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From: Marcelo Tosatti <>
To: Alex Belits <>
Cc: Christoph Lameter <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	Juri Lelli <>,
	Daniel Bristot de Oliveira <>
Subject: Re: [RFC] tentative prctl task isolation interface
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2021 12:51:41 -0300	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <20210121155141.GA11373@fuller.cnet> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

Hi Alex,

On Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 10:35:14AM -0800, Alex Belits wrote:
> On 1/15/21 05:24, Christoph Lameter wrote:
> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> > On Thu, 14 Jan 2021, Marcelo Tosatti wrote:
> > 
> > > > How does one do a oneshot flush of OS activities?
> > > 
> > >          ret = prctl(PR_TASK_ISOLATION_REQUEST, ISOL_F_QUIESCE, 0, 0, 0);
> > >          if (ret == -1) {
> > >                  perror("prctl PR_TASK_ISOLATION_REQUEST");
> > >                  exit(0);
> > >          }
> > > 
> > > > 
> > > > I.e. I have a polling loop over numerous shared and I/o devices in user
> > > > space and I want to make sure that the system is quite before I enter the
> > > > loop.
> > > 
> > > You could configure things in two ways: with syscalls allowed or not.
> > 
> > Well syscalls that do not cause deferred processing like getting the time
> > or determining the current cpu should be ok to use.
> Some of those syscalls go through vdso, and don't enter the kernel --
> nothing specific is necessary to allow them, and it would be pointless and
> difficult to prevent them.
> For syscalls that enter the kernel, it's often difficult to predict, if they
> will or won't cause deferred processing, so I am afraid, it won't be
> possible to provide a "safe" class of syscalls for this purpose and not end
> up with something minimal like reading /sys and /proc. Right now isolation
> only "allows" syscalls that exit isolation.

Christoph wrote:

"> Features that I think may be needed:
> F_ISOL_QUIESCE                -> quiet down now but allow all OS activities. OS
>                       activites reset flag
> F_ISOL_BAREMETAL_HARD -> No OS interruptions. Fault on syscalls that
>                       require such actions in the future.
> F_ISOL_BAREMETAL_WARN -> Similar. Create a warning in the syslog when OS
>                               services require delayed processing etc
>                               but continue while resetting the flag.

It seems the only difference between HARD and WARN (lets call it SOFT) 
would be whether a notification is sent to userspace.

The definition 

"F_ISOL_BAREMETAL_HARD -> No OS interruptions. Fault on syscalls that
                       require such actions in the future."

fails in the static_key_enable case: Alex's idea is to queue the i-cache
flush if the remote task/cpu is in isolated mode (and perform the flush 
when entering the kernel).

So even if userspace uses syscalls that do not require delayed
processing, there are events which are out of control of the
application and might require it.

So lets assume the application performs a number of syscalls on a
given time critical codepath. 

Either the system is configured so that 
the number/frequency of static_key_enable's is limited, or the cost of
i-cache flushes must be accounted on that critical codepath.

Anyway, trying to improve Christoph's definition:

F_ISOL_QUIESCE                -> flush any pending operations that might cause
				 the CPU to be interrupted (ex: free's
				 per-CPU queues, sync MM statistics
				 counters, etc).

F_ISOL_ISOLATE		      -> inform the kernel that userspace is
				 entering isolated mode (see description
				 below on "ISOLATION MODES").

F_ISOL_UNISOLATE              -> inform the kernel that userspace is
				 leaving isolated mode.

F_ISOL_NOTIFY		      -> notification mode of isolation breakage

Isolation modes:

There are two main types of isolation modes: 

- SOFT mode: does not prevent activities which might generate interruptions
(such as CPU hotplug).

- HARD mode: prevents all blockable activities that might generate interruptions.
Administrators can override this via /sys.


Notification mode of isolation breakage can be configured as follows:

- None (default): No notification is performed by the kernel on isolation

- Syslog: Isolation breakage is reported to syslog. 

(new modes can be added, for example signals).

A new feature can be added to disallow syscalls (by default syscalls
are enabled, with reporting of pending activities that might cause
an interruption in a VDSO).

How about that?

> F_ISOL_BAREMETAL_HARD -> No OS interruptions. Fault on syscalls that
>                       require such actions in the future.
> F_ISOL_BAREMETAL_WARN -> Similar. Create a warning in the syslog when OS
>                               services require delayed processing etc
>                               but continue while resetting the flag.

> It may be possible to set up a filter by the system (allowing few safe
> things like reading /proc) and let the user expand it by adding combinations
> of syscall / file descriptor. If some device is known to process operations
> safely, user can open it and mark file descriptor as allowed, say, for
> reading.

Makes sense.

> > And I already said that I want the system to quiet down and allow system
> > calls. Some indication that deferred actions have occurred may be useful
> > by f.e. resetting the flag.

Do you think reporting activities that add overhead (the i-cache flush
in mind) to syscalls separately in the VDSO?

