[libvirt] RFC: Improve performance of macvtap device creation

Laine Stump laine at laine.org
Thu Oct 29 17:48:41 UTC 2015

On 10/29/2015 12:49 PM, Tony Krowiak wrote:
> For a guest domain defined with a large number of macvtap devices, it takes an exceedingly long time to boot the guest. In a test of a guest domain configured with 82 macvtap devices, it took over two minutes for the guest to boot. An strace of the ioctl calls during guest start up showed the SIOCGIFFLAGS ioctl literally being invoked 3,403 times. I was able to isolate the source of the ioctl calls to the*virNetDevMacVLanCreateWithVPortProfile*  function in*virnetdevmacvlan.c*. The macvtap interface name is created by looping over a counter variable, starting with zero, and appending the counter value to 'macvtap'.

I've wondered ever since the first time I saw that code why it was done 
that way, and why there had never been any performance complaints. 
Lacking any complaints, I promptly forgot about it (until the next time 
I went past the code for some other tangentially related reason.)

Since you're the first to complain, you have the honor of fixing it :-)

> With each iteration, a call is made to*virNetDevExists*  (SIOCGIFFLAGS ioctl) to determine if a device with that name already exists, until a unique name is created. In the test case cited above, to create an interface name for the 82nd macvtap device, the*virNetDevExists*  function will be called for interface names 'macvtap0' to 'macvtap80' before it is determined that 'mavtap81' can be used. So if N is the number of macvtap interfaces defined for a guest, the SIOCGIFFLAGS ioctl will be invoked (N x N + N)/2 times to find an unused macvtap device names. That's assuming only one guest is being started, who knows how many times the ioctl may have to be called in an installation running a large number of guests defined with macvtap devices.
> I was able to reduce the amount of time for starting a guest domain defined with 82 macvtap devices from over 2 minutes to about 14 seconds by keeping track of the interface name suffixes previously used. I defined two static bit maps (virBitmap), one each for macvtap and macvlan device name suffixes. When a macvtap/macvlan device is created, the index of the next clear bit (virBitmapNextClearBit) is retrieved to create the name. If an interface with that name does not exist, the device is created and the bit at the index used to create the interface name is set (virBitmapSetBit). When a macvtap/macvlan device is deleted, if the interface name has the pattern 'macvtap%d' or 'macvlan%d', the suffix is parsed into a bit index and used to clear the (virBitMapClearBit) bit in the respective bitmap.

This sounds fine, as long as 1) you recreate the bitmap whenever 
libvirtd is restarted (while scanning through all the interfaces of 
every domain; there is already code being executed in exactly the right 
place - look for qemu_process.c:qemuProcessNotifyNets() and add 
appropriate code inside the loop there), and 2) you retry some number of 
times if a supposedly unused device name is actually in use (to account 
for processes other than libvirt using the same naming convention).

> I am not sure that is the best design because there is no way to track interface names used to create macvtap devices outside of libvirt, for example using the ip command.

If you wanted to get *really* complicated, you could use netlink to get 
a list of all network devices, or even monitor netlink traffic to 
maintain your own cache, but I think that's serious overkill (until 
proven otherwise).
>   There may also be other issues I've not contemplated. I included a couple of additional ideas below and am looking for comments or other suggestions that I have not considered.
>   * Define a global counter variable initialized to 0, that gets
>     incremented each time an interface name is created, to keep track
>     of the last used interface name suffix. At some maximum value, the
>     counter will be set back to 0.

There could be some merit to this, as it is simpler and likely faster. 
You would need to maintain the counter somewhere in persistent storage 
so it could be retrieved when libvirtd is restarted though.

>   * Append a random number to 'macvlan' or 'macvtap' when creating the
>     interface name. Of course, the number of digits would have to be
>     limited so the interface name would not exceed the maximum allowed.

Well, that has the advantage that no persistent state information is 

>   * Create the interface name in code that has more knowledge of the
>     environment and pass the name into the
>     *virNetDevMacVLanCreateWithVPortProfile* function via the
>     *tgifname* parameter. For example, the *qemuBuildCommandLine*
>     function in *qemu_command.c* contains the loop that iterates over
>     the network devices defined for the guest domain that ultimately
>     get created via the *virNetDevMacVLanCreateWithVPortProfile*
>     function. That function has access to the network device
>     configuration and at the very least could ensure none of the names
>     previously defined for the guest aren't used. I believe it would
>     be matter of creating a macvtap interface name - e.g., maybe a
>     call to some function in *virnetdevmacvlan.c* - and setting the
>     name in the virDomainNetDef structure prior to invoking
>     *qemuBuildInterfaceCommandLine*?

I don't quite follow what you're saying, but it sounds like you are 
suggesting that we try to know enough about the environment that we can 
predetermine an interface name. That won't work though - you can't know 
for certain that some other program hasn't taken the name you want until 
you try to create is.

> There are shortcomings in all of these ideas, so if you have a better 
> one, feel free to present it.

Any of the first three is better than what we currently do. Note that in 
the case of standard tap devices, the kernel itself handles the creation 
of a unique name - if you call ioctl(TUNSETIFF) with a string with "%d" 
in it and it finds the lowest numbered unused name and returns that. For 
some reason, the macvtap authors didn't want to do that.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listman.redhat.com/archives/libvir-list/attachments/20151029/fbf5dae1/attachment-0001.htm>

More information about the libvir-list mailing list