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SubjectRe: [PATCH 1/5] Add a global synchronization point for pvclock
On 04/19/2010 11:35 PM, Avi Kivity wrote:
> On 04/20/2010 04:57 AM, Marcelo Tosatti wrote:
>>
>>> Marcelo can probably confirm it, but he has a nehalem with an
>>> appearently
>>> very good tsc source. Even this machine warps.
>>>
>>> It stops warping if we only write pvclock data structure once and
>>> forget it,
>>> (which only updated tsc_timestamp once), according to him.
>> Yes. So its not as if the guest visible TSCs go out of sync (they don't
>> on this machine Glauber mentioned, or even on a multi-core Core 2 Duo),
>> but the delta calculation is very hard (if not impossible) to get right.
>>
>> The timewarps i've seen were in the 0-200ns range, and very rare (once
>> every 10 minutes or so).
>
> Might be due to NMIs or SMIs interrupting the rdtsc(); ktime_get()
> operation which establishes the timeline. We could limit it by having
> a loop doing rdtsc(); ktime_get(); rdtsc(); and checking for some
> bound, but it isn't worthwhile (and will break nested virtualization
> for sure). Better to have the option to calibrate kvmclock just once
> on machines with X86_FEATURE_NONSTOP_TRULY_RELIABLE _TSC_HONESTLY.

There's a perfect way to do this and it still fails to stop timewarps.
You can set the performance counters to overflow if more instructions
are issued than your code path, run an assembly instruction stream and
if the performance interrupt hits, restart the calibration.

The calibration happens not just once, but on every migration, and
currently, I believe, on every VCPU switch. Even if we reduce the
number of calibrations to the bare minimum and rule out SMIs and NMIs,
there will still be variation due to factors beyond our control because
of the unpredictable nature of cache and instruction issue.

However, X86_FEATURE_NONSTOP_TRULY_RELIABLE_TSC_HONESTLY does imply one
key feature which the code is missing today: on SMP VMs, the
calibration of kvmclock needs to be done only once, and the clock can
then be used for all VCPUs. That, I think, stops Glauber's bug from
appearing on the server side.

I will spin that into my web of patches and send the cocoon out sometime
this evening.

Zach


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