[libvirt] [Qemu-devel] live snapshot wiki updated

Daniel P. Berrange berrange at redhat.com
Tue Jul 19 16:46:13 UTC 2011

On Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 04:14:27PM +0100, Stefan Hajnoczi wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 3:30 PM, Jes Sorensen <Jes.Sorensen at redhat.com> wrote:
> > On 07/19/11 16:24, Eric Blake wrote:
> >> [adding the libvir-list]
> >> On 07/19/2011 08:09 AM, Jes Sorensen wrote:
> >>> Urgh, libvirt parsing image files is really unfortunate, it really
> >>> doesn't give me warm fuzzy feelings :( libvirt really should not know
> >>> about internals of image formats.
> >>
> >> But even if you add new features to qemu to avoid needing this in the
> >> future, it doesn't change the past - libvirt will always have to know
> >> how to parse image files understood by older qemu, and so as long as
> >> libvirt already knows how to do that parsing, we might as well take
> >> advantage of it.
> >
> > What has been done here in the past is plain wrong. Continuing to do it
> > isn't the right thing to do here.
> >
> >> Besides, I feel that having a well-documented file format, so that
> >> independent applications can both parse the same file with the same
> >> semantics by obeying the file format specification, is a good design goal.
> >
> > We all know that documentation is rarely uptodate, new features may not
> > get added and libvirt will never be able to keep up. The driver for a
> > file format belongs in QEMU and nowhere else.
> It should be a goal to avoid dependencies in multiple layers of the
> stack because it becomes are to add new features - they require
> coordinated changes in multiple layers.  Having both QEMU and libvirt
> know the internals of image files is such a multi-dependency.  If I
> want to add a new format or change an existing format I have to touch
> both layers.
> For fd-passing perhaps we have an opportunity to use a callback
> mechanism (QEMU request: filename -> libvirt response: fd) and do all
> the image format parsing in QEMU.

The reason why libvirt does the parsing of file headers to determine
backing files is to maintain the trust boundary. Everything run from
the exec() of QEMU onwards is considered untrusted code. So having
QEMU parsing the file headers & passing back open() requests to libvirt
is breaking the trust boundary.

NB, i'm not happy about libvirt having to have knowledge of file format
headers, but we needed something more efficient & reliable than invoking
qemu-img info & parsing the output. Ideally QEMU (or something else)
would provide a library libblockformat.so with stable APIs for at least
reading metadata about image formats. If it had APIs for image creation,
etc too that would be a bonus, but we're more or less ok spawning qemu-img
for those cases currently.

|: http://berrange.com      -o-    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dberrange/ :|
|: http://libvirt.org              -o-             http://virt-manager.org :|
|: http://autobuild.org       -o-         http://search.cpan.org/~danberr/ :|
|: http://entangle-photo.org       -o-       http://live.gnome.org/gtk-vnc :|

More information about the libvir-list mailing list