> I think, it should be possible to process a syscall, and if any deferred
> action occurred, exit isolation on return to userspace. 

On the interface we are creating:

	ret = syscall()...
	if (vdso.pending_activity) {

Why would it be necessary to exit isolation on return to userspace

> Then there is a
> question, how userspace should be notified about isolation being lost.
> Normally this happens with a signal, but that is useful if we want syscall
> to fail with EINTR, not to succeed. Make sure that signal arrives after
> successful syscall return but before deferred action to happen? Sounds
> convoluted. Maybe reflecting isolation status in vdso and having the user
> check it there will be a good solution.

Why can't userspace enable/disable isolation mode (and the kernel only
reports it) ?

I fail to see why the order of the events "isolated mode disablement"
and "return to userspace" is critical.

> When I worked on my implementation I have encountered both a problem of
> interaction with the rest of system from isolated task (at least simple
> things as logging) and a problem of handling enter/exit from isolation on a
> system when it's possible for a task to be interrupted early after entering
> isolation due to various events that were still in progress on other CPUs.
> I ended up implementing a manager/helper task that talks to tasks over a
> socket (when they are not isolated) and over ring buffers in shared memory
> (when they are isolated). While the current implementation is rather
> limited, the intention is to delegate to it everything that isolated task
> either can't do at all (like, writing logs) or that it would be cumbersome
> to implement (like monitoring the state of task, determining presence of
> deferred work after the task returned to userspace), etc.

Interesting. Are you considering opensourcing such library? Seems like a
generic problem.

> It would be great if the complexity and amount of functionality of that
> manager/helper task can be reduced, however I believe that having such a
> task is a legitimate way of implementing things that otherwise would require
> additional functionality in kernel.
> > 
> > > 1) Add a new isolation feature ISOL_F_BLOCK_SYSCALLS (to block certain
> > > syscalls) along with ISOL_F_SETUP_NOTIF (to notify upon isolation
> > > breaking):
> > 
> > Well come up with a use case for that .... I know mine. What you propose
> > could be  useful for debugging for me but I would prefer the quiet down
> > approach where I determine when I use some syscalls or not and will deal
> > with the consequences.
> For my purposes breaking isolation on syscalls and notifications about
> isolation breaking is a very useful approach -- this is why I kept it
> exactly as it was in the original implementation by Chris Metcalf.
> In applications that I intend to use isolation for, the primary concern is
> consistent time for running code in userspace, so syscalls should be only
> issued when the task is specifically not in isolated mode. If the program
> issues a syscall by mistake (and that may happen when some libraries are
> used, or thread synchronization primitives are kept from non-isolated
> version of the program, even though isolated tasks are not supposed to use
> those), it means not only that deferred work may cause delay in the future,
> but also that there is an additional time to be spent in kernel. This should
> be immediately visible to the developer, and the best way to do it is by
> breaking isolation on syscall immediately.

I guess you can do that by hooking a BPF program to cpu->is_isolated ==
true (for development) and syscall entry.

> > > 
> > > > Features that I think may be needed:
> > > > 
> > > > F_ISOL_QUIESCE		-> quiet down now but allow all OS activities. OS
> > > > 			activites reset flag
> > > > 
> > > > F_ISOL_BAREMETAL_HARD	-> No OS interruptions. Fault on syscalls that
> > > > 			require such actions in the future.
> > > 
> > > Question: why BAREMETAL ?
> > 
> > To disinguish it from "Realtime". We want the processor for ourselves
> > without anything else running on it.
> > 
> > > Two comments:
> > > 
> > > 1) HARD mode could also block activities from different CPUs that can
> > > interrupt this isolated CPU (for example CPU hotplug, or increasing
> > > per-CPU trace buffer size).
> > 
> > Blocking? The app should fail if any deferred actions are triggered as a
> > result of syscalls. It would give a warning with _WARN
> There are many supposedly innocent things, nowhere at the scale of CPU
> hotplug, that happen in a system and result in synchronization implemented
> as an IPI to every online CPU. We should consider them to be an ordinary
> occurrence, so there is a choice:
> 1. Ignore them completely and allow them in isolated mode. This will delay
> userspace with no indication and no isolation breaking.
> 2. Allow them, and notify userspace afterwards (through vdso or through
> userspace helper/manager over shared memory). This may be useful in those
> rare situations when the consequences of delay can be mitigated afterwards.
> 3. Make them break isolation, with userspace being notified normally (ex:
> with a signal in the current implementation). I guess, can be used if
> somehow most of the causes will be eliminated.
> 4. Prevent them from reaching the target CPU and make sure that whatever
> synchronization they are intended to cause, will happen when intended target
> CPU will enter to kernel later. Since we may have to synchronize things like
> code modification, some of this synchronization has to happen very early on
> kernel entry.
> I am most interested in (4), so this is what was implemented in my version
> of the patch (and currently I am trying to achieve completeness and, if
> possible, elegance of the implementation).

Agree. (3) will be necessary as intermediate step. The proposed
improvement to Christoph's reply, in this thread, separates notification 
and syscall blockage. 

