3rd layer (or something like that although you might say I don't
like that layer...) in guest, we need bypass 1st and 2nd layers in host kernel when
processing guest os event. Eventually, we almost add a new layer under x86_pmu to arbitrate
between perf PMU request and KVM guest event request.

My current patch arranges the calling to go through the whole perf stack at host side.
The upper layer arranges perf event scheduling on PMU hardware. Applications don't know
when its event will be really scheduled to real hardware as they needn't know.

No, I don't think we should bypass the perf stack on the host. It is important since the perf stack arbitrates a scarce resource that needs to be shared with other users on the host.

The way I see it, pvpmu can easily expose an interface that is hardware-like: a process context host perf event corresponds to a guest vcpu context performance counter. The guest already knows how to convert vcpu context hardware counters to process context hardware counters, and how to multiplex multiple software visible perf events on limited hardware resources.

All three layers would be involved on both guest and host. When I suggest to use WRMSR and RDPMC to access pvpmu, that doesn't mean it accesses the real pmu; it's just a hardware-like interface to access a vcpu-context/per-thread counter on the host. An advantage of an MSR interface is that we have infrastructure to live migrate the state associated with it.

Having the host see guest process context events is not useful IMO. We can't allow the guest to create unlimited events, so the multiplexing code will still be needed. Because of that, we may as well restrict ourselves to vcpu context events, which is how real hardware works.

If there is concern about a guest task migrating to a different vcpu and requiring the destruction and re-creation of a perf event on the host side, that can be addressed by a cache on the host side. The cache would be invisible ("non-architectural" from the guest's point of view), and so we would not need to live migrate it. However, I don't believe such a cache is really necessary, or that it's a good idea for large guests.

error compiling committee.c: too many arguments to function

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