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SubjectRe: [PATCH 03/12] task_isolation: userspace hard isolation from kernel
On Wed, Mar 04, 2020 at 04:07:12PM +0000, Alex Belits wrote:
> The existing nohz_full mode is designed as a "soft" isolation mode
> that makes tradeoffs to minimize userspace interruptions while
> still attempting to avoid overheads in the kernel entry/exit path,
> to provide 100% kernel semantics, etc.
>
> However, some applications require a "hard" commitment from the
> kernel to avoid interruptions, in particular userspace device driver
> style applications, such as high-speed networking code.
>
> This change introduces a framework to allow applications
> to elect to have the "hard" semantics as needed, specifying
> prctl(PR_TASK_ISOLATION, PR_TASK_ISOLATION_ENABLE) to do so.
>
> The kernel must be built with the new TASK_ISOLATION Kconfig flag
> to enable this mode, and the kernel booted with an appropriate
> "isolcpus=nohz,domain,CPULIST" boot argument to enable
> nohz_full and isolcpus. The "task_isolation" state is then indicated
> by setting a new task struct field, task_isolation_flag, to the
> value passed by prctl(), and also setting a TIF_TASK_ISOLATION
> bit in the thread_info flags. When the kernel is returning to
> userspace from the prctl() call and sees TIF_TASK_ISOLATION set,
> it calls the new task_isolation_start() routine to arrange for
> the task to avoid being interrupted in the future.
>
> With interrupts disabled, task_isolation_start() ensures that kernel
> subsystems that might cause a future interrupt are quiesced. If it
> doesn't succeed, it adjusts the syscall return value to indicate that
> fact, and userspace can retry as desired. In addition to stopping
> the scheduler tick, the code takes any actions that might avoid
> a future interrupt to the core, such as a worker thread being
> scheduled that could be quiesced now (e.g. the vmstat worker)
> or a future IPI to the core to clean up some state that could be
> cleaned up now (e.g. the mm lru per-cpu cache).
>
> Once the task has returned to userspace after issuing the prctl(),
> if it enters the kernel again via system call, page fault, or any
> other exception or irq, the kernel will kill it with SIGKILL.
> In addition to sending a signal, the code supports a kernel
> command-line "task_isolation_debug" flag which causes a stack
> backtrace to be generated whenever a task loses isolation.
>
> To allow the state to be entered and exited, the syscall checking
> test ignores the prctl(PR_TASK_ISOLATION) syscall so that we can
> clear the bit again later, and ignores exit/exit_group to allow
> exiting the task without a pointless signal being delivered.
>
> The prctl() API allows for specifying a signal number to use instead
> of the default SIGKILL, to allow for catching the notification
> signal; for example, in a production environment, it might be
> helpful to log information to the application logging mechanism
> before exiting. Or, the signal handler might choose to reset the
> program counter back to the code segment intended to be run isolated
> via prctl() to continue execution.

Hi Alew,

I'm glad this patchset is being resurected.
Reading that changelog, I like the general idea and the direction.
The diff is a bit scary though but I'll check the patches in detail
in the upcoming days.

>
> In a number of cases we can tell on a remote cpu that we are
> going to be interrupting the cpu, e.g. via an IPI or a TLB flush.
> In that case we generate the diagnostic (and optional stack dump)
> on the remote core to be able to deliver better diagnostics.
> If the interrupt is not something caught by Linux (e.g. a
> hypervisor interrupt) we can also request a reschedule IPI to
> be sent to the remote core so it can be sure to generate a
> signal to notify the process.

I'm wondering if it's wise to run that on a guest at all :-)
Or we should consider any guest exit to the host as a
disturbance, we would then need some sort of paravirt
driver to notify that, etc... That doesn't sound appealing.

Thanks.

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