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

Eduardo Habkost ehabkost at redhat.com
Fri Oct 13 23:56:44 UTC 2017

On Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 04:58:23PM -0400, Waiman Long wrote:
> On 10/13/2017 03:01 PM, Eduardo Habkost wrote:
> > On Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 04:19:38PM -0400, Waiman Long wrote:
> >> On 10/10/2017 03:41 PM, Eduardo Habkost wrote:
> >>> On Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 02:07:25PM -0400, Waiman Long wrote:
> >>>> On 10/10/2017 11:50 AM, Eduardo Habkost wrote:
> >>>>>> 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?
> >>>> By guest, do you mean the guest OS itself or the admin of the guest VM?
> >>> It could be either.  But even if action is required from the
> >>> guest admin to get better performance in some cases, I'd argue
> >>> that the default behavior of a Linux guest shouldn't cause a
> >>> performance regression if the host stops hiding a feature in
> >>> CPUID.
> >>>
> >>>> I am thinking about maybe adding kernel boot command line option like
> >>>> "unfair_pvspinlock_cpu_threshold=4" which will instruct the OS to use
> >>>> unfair spinlock if the number of CPUs is 4 or less, for example. The
> >>>> default value of 0 will have the same behavior as it is today. Please
> >>>> let me know what you guys think about that.
> >>> If that's implemented, can't Linux choose a reasonable default
> >>> for unfair_pvspinlock_cpu_threshold that won't require the admin
> >>> to manually configure it on most cases?
> >> It is hard to have a fixed value as it depends on the CPUs being used as
> >> well as the kind of workloads that are being run. Besides, using unfair
> >> locks have the undesirable side effect of being subject to lock
> >> starvation under certain circumstances. So we may not work it to be
> >> turned on by default. Customers have to take their own risk if they want
> >> that.
> > Probably I am not seeing all variables involved, so pardon my
> > confusion.  Would unfair_pvspinlock_cpu_threshold > num_cpus just
> > disable usage of kvm_pv_unhalt, or make the guest choose a
> > completely different spinlock implementation?
> What I am proposing is that if num_cpus <=
> unfair_pvspinlock_cpu_threshold, the unfair spinlock will be used even
> if kvm_pv_unhalt is set.
> > Is the current default behavior of Linux guests when
> > kvm_pv_unhalt is unavailable a good default?  If using
> > kvm_pv_unhalt is not always a good idea, why do Linux guests
> > default to eagerly trying to use it only because the host says
> > it's available?
> For kernel with CONFIG_PARVIRT_SPINLOCKS, the current default is to use
> pvqspinlock if kvm_pv_unhalt is enabled, but use unfair spinlock if it
> is disabled. For kernel with just CONFIG_PARVIRT but no
> CONFIG_PARAVIRT_SPINLOCKS, the unfair lock will be use no matter the
> setting of kvm_pv_unhalt. Without those config options, the standard
> qspinlock will be used.

Thanks for the explanation.

Now, I don't know yet what's the best default for a guest that
has CONFIG_PARAVIRT_SPINLOCK when it sees a host that supports
kvm_pv_unhalt.  But I'm arguing that it's the guest
responsibility to choose what to do when it detects such a host,
instead of expecting the host to hide features from the guest.
The guest and the guest administrator have more information to
choose what's best.

In other words, if exposing kvm_pv_unhalt on CPUID really makes
some guests behave poorly, can we fix the guests instead?


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