[libvirt] [RFC 0/7] Live Migration with Pass-through Devices proposal

Michael S. Tsirkin mst at redhat.com
Tue May 19 09:10:39 UTC 2015

On Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 11:01:44AM -0400, Laine Stump wrote:
> On 04/23/2015 04:34 AM, Chen Fan wrote:
> >
> > On 04/20/2015 06:29 AM, Laine Stump wrote:
> >> On 04/17/2015 04:53 AM, Chen Fan wrote:
> >>> -  on destination side, check whether need to hotplug new NIC
> >>> according to specified XML.
> >>>     usually, we use migrate "--xml" command option to specify the
> >>> destination host NIC mac
> >>>     address to hotplug a new NIC, because source side passthrough
> >>> NIC mac address is different,
> >>>     then hotplug the deivce according to the destination XML
> >>> configuration.
> >> Why does the MAC address need to be different? Are you suggesting doing
> >> this with passed-through non-SRIOV NICs? An SRIOV virtual function gets
> >> its MAC address from the libvirt config, so it's very simple to use the
> >> same MAC address across the migration. Any network card that would be
> >> able to do this on any sort of useful scale will be SRIOV-capable (or
> >> should be replaced with one that is - some of them are not that
> >> expensive).
> > Hi Laine,
> >
> > I think SRIOV virtual NIC to support migration is good idea,
> > but I also think some passthrough NIC without SRIOV-capable. for
> > these NIC devices we only able to use <hostdev> to specify the
> > passthrough
> > function, so for these NIC I think we should support too.
> As I think you've already discovered, passing through non-SRIOV NICS is
> problematic. It is completely impossible for the host to change their
> MAC address before assigning them to the guest - the guest's driver sees
> standard netdev hardware and resets it, which resets the MAC address to
> the original value burned into the firmware. This makes management more
> complicated, especially when you get into scenarios such as what we're
> discussing (i.e. migration) where the actual hardware (and thus MAC
> address) may be different from one run to the next.

Right, passing through PFs is also insecure.  Let's get
everything working fine with VFs first, worry about PFs later.

> Since libvirt's <interface> element requires a fixed MAC address in the
> XML, it's not possible to have an <interface> that gets the actual
> device from a network pool (without some serious hacking to that code),
> and there is no support for plain (non-network) <hostdev> device pools;
> there would need to be a separate (nonexistent) driver for that. Since
> the <hostdev> element relies on the PCI address of the device (in the
> <source> subelement, which also must be fixed) to determine which device
> to passthrough, a domain config with a <hostdev> that could be run on
> two different machines would require the device to reside at exactly the
> same PCI address on both machines, which is a very serious limitation to
> have in an environment large enough that migrating domains is a requirement.
> Also, non-SRIOV NICs are limited to a single device per physical port,
> meaning probably at most 4 devices per physical host PCIe slot, and this
> results in a greatly reduced density on the host (and even more so on
> the switch that connects to the host!) compared to even the old Intel
> 82576 cards, which have 14 VFs (7VFs x 2 ethernet ports). Think about it
> - with an 82576, you can get 14 guests into 1 PCIe slot and 2 switch
> ports, while the same number of guests with non-SRIOV would take 4 PCIe
> slots and 14(!) switch ports. The difference is even more striking when
> comparing to chips like the 82599 (64 VFs per port x 2), or a Mellanox
> (also 64?) or SolarFlare (128?) card. And don't forget that, because you
> don't have pools of devices to be automatically chosen from, that each
> guest domain that will be migrated requires a reserved NIC on *every*
> machine it will be migrated to (no other domain can be configured to use
> that NIC, in order to avoid conflicts).
> Of course you could complicate the software by adding a driver that
> manages pools of generic hostdevs, and coordinates MAC address changes
> with the guest (part of what you're suggesting), but all that extra
> complexity not only takes a lot of time and effort to develop, it also
> creates more code that needs to be maintained and tested for regressions
> at each release.
> The alternative is to just spend $130 per host for an 82576 or Intel
> I350 card (these are the cheapest SRIOV options I'm aware of). When
> compared to the total cost of any hardware installation large enough to
> support migration and have performance requirements high enough that NIC
> passthrough is needed, this is a trivial amount.
> I guess the bottom line of all this is that (in my opinion, of course
> :-) supporting useful migration of domains that used passed-through
> non-SRIOV NICs would be an interesting experiment, but I don't see much
> utility to it, other than "scratching an intellectual itch", and I'm
> concerned that it would create more long term maintenance cost than it
> was worth.

I'm not sure it has no utility but it's easy to agree that
VFs are more important, and focusing on this first is a good

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