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-The x86 kvm shadow mmu
-======================
-
-The mmu (in arch/x86/kvm, files mmu.[ch] and paging_tmpl.h) is responsible
-for presenting a standard x86 mmu to the guest, while translating guest
-physical addresses to host physical addresses.
-
-The mmu code attempts to satisfy the following requirements:
-
-- correctness: the guest should not be able to determine that it is running
- on an emulated mmu except for timing (we attempt to comply
- with the specification, not emulate the characteristics of
- a particular implementation such as tlb size)
-- security: the guest must not be able to touch host memory not assigned
- to it
-- performance: minimize the performance penalty imposed by the mmu
-- scaling: need to scale to large memory and large vcpu guests
-- hardware: support the full range of x86 virtualization hardware
-- integration: Linux memory management code must be in control of guest memory
- so that swapping, page migration, page merging, transparent
- hugepages, and similar features work without change
-- dirty tracking: report writes to guest memory to enable live migration
- and framebuffer-based displays
-- footprint: keep the amount of pinned kernel memory low (most memory
- should be shrinkable)
-- reliability: avoid multipage or GFP_ATOMIC allocations
-
-Acronyms
-========
-
-pfn host page frame number
-hpa host physical address
-hva host virtual address
-gfn guest frame number
-gpa guest physical address
-gva guest virtual address
-ngpa nested guest physical address
-ngva nested guest virtual address
-pte page table entry (used also to refer generically to paging structure
- entries)
-gpte guest pte (referring to gfns)
-spte shadow pte (referring to pfns)
-tdp two dimensional paging (vendor neutral term for NPT and EPT)
-
-Virtual and real hardware supported
-===================================
-
-The mmu supports first-generation mmu hardware, which allows an atomic switch
-of the current paging mode and cr3 during guest entry, as well as
-two-dimensional paging (AMD's NPT and Intel's EPT). The emulated hardware
-it exposes is the traditional 2/3/4 level x86 mmu, with support for global
-pages, pae, pse, pse36, cr0.wp, and 1GB pages. Work is in progress to support
-exposing NPT capable hardware on NPT capable hosts.
-
-Translation
-===========
-
-The primary job of the mmu is to program the processor's mmu to translate
-addresses for the guest. Different translations are required at different
-times:
-
-- when guest paging is disabled, we translate guest physical addresses to
- host physical addresses (gpa->hpa)
-- when guest paging is enabled, we translate guest virtual addresses, to
- guest physical addresses, to host physical addresses (gva->gpa->hpa)
-- when the guest launches a guest of its own, we translate nested guest
- virtual addresses, to nested guest physical addresses, to guest physical
- addresses, to host physical addresses (ngva->ngpa->gpa->hpa)
-
-The primary challenge is to encode between 1 and 3 translations into hardware
-that support only 1 (traditional) and 2 (tdp) translations. When the
-number of required translations matches the hardware, the mmu operates in
-direct mode; otherwise it operates in shadow mode (see below).
-
-Memory
-======
-
-Guest memory (gpa) is part of the user address space of the process that is
-using kvm. Userspace defines the translation between guest addresses and user
-addresses (gpa->hva); note that two gpas may alias to the same hva, but not
-vice versa.
-
-These hvas may be backed using any method available to the host: anonymous
-memory, file backed memory, and device memory. Memory might be paged by the
-host at any time.
-
-Events
-======
-
-The mmu is driven by events, some from the guest, some from the host.
-
-Guest generated events:
-- writes to control registers (especially cr3)
-- invlpg/invlpga instruction execution
-- access to missing or protected translations
-
-Host generated events:
-- changes in the gpa->hpa translation (either through gpa->hva changes or
- through hva->hpa changes)
-- memory pressure (the shrinker)
-
-Shadow pages
-============
-
-The principal data structure is the shadow page, 'struct kvm_mmu_page'. A
-shadow page contains 512 sptes, which can be either leaf or nonleaf sptes. A
-shadow page may contain a mix of leaf and nonleaf sptes.
-
-A nonleaf spte allows the hardware mmu to reach the leaf pages and
-is not related to a translation directly. It points to other shadow pages.
-
-A leaf spte corresponds to either one or two translations encoded into
-one paging structure entry. These are always the lowest level of the
-translation stack, with optional higher level translations left to NPT/EPT.
-Leaf ptes point at guest pages.
-
-The following table shows translations encoded by leaf ptes, with higher-level
-translations in parentheses:
-
- Non-nested guests:
- nonpaging: gpa->hpa
- paging: gva->gpa->hpa
- paging, tdp: (gva->)gpa->hpa
- Nested guests:
- non-tdp: ngva->gpa->hpa (*)
- tdp: (ngva->)ngpa->gpa->hpa
-
-(*) the guest hypervisor will encode the ngva->gpa translation into its page
- tables if npt is not present
-
-Shadow pages contain the following information:
- role.level:
- The level in the shadow paging hierarchy that this shadow page belongs to.
