[libvirt] [PATCH 0/7] x86: Rework KVM-defaults compat code, enable kvm_pv_unhalt by default

Eduardo Habkost ehabkost at redhat.com
Tue Oct 10 15:50:03 UTC 2017

(CCing libvir-list)

On Mon, Oct 09, 2017 at 05:47:44PM +0200, Paolo Bonzini wrote:
> On 09/10/2017 17:15, Waiman Long wrote:
> > On 10/09/2017 09:39 AM, Paolo Bonzini wrote:
> >> On 06/10/2017 23:52, Eduardo Habkost wrote:
> >>> This series enables kvm_pv_unhalt by default on pc-*-2.11 and
> >>> newer.
> >>
> >> I've discussed PV spinlocks with some folks at Microsoft for a few weeks
> >> now, and I'm not 100% sure about enabling kvm_pv_unhalt by default.
> >> It's probably a good idea overall, but it does come with some caveats.
> >>
> >> The problem is that there were two different implementations of fair
> >> spinlocks in Linux, ticket spinlocks and queued spinlocks.  When
> >> kvm_pv_unhalt is disabled, ticket spinlocks sucked badly indeed; queued
> >> spinlocks however simply revert to unfair spinlocks, which loses the
> >> fairness but has the best performance.  See virt_spin_lock in
> >> arch/x86/include/asm/qspinlock.h.
> >>
> >> Now, fair spinlocks are only really needed for large NUMA machines.
> >> With a single NUMA node, for example, test-and-set spinlocks work well
> >> enough; there's not _much_ need for fairness in practice, and the
> >> paravirtualization does introduce some overhead.
> >>
> >> Therefore, the best performance would be achieved with kvm_pv_unhalt
> >> disabled on small VMs, and enabled on large VMs spanning multiple host
> >> NUMA nodes.
> >>
> >> Waiman, Davidlohr, do you have an opinion on this as well?
> > 
> > I agree. Using unfair lock in a small VM is good for performance. The
> > only problem I see is how do we define what is small. Now, even a
> > machine with a single socket can have up to 28 cores, 56 threads. If a
> > VM has up to 56 vCPUs, we may still want pvqspinlock to be used.
> Yes.  Another possibility is to enable it when there is >1 NUMA node in
> the guest.  We generally don't do this kind of magic but higher layers
> (oVirt/OpenStack) do.

Can't the guest make this decision, instead of the host?

> It also depends on how worse performance is with PV qspinlocks,
> especially since now there's also vcpu_is_preempted that has to be
> thrown in the mix.  A lot more testing is needed.

This is an interesting case for "-cpu host"/host-passthrough:
usage of "-cpu host" has an implicit assumption that no feature
will decrease performance just because we told the guest that it
is available.

Can't the guest choose the most reasonable option based on the
information we provide to it, instead of having to hide
information from the guest to get better performance?

> > Is the kvm_pv_unhalt flag a global one for all VMs within a machine? Or
> > can it be different for each VM? We may want to have this flag
> > dynamically determined depending on the configuration of the VM.
> It's per-VM, so that's easy.


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