Re: [Xen-devel] [RFC KERNEL PATCH 0/2] Add Dom0 NVDIMM support for Xen

From: Haozhong Zhang
Date: Thu Oct 13 2016 - 05:08:46 EST

+Dan Williams

I accidentally dropped him in my last reply. Add him back.

On 10/13/16 16:53 +0800, Haozhong Zhang wrote:
On 10/13/16 02:34 -0600, Jan Beulich wrote:
On 12.10.16 at 18:19, <dan.j.williams@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 9:01 AM, Jan Beulich <JBeulich@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
On 12.10.16 at 17:42, <dan.j.williams@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 8:39 AM, Jan Beulich <JBeulich@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
On 12.10.16 at 16:58, <haozhong.zhang@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On 10/12/16 05:32 -0600, Jan Beulich wrote:
On 12.10.16 at 12:33, <haozhong.zhang@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
The layout is shown as the following diagram.

| whatever used | Partition | Super | Reserved | /dev/pmem0p1 |
| by kernel | Table | Block | for Xen | |
\_____________________ _______________________/

I have to admit that I dislike this, for not being OS-agnostic.
Neither should there be any Xen-specific region, nor should the
"whatever used by kernel" one be restricted to just Linux. What
I could see is an OS-reserved area ahead of the partition table,
the exact usage of which depends on which OS is currently
running (and in the Xen case this might be both Xen _and_ the
Dom0 kernel, arbitrated by a tbd protocol). After all, when
running under Xen, the Dom0 may not have a need for as much
control data as it has when running on bare hardware, for it
controlling less (if any) of the actual memory ranges when Xen
is present.

Isn't this OS-reserved area still not OS-agnostic, as it requires OS
to know where the reserved area is? Or do you mean it's not if it's
defined by a protocol that is accepted by all OSes?

The latter - we clearly won't get away without some agreement on
where to retrieve position and size of this area. I was simply
assuming that such a protocol already exists.

No, we should not mix the struct page reservation that the Dom0 kernel
may actively use with the Xen reservation that the Dom0 kernel does
not consume. Explain again what is wrong with the partition approach?

Not sure what was unclear in my previous reply. I don't think there
should be apriori knowledge of whether Xen is (going to be) used on
a system, and even if it gets used, but just occasionally, it would
(apart from the abstract considerations already given) be a waste
of resources to set something aside that could be used for other
purposes while Xen is not running. Static partitioning should only be
needed for persistent data.

The reservation needs to be persistent / static even if the data is
volatile, as is the case with struct page, because we can't have the
size of the device change depending on use. So, from the aspect of
wasting space while Xen is not in use, both partitions and the
intrinsic reservation approach suffer the same problem. Setting that
aside I don't want to mix 2 different use cases into the same

Then you didn't understand what I've said: I certainly didn't mean
the reservation to vary from a device perspective. However, when
Xen is in use I don't see why part of that static reservation couldn't
be used by Xen, and another part by the Dom0 kernel. The kernel
obviously would need to ask the hypervisor how much of the space
is left, and where that area starts.

I think Dan means that there should be a clear separation between
reservations for different usages (kernel/xen/...). The libnvdimm
driver is for the linux kernel and only needs to maintain the
reservation for kernel functionality. For others including xen/dm/...,
if they want reservation for their own purpose, they should maintain
their own reservations out of libnvdimm driver and avoid bothering the
libnvdimm driver (e.g. add specific handling in libnvdimm driver).

IIUC, one existing example is device-mapper device (dm) which needs to
reserve on-device area for its own meta-data. Its choice is to store
the meta-data on the block device (/dev/pmemN) provided by the
libnvdimm driver.

I think we can do the similar for Xen, like to lay another pseudo
device on /dev/pmem and do the reservation, like 2. in my previous


The kernel needs to know about the struct page reservation because it
needs to manage the lifetime of page references vs the lifetime of the
device. It does not have the same relationship with a Xen reservation
which is why I'm proposing they be managed separately.

I don't think I understand the difference you try to point out here.
Linux'es struct page and Xen's struct page_info serve the same
fundamental purpose.


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