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-Hollis Blanchard <>
-15 Apr 2008
-Various notes on the implementation of KVM for PowerPC 440:
-To enforce isolation, host userspace, guest kernel, and guest userspace all
-run at user privilege level. Only the host kernel runs in supervisor mode.
-Executing privileged instructions in the guest traps into KVM (in the host
-kernel), where we decode and emulate them. Through this technique, unmodified
-440 Linux kernels can be run (slowly) as guests. Future performance work will
-focus on reducing the overhead and frequency of these traps.
-The usual code flow is started from userspace invoking an "run" ioctl, which
-causes KVM to switch into guest context. We use IVPR to hijack the host
-interrupt vectors while running the guest, which allows us to direct all
-interrupts to kvmppc_handle_interrupt(). At this point, we could either
-- handle the interrupt completely (e.g. emulate "mtspr SPRG0"), or
-- let the host interrupt handler run (e.g. when the decrementer fires), or
-- return to host userspace (e.g. when the guest performs device MMIO)
-Address spaces: We take advantage of the fact that Linux doesn't use the AS=1
-address space (in host or guest), which gives us virtual address space to use
-for guest mappings. While the guest is running, the host kernel remains mapped
-in AS=0, but the guest can only use AS=1 mappings.
-TLB entries: The TLB entries covering the host linear mapping remain
-present while running the guest. This reduces the overhead of lightweight
-exits, which are handled by KVM running in the host kernel. We keep three
-copies of the TLB:
- - guest TLB: contents of the TLB as the guest sees it
- - shadow TLB: the TLB that is actually in hardware while guest is running
- - host TLB: to restore TLB state when context switching guest -> host
-When a TLB miss occurs because a mapping was not present in the shadow TLB,
-but was present in the guest TLB, KVM handles the fault without invoking the
-guest. Large guest pages are backed by multiple 4KB shadow pages through this
-IO: MMIO and DCR accesses are emulated by userspace. We use virtio for network
-and block IO, so those drivers must be enabled in the guest. It's possible
-that some qemu device emulation (e.g. e1000 or rtl8139) may also work with
-little effort.