[lkml]   [2002]   [Jun]   [21]   [last100]   RSS Feed
Views: [wrap][no wrap]   [headers]  [forward] 
Messages in this thread
SubjectRe: kernel upgrade on the fly
On Thursday 20 June 2002 04:19 pm, wrote:
> Thanks for the responses especially Rob. I was trying to find previous
> threads about this and could not find them. Agreed, swsusp is a step
> further to that goal; the way that memory is saved though may not make it
> necessarily easier, at least in the current state of swsusp.

Several people have mentioned process migration in clusters. Jessee Pollard
says he expects to see checkpointing of arbitrary user processes working this
fall, and then Nick LeRoy replied to him about the condor project, which
apparently does something similar in user space...

You might also want to look at the crash dump code (and the multithreaded
crash dump patch floating around in the 2.5 to-do list) as another starting
point, since A) it's flushing user info for a single process into a file in a
well-known format, B) such a file can already be loaded back in and at least
somewhat resumed by the Gnu Debugger (gdb).

> As you were mentioning, the processes information needs
> to be summarised and saved in such a way that the new kernel can pick up
> and construct its own queues of processes independent on the differences
> between the kernels being swapped.

Which isn't impossible, I remember migrating WWIV message base files from
version to version a dozen years ago. Good old brute force did the job:
new->field=old->field; There's almost certainly a more elegant way to do it,
but brute force has the advantage that we know it could be made to work...

As for maintaining a "convert 2.4.36->2.4.37" executable goes, (to be
released with each kernel version,) the fact there's a patch file to take the
kernel's source from version to version should help a LOT with figuring out
what structures got touched and what exactly needs to be converted. Still
needs a human maintainer, though. It's also bound to lag the kernel releases
a bit, but that's not such a bad thing...

> Well, this does touch the idea of having migrating processes from one
> machine to others in a network. In fact, I dont understand why is it so
> hard to reparent a process. If it can be reparented within a machine, then
> it can migrate to other machines as well, no?

A process can touch zillions of arbitrary resources, which may not BE there
on the other machine. If you have an mmap into
"/usr/thingy/rutabega/arbitrary/database/filename.fred" and on the remote
machine fred is there, the contents are identical, but the directory
"arbitrary" is owned by the wrong user so you don't have permission to
descend into it (or the /etc/passwd file gives the same username a different
pid/assigns that pid to a different username...)

Or how about fifos: are they all there on the resume? Fifos are kind of
brain damaged so it's hard to re-use them, so "create, two connects, delete"
is a pretty common strategy. The program has the initial setup and
negotiation code, but not And can the processes at each end be restored, in
pairs, such that they still communicate with each other properly? What about
a process talking to a one-to-many server like X11 or apache or some such?
Freezing the server to go with your client is kind of overkill, eh? Gotta
draw a line somewhere if you're going to cut out a running process and stick
it in an envelope...

The easy answer is have the restore fail easily and verbosely, and have
attempt 0.1 only able to freeze and restore a fairly small subset of
processes (like the client and equivalents that sit in their
corner twiddling their thumbs really fast), and then add on as you need more.
The wonderful world of shared library version skew is not something
checkpointing code should really HAVE to deal with, just fail if the
environment isn't pretty darn spotless and hand these problems over to the
"migration" utility.

If you're restoring back on top of the same set of mounted filesystems, and
you're only doing so once (freeze processes, reboot to new kernel, thaw
processes, discard checkpoint files), your problem gets much simpler. Still,
did your reboot wipe out stuff in /tmp that running processes need? (Hey, if
it's on shmfs and you didn't save it...)

Also, restoring one of these frozen processes has a certain amount of
security implications, doesn't it? All well and good to say "well the
process's file belongs to user 'barbie', and the saved uid matches, so load
it back in", except that what if it was originally an suid executable so it
could bind to some resource and then drop privelidges? How do you know some
user trying to attack the system didn't edit a frozen process file? You
pretty much have to cryptographically sign the files to allow non-root users
to load them back in (public key cryptography, not md5sum. Gotta be a secret
key or a user, with your source code, could replicate the process of creating
one of these suckers with arbitrary contents in userspace...)

Again, less of a problem in a "trusted" environment, but this is unix we're
talking about, and unless you're makng an embedded system to put in a toaster
it will probably be attached to the internet. And another easy answer is
"don't do that then", or "only allow root to restore the suckers" (that last
one probably has to be the case anyway, make an suid executable to verify the
save files via a gpg signature if you REALLY want users to be able to do
this, I.E. shove this problem into user space... :)

> Rob, I am going to the Newark campus FYI, and have interests in some AI
> stuff.
> Thanks again,

I'm just trying to give you some idea how much work you're in for. Then
again, Linus is on record as saying that if he knew how much work the kernel
would turn out to be, he probably never would have started it... :)

> Adi

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at

 \ /
  Last update: 2005-03-22 13:26    [W:0.035 / U:5.356 seconds]
©2003-2020 Jasper Spaans|hosted at Digital Ocean and TransIP|Read the blog|Advertise on this site