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SubjectRe: [RFC PATCH v3] Fix: clocksource watchdog marks TSC unstable on guest VM
On Tue, Sep 08, 2015 at 05:08:03PM +0200, Thomas Gleixner wrote:
> On Tue, 8 Sep 2015, Mathieu Desnoyers wrote:
> > Introduce WATCHDOG_RETRY to bound the number of retry (in the
> > unlikely event of a bogus clock source for wdnow). If the
> > number of retry has been reached, disable the watchdog timer.
> This does not make any sense at all. Why would the clocksource be
> bogus? I rather say, that the whole idea of trying to watchdog the TSC
> in a VM is bogus.
> There is no guarantee, that the readout of the TSC and the watchdog is
> not disturbed by VM scheduling. Aside of that, the HPET emulation goes
> all the way back into qemu user land and the implementation itself
> does not make me more confident. Be happy that we don't support 64bit
> HPET in the kernel as that emulation code is completely broken.
> I really have to ask the question WHY we actually do this. There is
> absolutely no point at all.
> The TSC watchdog is there to catch a few issues with the TSC
> 1) Frequency changing behind the kernels back
> 2) SMM driven power safe state 'features' which cause the TSC to
> stop
> 3) SMM fiddling with the TSC
> 4) TSC drifting apart on multi socket systems
> #1 Is completely irrelevant for KVM as all machines which have
> hardware virtualization have a frequency constant TSC
> #2 Is irrelevant for KVM as well, because the machine does not go
> into deep idle states while the guest is running.
> #3/#4 That are the only relevant issues, but there is absolutely no
> need to do this detection in the guest.
> We already have a TSC sanity check on the host. So instead of adding
> horrible hackery and magic detection, shutoff, retry mechanisms, we
> can simply let the guest know, that the TSC has been buggered.
> On paravirt kernels we can do that today and AFAICT the
> pvclock/kvmclock code has enough magic to deal with all the oddities
> already.
> For non paravirt kernels which can read the TSC directly, we'd need a
> way to transport that information. A simple mechanism would be to
> query an emulated MSR from the watchdog which tells the guest the
> state of affairs on the host side. That would be a sensible and
> minimal invasive change on both host and guests.

This will require every hypervisor supports the MSR, so not a solution
we can expect immediately.

I'm wondering why we can't just make the watchdog better to detect this
watchdog wrap. It can happen in physical machine as I said before, but I
can't find a simple way to trigger it, so it's not very convincing. But
the watchdog doesn't work for specific environment (for exmaple, a bogus
hardware doesn't responsond for some time) for sure, we shouldn't assume
the world is perfect.


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