[libvirt] Executing gdb/gcore as an on_crash action

Sergio Lopez slp at redhat.com
Thu Dec 21 15:35:06 UTC 2017

On Thu, Dec 21, 2017 at 3:51 PM, Daniel P. Berrange <berrange at redhat.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Dec 21, 2017 at 11:22:48AM +0100, Sergio Lopez wrote:
>> I'm willing to work on a patch implementing this feature myself, but
>> first I'd like to know if this sounds good to you. Also, if it does,
>> do you think the behavior of coredump-[destroy|restart] should be
>> changed to use gdb if available, falling back to qemuDomainCoreDump if
>> it isn't, or just implement another action for on_crash?
> I really don't like the idea of running GDB automatically in response to
> anything that can be triggered by the guest. GDB is not robust wrt
> parsing cores, so a suitably corrupted memory image of QEMU could be
> used to abuse GDB. Further, few production deployments of libvirt & QEMU
> will ever have GDB installed. Many organizations outright forbid install
> of such tools on production machines.

I'm thinking of this not as something to be enabled by default for the
whole environment, but as a feature that would be temporarily enabled
for debugging a certain misbehaving VM. Would be a great companion for

> A much simpler way is to just have an "abort" action, which would cause
> libvirt to send SIG_ABRT to QEMU.  This should cause QEMU's default
> SIG_ABRT handler to kick in which will make the kernel trigger a coredump.
> If really wanted, you can then use abrt to catch this coredump.

GDB would allow us to dump all memory mappings even for VMs running
with dump-guest-core=off, but as this is something that already
requires modifying the domain's definition, adding dumpCore=on too
shouldn't be a problem.

I like the on_crash=abort approach. I'm going to work on it. Thanks Daniel.


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