[libvirt] [PATCH v7 0/4] Add Mediated device support

Alex Williamson alex.williamson at redhat.com
Tue Aug 30 16:16:38 UTC 2016

Hi folks,

At KVM Forum we had a BoF session primarily around the mediated device
sysfs interface.  I'd like to share what I think we agreed on and the
"problem areas" that still need some work so we can get the thoughts
and ideas from those who weren't able to attend.

DanPB expressed some concern about the mdev_supported_types sysfs
interface, which exposes a flat csv file with fields like "type",
"number of instance", "vendor string", and then a bunch of type
specific fields like "framebuffer size", "resolution", "frame rate
limit", etc.  This is not entirely machine parsing friendly and sort of
abuses the sysfs concept of one value per file.  Example output taken
from Neo's libvirt RFC:

cat /sys/bus/pci/devices/0000:86:00.0/mdev_supported_types
# vgpu_type_id, vgpu_type, max_instance, num_heads, frl_config, framebuffer,
11      ,"GRID M60-0B",      16,       2,      45,     512M,    2560x1600
12      ,"GRID M60-0Q",      16,       2,      60,     512M,    2560x1600
13      ,"GRID M60-1B",       8,       2,      45,    1024M,    2560x1600
14      ,"GRID M60-1Q",       8,       2,      60,    1024M,    2560x1600
15      ,"GRID M60-2B",       4,       2,      45,    2048M,    2560x1600
16      ,"GRID M60-2Q",       4,       4,      60,    2048M,    2560x1600
17      ,"GRID M60-4Q",       2,       4,      60,    4096M,    3840x2160
18      ,"GRID M60-8Q",       1,       4,      60,    8192M,    3840x2160

The create/destroy then looks like this:

echo "$mdev_UUID:vendor_specific_argument_list" >

echo "$mdev_UUID:vendor_specific_argument_list" >

"vendor_specific_argument_list" is nebulous.

So the idea to fix this is to explode this into a directory structure,
something like:

├── mdev_destroy
└── mdev_supported_types
    ├── 11
    │   ├── create
    │   ├── description
    │   └── max_instances
    ├── 12
    │   ├── create
    │   ├── description
    │   └── max_instances
    └── 13
        ├── create
        ├── description
        └── max_instances

Note that I'm only exposing the minimal attributes here for simplicity,
the other attributes would be included in separate files and we would
require vendors to create standard attributes for common device classes.

For vGPUs like NVIDIA where we don't support multiple types
concurrently, this directory structure would update as mdev devices are
created, removing no longer available types.  I carried forward
max_instances here, but perhaps we really want to copy SR-IOV and
report a max and current allocation.  Creation and deletion is
simplified as we can simply "echo $UUID > create" per type.  I don't
understand why destroy had a parameter list, so here I imagine we can
simply do the same... in fact, I'd actually rather see a "remove" sysfs
entry under each mdev device, so we remove it at the device rather than
in some central location (any objections?).

We discussed how this might look with Intel devices which do allow
mixed vGPU types concurrently.  We believe, but need confirmation, that
the vendor driver could still make a finite set of supported types,
perhaps with additional module options to the vendor driver to enable
more "exotic" types.  So for instance if IGD vGPUs are based on
power-of-2 portions of the framebuffer size, then the vendor driver
could list types with 32MB, 64MB, 128MB, etc in useful and popular
sizes.  As vGPUs are allocated, the larger sizes may become unavailable.

We still don't have any way for the admin to learn in advance how the
available supported types will change once mdev devices start to be
created.  I'm not sure how we can create a specification for this, so
probing by creating devices may be the most flexible model.

The other issue is the start/stop requirement, which was revealed to
setup peer-to-peer resources between vGPUs which is a limited hardware
resource.  We'd really like to have these happen automatically on the
first open of a vfio mdev device file and final release.  So we
brainstormed how the open/release callbacks could know the other mdev
devices for a given user.  This is where the instance number came into
play previously.  This is an area that needs work.

There was a thought that perhaps on open() the vendor driver could look
at the user pid and use that to associate with other devices, but the
problem here is that we open and begin access to each device, so
devices do this discovery serially rather than in parallel as desired.
(we might not fault in mmio space yet though, so I wonder if open()
could set the association of mdev to pid, then the first mmio fault
would trigger the resource allocation?  Then all the "magic" would live
in the vendor driver.  open() could fail if the pid already has running
mdev devices and the vendor driver chooses not to support hotplug)

One comment was that for a GPU that only supports homogeneous vGPUs,
libvirt may choose to create all the vGPUs in advance and handle them
as we do SR-IOV VFs.  The UUID+instance model would preclude such a use

We also considered whether iommu groups could be (ab)used for this use
case, peer-to-peer would in fact be an iommu grouping constraint
afterall.  This would have the same UUID+instance constraint as above
though and would require some sort of sysfs interface for the user to
be able to create multiple mdevs within a group.

Everyone was given homework to think about this on their flights home,
so I expect plenty of ideas by now ;)

Overall I think mediated devices were well received by the community,
so let's keep up the development and discussion to bring it to
fruition.  Thanks,


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