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SubjectRe: [PATCH v3] vfio/mdev: Check globally for duplicate devices
On Fri, 18 May 2018 12:34:03 +0530
Kirti Wankhede <> wrote:

> On 5/18/2018 3:07 AM, Alex Williamson wrote:
> > On Fri, 18 May 2018 01:56:50 +0530
> > Kirti Wankhede <> wrote:
> >
> >> On 5/17/2018 9:50 PM, Alex Williamson wrote:
> >>> On Thu, 17 May 2018 21:25:22 +0530
> >>> Kirti Wankhede <> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> On 5/17/2018 1:39 PM, Cornelia Huck wrote:
> >>>>> On Wed, 16 May 2018 21:30:19 -0600
> >>>>> Alex Williamson <> wrote:
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> When we create an mdev device, we check for duplicates against the
> >>>>>> parent device and return -EEXIST if found, but the mdev device
> >>>>>> namespace is global since we'll link all devices from the bus. We do
> >>>>>> catch this later in sysfs_do_create_link_sd() to return -EEXIST, but
> >>>>>> with it comes a kernel warning and stack trace for trying to create
> >>>>>> duplicate sysfs links, which makes it an undesirable response.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Therefore we should really be looking for duplicates across all mdev
> >>>>>> parent devices, or as implemented here, against our mdev device list.
> >>>>>> Using mdev_list to prevent duplicates means that we can remove
> >>>>>> mdev_parent.lock, but in order not to serialize mdev device creation
> >>>>>> and removal globally, we add which allows UUIDs to
> >>>>>> be reserved such that we can drop the mdev_list_lock before the mdev
> >>>>>> device is fully in place.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> NB. there was never intended to be any serialization guarantee
> >>>>>> provided by the mdev core with respect to creation and removal of mdev
> >>>>>> devices, mdev_parent.lock provided this only as a side-effect of the
> >>>>>> implementation for locking the namespace per parent. That
> >>>>>> serialization is now removed.
> >>>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> mdev_parent.lock is to serialize create and remove of that mdev device,
> >>>> that handles race condition that Cornelia mentioned below.
> >>>
> >>> Previously it was stated:
> >>>
> >>> On Thu, 17 May 2018 01:01:40 +0530
> >>> Kirti Wankhede <> wrote:
> >>>> Here lock is not for create/remove routines of vendor driver, its about
> >>>> mdev device creation and device registration, which is a common code
> >>>> path, and so is part of mdev core module.
> >>>
> >>> So the race condition was handled previously, but as a side-effect of
> >>> protecting the namespace, aiui. I'm trying to state above that the
> >>> serialization of create/remove was never intended as a guarantee
> >>> provided to mdev vendor drivers. I don't see that there's a need to
> >>> protect "mdev device creation and device registration" beyond conflicts
> >>> in the UUID namespace, which is done here. Are there others?
> >>>
> >>
> >> Sorry not being elaborative in my earlier response to
> >>
> >>> If we can
> >>> show that vendor drivers handle the create/remove paths themselves,
> >>> perhaps we can refine the locking granularity.
> >>
> >> mdev_device_create() function does :
> >> - create mdev device
> >> - register device
> >> - call vendor driver->create
> >> - create sysfs files.
> >>
> >> mdev_device_remove() removes sysfs files, unregister device and delete
> >> device.
> >>
> >> There is common code in mdev_device_create() and mdev_device_remove()
> >> independent of what vendor driver does in its create()/remove()
> >> callback. Moving this code to each vendor driver to handle create/remove
> >> themselves doesn't make sense to me.
> >
> > I don't see where anyone is suggesting that, I'm not.
> >
> >> mdev_parent.lock here does take care of race conditions that could occur
> >> during mdev device creation and deletion in this common code path.
> >
> > Exactly what races in the common code path is mdev_parent.lock
> > preventing? mdev_device_create() calls:
> >
> > device_register()
> > mdev_device_create_ops()
> > parent->ops->create()
> > sysfs_create_groups()
> > mdev_create_sysfs_files()
> > sysfs_create_files()
> > sysfs_create_link()
> > sysfs_create_link()
> >
> > mdev_parent.lock is certainly not serializing all calls across the
> > entire kernel to device_register and sysfs_create_{groups,files,link}
> > so what is it protecting other than serializing parent->ops->create()?
> > Locks protect data, not code. The data we're protecting is the shared
> > mdev_list, there is no shared data once mdev_device_create() has its
> > mdev_device with uuid reservation placed into that list.
> >

Thank you for enumerating these points below.