> I guess, if we want to add more controls, we can allow the user to choose
> either of those four options, or of a subset of them. In my opinion, if (4)
> will be available, and the only additional cost will be time for
> synchronization spent in breaking isolation procedure, there is not much
> need in the other three. Without (4) I don't think, the goal of providing
> consistent, interruption-free environment is achieved at all, so not
> implementing it would be very bad.


> > > 2) For a type of application it is the case that certain interruptions
> > > can be tolerated, as long as they do not cross certain thresholds.
> > > For example, one loses the flexibility to read/write MSRs
> > > on the isolated CPUs (including performance counters,
> > > RDT/MBM type MSRs, frequency/power statistics) by
> > > forcing a "no interruptions" mode.
> > 
> > Does reading these really cause deferred actions by the OS? AFAICT you
> > could map these into memory as well as read them without OS activities.
> Access to those is hardware/architecture-specific, and in many cases,
> indeed, there is no need to issue a syscall at all.
> However for many applications the model with a helper task performing
> interactions with OS on a different core and exchanging data over shared
> memory may be sufficient, and it will also provide clear separation between
> operations that do require consistent timing and those that don't.

I see.

> > "Interruptions that can be tolerated".... Well that is the wild west of
> > "realtime" where you can define how much of a time slice is "real" and how
> > much can be use by other processes. I do not think that any of that should
> > come into this API.
> > 
> To be honest, I have no idea, what can and can not be tolerated by
> applications other than what I am familiar with. Applications that I know,
> require no interruptions at all, so I want to implement that. I assume,
> someone already uses existing CPU isolation for the purpose of providing
> "nearly interrupt-less" environment.
> I can imaging something like a task of controlling a large slow-updating LED
> display by bit-banging a strictly timed long serial message representing a
> frame or frame update. If interrupted, it may, depending on the protocol,
> corrupt the state of a single LED or fail to update until the end of the
> screen, but the next start of message will reset the state, and everything
> will work until the next interrupt. Maybe there are more realistic or useful
> examples.

Agree that "no interruptions" as a goal makes most sense. 

Can "whitelist" certain interruptions if necessary (to handle the MSR
read case), if user desires.

  reply	other threads:[~2021-01-21 15:53 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 42+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2020-11-17 16:28 [PATCH] mm: introduce sysctl file to flush per-cpu vmstat statistics Marcelo Tosatti
2020-11-17 18:03 ` Matthew Wilcox
2020-11-17 19:06   ` Christopher Lameter
2020-11-17 19:09     ` Matthew Wilcox
2020-11-20 18:04       ` Christopher Lameter
2020-11-17 20:23     ` Marcelo Tosatti
2020-11-20 18:02       ` Marcelo Tosatti
2020-11-20 18:20       ` Christopher Lameter
2020-11-23 18:02         ` Marcelo Tosatti
2020-11-24 17:12         ` Vlastimil Babka
2020-11-24 19:52           ` Marcelo Tosatti
2020-11-27 15:48         ` Marcelo Tosatti
2020-11-28  3:49           ` [EXT] " Alex Belits
2020-11-30 18:18             ` Marcelo Tosatti
2020-11-30 18:29               ` Marcelo Tosatti
2020-12-03 22:47                 ` Alex Belits
2020-12-03 22:21               ` Alex Belits
2020-11-30  9:31           ` Christoph Lameter
2020-12-02 12:43             ` Marcelo Tosatti
2020-12-02 15:57             ` Thomas Gleixner
2020-12-02 17:43               ` Christoph Lameter
2020-12-03  3:17                 ` Thomas Gleixner
2020-12-07  8:08                   ` Christoph Lameter
2020-12-07 16:09                     ` Thomas Gleixner
2020-12-07 19:01                       ` Thomas Gleixner
2020-12-02 18:38               ` Marcelo Tosatti
2020-12-04  0:20                 ` Frederic Weisbecker
2020-12-04 13:31                   ` Marcelo Tosatti
2020-12-04  1:43               ` [EXT] " Alex Belits
2021-01-13 12:15                 ` [RFC] tentative prctl task isolation interface Marcelo Tosatti
2021-01-14  9:22                   ` Christoph Lameter
2021-01-14 19:34                     ` Marcelo Tosatti
2021-01-15 13:24                       ` Christoph Lameter
2021-01-15 18:35                         ` Alex Belits
2021-01-21 15:51                           ` Marcelo Tosatti [this message]
2021-01-21 16:20                             ` Marcelo Tosatti
2021-01-22 13:05                               ` Marcelo Tosatti
2021-02-01 10:48                             ` Christoph Lameter
2021-02-01 12:47                               ` Alex Belits
2021-02-01 18:20                               ` Marcelo Tosatti
2021-01-18 15:18                         ` Marcelo Tosatti
2020-11-24  5:02 ` [mm] e655d17ffa: BUG:using_smp_processor_id()in_preemptible kernel test robot

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