[libvirt] [PATCH 0/4] improve virConnectListAllInterfaces()

Daniel P. Berrange berrange at redhat.com
Fri Sep 25 16:22:30 UTC 2015

On Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 11:13:52AM -0400, Laine Stump wrote:
> There's a bit of background about this here:
> https://www.redhat.com/archives/augeas-devel/2015-September/msg00001.html
> In short, virt-manager is calling the virInterface APIs and that ties
> up a libvirt thread (and CPU core) for a very long time on hosts that
> have a large number of interfaces. These patches don't cure the
> problem (I don't know that there really is a cure other than "Don't DO
> that!"), but they do fix a couple of bugs I found while investigating,
> and make a substantial improvement in the amount of time used by
> virConnectListAllInterfaces().
> One thing that I wondered about while investigating this - a big use
> of CPU by virConnectListAllInterfaces() comes from the need to
> retrieve the MAC address of every interface. The MAC addresses are
> both
> 1) returned to the caller in the interface objects and
> 2) sent to the policykit ACL checking to decide which interfaces to include in
> the list.
> I'm 90% confident that
> 1) most callers don't really care that they're getting the MAC address
> along with interface name (virt-manager, for example, follows up with
> a virInterfaceGetXMLDesc() anyway)), and
> 2) there is not even a single host *anywhere* that is using libvirt
> policykit ACLs to limit the list of host interfaces viewable by a
> client.
> So we could add a flag to not return MAC addresses, which would allow
> cutting down the time to list all devices to something < 1
> second). But this would be at the expense of no longer having the
> possibility to limit the list with policykit according to MAC
> address. Since all host interface information is available to all
> users via the file system, for example, I don't see this as a huge
> issue, but it would change behavior, so I don't feel comfortable doing
> it. I don't like the idea of a single API call taking > 1 minute to
> return either, though. Does anyone have an opinion about this?

Ultimately 500 interfaces, each ifcfg-XXX file 300 bytes in size
on average is only 150 KB of data. Given the amount of data we
are consuming, here I think it is reasonable to expect we can
process than in a tiny fraction of a second. So there's clearly
a serious algorithmic / data structure flaw here if its taking

By the sounds of the thread you quote, its in augeas itself, so I
think we really need to focus on addressing that root cause as a
priority rather than try to work around it.

As a side note, we might consider adding new API to netcf so that
we can fetch the entire interface set + macs in one api call to
netcf, though I doubt it'd chance performance that much.

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