> This lock prevents race condition that could occur due to sysfs entries
> 1. between write on 'create' and 'remove' sysfs file of mdev device
> As per current code without lock, mdev_create_sysfs_files() creates
> 'remove' sysfs, but before adding this mdev device to mdev_list, if
> 'remove' is called, that would return -ENODEV even if the device is seen
> in sysfs

mdev_parent.lock doesn't play a factor here. As it exists today, the
sysfs remove attribute is added during mdev_device_create() while
holding mdev_parent.lock, but only after releasing that lock is the
mdev_device added to mdev_list. mdev_device_remove() only uses the
mdev_list, so there exists a gap where the remove attribute is visible
to userspace, but a write to it will return -ENODEV. Let's not fool
ourselves that the current code is bulletproof here, we're debating
whether it's more reasonable to return -ENODEV or -EAGAIN in the gap
between the sysfs remove attribute being created and the completion of
mdev_device_create(). Personally I think -EAGAIN makes more sense,
which is why I chose to separate it from the -ENODEV return.

Additionally, we can consider the write on 'remove' and write on
'remove' case. A second writer to the remove attribute would today see
-ENODEV, which is incorrect as the device again clearly does exist.
Furthermore if mdev_device_remove_ops() fails, the mdev_device can be
re-added to the mdev_list, so a subsequent remove could work.
Effectively the device disappears and comes back according to the
remove attribute while in my proposal the user would see a much more
consistent device status, -EAGAIN if the user is racing another
remove, allowing the device to return to "found" should
mdev_device_remove_ops() fail. Again, I this makes more sense to me
than the existing behavior.

> 2. between write on 'remove' and 'create' sysfs file
> If 'remove' of a device is in progress (device is removed from
> mdev_list but sysfs entries are not yet removed) and again 'create' of
> same device with same parent is called, will hit duplicate entries
> error for sysfs.

This is a good point, but the fix is trivial, move the list_del to

> 3. between multiple writes on 'create' with same uuid
> current code doesn't handle the case you are fixing here, if same uuid
> is used to create mdev device on different parents.
> Your change handles #1 and #3, but still there is a small gap for #2.
> Even its a very small gap, but if such conditions are it in production
> environment, it becomes difficult to debug.

Fixed trivially and arguably better than existing code as the namespace
is protected through the very end of the lifecycle of the mdev_device.

> >> What is the urge to remove mdev_parent.lock if that handles all race
> >> conditions without bothering user to handle -EAGAIN?
> >
> > Can you say why -EAGAIN is undesirable? Note that the user is only
> > going to see this error if they attempt to remove the device in the
> > minuscule gap between the sysfs remove file being created and the
> > completion of the write to the create sysfs file. It seems like you're
> > asking that I decrease the locking granularity, but not too much
> > because mdev_parent.lock protects "things". If the -EAGAIN is really
> > so terrible, we can avoid it by spinning until the mdev_device is
> > either not found in the list or becomes active, we don't need
> > mdev_parent.lock to solve that, but I don't think that's the best
> > solution and there's no concrete statement to back -EAGAIN being a
> > problem.
> Does libvirt handles -EAGAIN error case? I don't know, may be someone
> from libvirt can comment.

Is this even a valid question given the revelation above? Current code
has a gap where the user can access remove and see -ENODEV. The
proposed code has a gap where the user can access remove and see
-EAGAIN. Either case requires that the user is calling remove prior to
the device creation being completed, which suggests that userspace
already has multiple processing stepping on each other. I don't think
libvirt does this, nor do I think we need to be particularly amenable
such user code, though I do think the -EAGAIN error is more consistent
with the actual device state. Thanks,


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