- 1=4k sptes, 2=2M sptes, 3=1G sptes, etc.
- role.direct:
- If set, leaf sptes reachable from this page are for a linear range.
- Examples include real mode translation, large guest pages backed by small
- host pages, and gpa->hpa translations when NPT or EPT is active.
- The linear range starts at (gfn << PAGE_SHIFT) and its size is determined
- by role.level (2MB for first level, 1GB for second level, 0.5TB for third
- level, 256TB for fourth level)
- If clear, this page corresponds to a guest page table denoted by the gfn
- field.
- role.quadrant:
- When role.cr4_pae=0, the guest uses 32-bit gptes while the host uses 64-bit
- sptes. That means a guest page table contains more ptes than the host,
- so multiple shadow pages are needed to shadow one guest page.
- For first-level shadow pages, role.quadrant can be 0 or 1 and denotes the
- first or second 512-gpte block in the guest page table. For second-level
- page tables, each 32-bit gpte is converted to two 64-bit sptes
- (since each first-level guest page is shadowed by two first-level
- shadow pages) so role.quadrant takes values in the range 0..3. Each
- quadrant maps 1GB virtual address space.
- role.access:
- Inherited guest access permissions in the form uwx. Note execute
- permission is positive, not negative.
- role.invalid:
- The page is invalid and should not be used. It is a root page that is
- currently pinned (by a cpu hardware register pointing to it); once it is
- unpinned it will be destroyed.
- role.cr4_pae:
- Contains the value of cr4.pae for which the page is valid (e.g. whether
- 32-bit or 64-bit gptes are in use).
- role.nxe:
- Contains the value of efer.nxe for which the page is valid.
- role.cr0_wp:
- Contains the value of cr0.wp for which the page is valid.
- role.smep_andnot_wp:
- Contains the value of cr4.smep && !cr0.wp for which the page is valid
- (pages for which this is true are different from other pages; see the
- treatment of cr0.wp=0 below).
- gfn:
- Either the guest page table containing the translations shadowed by this
- page, or the base page frame for linear translations. See role.direct.
- spt:
- A pageful of 64-bit sptes containing the translations for this page.
- Accessed by both kvm and hardware.
- The page pointed to by spt will have its page->private pointing back
- at the shadow page structure.
- sptes in spt point either at guest pages, or at lower-level shadow pages.
- Specifically, if sp1 and sp2 are shadow pages, then sp1->spt[n] may point
- at __pa(sp2->spt). sp2 will point back at sp1 through parent_pte.
- The spt array forms a DAG structure with the shadow page as a node, and
- guest pages as leaves.
- gfns:
- An array of 512 guest frame numbers, one for each present pte. Used to
- perform a reverse map from a pte to a gfn. When role.direct is set, any
- element of this array can be calculated from the gfn field when used, in
- this case, the array of gfns is not allocated. See role.direct and gfn.
- slot_bitmap:
- A bitmap containing one bit per memory slot. If the page contains a pte
- mapping a page from memory slot n, then bit n of slot_bitmap will be set
- (if a page is aliased among several slots, then it is not guaranteed that
- all slots will be marked).
- Used during dirty logging to avoid scanning a shadow page if none if its
- pages need tracking.
- root_count:
- A counter keeping track of how many hardware registers (guest cr3 or
- pdptrs) are now pointing at the page. While this counter is nonzero, the
- page cannot be destroyed. See role.invalid.
- multimapped:
- Whether there exist multiple sptes pointing at this page.
- parent_pte/parent_ptes:
- If multimapped is zero, parent_pte points at the single spte that points at
- this page's spt. Otherwise, parent_ptes points at a data structure
- with a list of parent_ptes.
- unsync:
- If true, then the translations in this page may not match the guest's
- translation. This is equivalent to the state of the tlb when a pte is
- changed but before the tlb entry is flushed. Accordingly, unsync ptes
- are synchronized when the guest executes invlpg or flushes its tlb by
- other means. Valid for leaf pages.
- unsync_children:
- How many sptes in the page point at pages that are unsync (or have
- unsynchronized children).
- unsync_child_bitmap:
- A bitmap indicating which sptes in spt point (directly or indirectly) at
- pages that may be unsynchronized. Used to quickly locate all unsychronized
- pages reachable from a given page.
-
-Reverse map
-===========
-
-The mmu maintains a reverse mapping whereby all ptes mapping a page can be
-reached given its gfn. This is used, for example, when swapping out a page.
-
-Synchronized and unsynchronized pages
-=====================================
-
-The guest uses two events to synchronize its tlb and page tables: tlb flushes
-and page invalidations (invlpg).
-
-A tlb flush means that we need to synchronize all sptes reachable from the
-guest's cr3. This is expensive, so we keep all guest page tables write
-protected, and synchronize sptes to gptes when a gpte is written.
-
-A special case is when a guest page table is reachable from the current
-guest cr3. In this case, the guest is obliged to issue an invlpg instruction
-before using the translation. We take advantage of that by removing write
-protection from the guest page, and allowing the guest to modify it freely.
-We synchronize modified gptes when the guest invokes invlpg. This reduces
-the amount of emulation we have to do when the guest modifies multiple gptes,
-or when the a guest page is no longer used as a page table and is used for
-random guest data.
-
-As a side effect we have to resynchronize all reachable unsynchronized shadow
-pages on a tlb flush.
-
-
-Reaction to events
-==================
-
-- guest page fault (or npt page fault, or ept violation)
-
-This is the most complicated event. The cause of a page fault can be:
-
- - a true guest fault (the guest translation won't allow the access) (*)
- - access to a missing translation
- - access to a protected translation
- - when logging dirty pages, memory is write protected
- - synchronized shadow pages are write protected (*)
- - access to untranslatable memory (mmio)
-
- (*) not applicable in direct mode
-
-Handling a page fault is performed as follows:
-
- - if needed, walk the guest page tables to determine the guest translation
- (gva->gpa or ngpa->gpa)
- - if permissions are insufficient, reflect the fault back to the guest
- - determine the host page
- - if this is an mmio request, there is no host page; call the emulator
- to emulate the instruction instead
- - walk the shadow page table to find the spte for the translation,
- instantiating missing intermediate page tables as necessary
- - try to unsynchronize the page
- - if successful, we can let the guest continue and modify the gpte
- - emulate the instruction
- - if failed, unshadow the page and let the guest continue
- - update any translations that were modified by the instruction
-
-invlpg handling:
-
- - walk the shadow page hierarchy and drop affected translations
- - try to reinstantiate the indicated translation in the hope that the
- guest will use it in the near future
-
-Guest control register updates:
-
-- mov to cr3
- - look up new shadow roots
- - synchronize newly reachable shadow pages
-
-- mov to cr0/cr4/efer
- - set up mmu context for new paging mode
- - look up new shadow roots
- - synchronize newly reachable shadow pages
-
-Host translation updates:
-
- - mmu notifier called with updated hva
- - look up affected sptes through reverse map
- - drop (or update) translations
-
-Emulating cr0.wp
-================
-
-If tdp is not enabled, the host must keep cr0.wp=1 so page write protection
-works for the guest kernel, not guest guest userspace. When the guest
-cr0.wp=1, this does not present a problem. However when the guest cr0.wp=0,
-we cannot map the permissions for gpte.u=1, gpte.w=0 to any spte (the
-semantics require allowing any guest kernel access plus user read access).
-
-We handle this by mapping the permissions to two possible sptes, depending
-on fault type:
-
-- kernel write fault: spte.u=0, spte.w=1 (allows full kernel access,
- disallows user access)
-- read fault: spte.u=1, spte.w=0 (allows full read access, disallows kernel
- write access)
-
-(user write faults generate a #PF)
-
-In the first case there is an additional complication if CR4.SMEP is
-enabled: since we've turned the page into a kernel page, the kernel may now
-execute it. We handle this by also setting spte.nx. If we get a user
-fetch or read fault, we'll change spte.u=1 and spte.nx=gpte.nx back.
-
-To prevent an spte that was converted into a kernel page with cr0.wp=0
-from being written by the kernel after cr0.wp has changed to 1, we make
-the value of cr0.wp part of the page role. This means that an spte created
-with one value of cr0.wp cannot be used when cr0.wp has a different value -
-it will simply be missed by the shadow page lookup code. A similar issue
-exists when an spte created with cr0.wp=0 and cr4.smep=0 is used after
-changing cr4.smep to 1. To avoid this, the value of !cr0.wp && cr4.smep
-is also made a part of the page role.
-
-Large pages
-===========
-
-The mmu supports all combinations of large and small guest and host pages.
-Supported page sizes include 4k, 2M, 4M, and 1G. 4M pages are treated as
-two separate 2M pages, on both guest and host, since the mmu always uses PAE
-paging.
-
-To instantiate a large spte, four constraints must be satisfied:
-
-- the spte must point to a large host page
-- the guest pte must be a large pte of at least equivalent size (if tdp is
- enabled, there is no guest pte and this condition is satisfied)
-- if the spte will be writeable, the large page frame may not overlap any
- write-protected pages
-- the guest page must be wholly contained by a single memory slot
-
-To check the last two conditions, the mmu maintains a ->write_count set of
-arrays for each memory slot and large page size. Every write protected page
-causes its write_count to be incremented, thus preventing instantiation of
-a large spte. The frames at the end of an unaligned memory slot have
-artificially inflated ->write_counts so they can never be instantiated.
-
-Further reading
-===============
-
-- NPT presentation from KVM Forum 2008
- http://www.linux-kvm.org/wiki/images/c/c8/KvmForum2008%24kdf2008_21.pdf
-