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-
- Timekeeping Virtualization for X86-Based Architectures
-
- Zachary Amsden <zamsden@redhat.com>
- Copyright (c) 2010, Red Hat. All rights reserved.
-
-1) Overview
-2) Timing Devices
-3) TSC Hardware
-4) Virtualization Problems
-
-=========================================================================
-
-1) Overview
-
-One of the most complicated parts of the X86 platform, and specifically,
-the virtualization of this platform is the plethora of timing devices available
-and the complexity of emulating those devices. In addition, virtualization of
-time introduces a new set of challenges because it introduces a multiplexed
-division of time beyond the control of the guest CPU.
-
-First, we will describe the various timekeeping hardware available, then
-present some of the problems which arise and solutions available, giving
-specific recommendations for certain classes of KVM guests.
-
-The purpose of this document is to collect data and information relevant to
-timekeeping which may be difficult to find elsewhere, specifically,
-information relevant to KVM and hardware-based virtualization.
-
-=========================================================================
-
-2) Timing Devices
-
-First we discuss the basic hardware devices available. TSC and the related
-KVM clock are special enough to warrant a full exposition and are described in
-the following section.
-
-2.1) i8254 - PIT
-
-One of the first timer devices available is the programmable interrupt timer,
-or PIT. The PIT has a fixed frequency 1.193182 MHz base clock and three
-channels which can be programmed to deliver periodic or one-shot interrupts.
-These three channels can be configured in different modes and have individual
-counters. Channel 1 and 2 were not available for general use in the original
-IBM PC, and historically were connected to control RAM refresh and the PC
-speaker. Now the PIT is typically integrated as part of an emulated chipset
-and a separate physical PIT is not used.
-
-The PIT uses I/O ports 0x40 - 0x43. Access to the 16-bit counters is done
-using single or multiple byte access to the I/O ports. There are 6 modes
-available, but not all modes are available to all timers, as only timer 2
-has a connected gate input, required for modes 1 and 5. The gate line is
-controlled by port 61h, bit 0, as illustrated in the following diagram.
-
- -------------- ----------------
-| | | |
-| 1.1932 MHz |---------->| CLOCK OUT | ---------> IRQ 0
-| Clock | | | |
- -------------- | +->| GATE TIMER 0 |
- | ----------------
- |
- | ----------------
- | | |
- |------>| CLOCK OUT | ---------> 66.3 KHZ DRAM
- | | | (aka /dev/null)
- | +->| GATE TIMER 1 |
- | ----------------
- |
- | ----------------
- | | |
- |------>| CLOCK OUT | ---------> Port 61h, bit 5
- | | |
-Port 61h, bit 0 ---------->| GATE TIMER 2 | \_.---- ____
- ---------------- _| )--|LPF|---Speaker
- / *---- \___/
-Port 61h, bit 1 -----------------------------------/
-
-The timer modes are now described.
-
-Mode 0: Single Timeout. This is a one-shot software timeout that counts down
- when the gate is high (always true for timers 0 and 1). When the count
- reaches zero, the output goes high.
-
-Mode 1: Triggered One-shot. The output is initially set high. When the gate
- line is set high, a countdown is initiated (which does not stop if the gate is
- lowered), during which the output is set low. When the count reaches zero,
- the output goes high.
-
-Mode 2: Rate Generator. The output is initially set high. When the countdown
- reaches 1, the output goes low for one count and then returns high. The value
- is reloaded and the countdown automatically resumes. If the gate line goes
- low, the count is halted. If the output is low when the gate is lowered, the
- output automatically goes high (this only affects timer 2).
-
-Mode 3: Square Wave. This generates a high / low square wave. The count
- determines the length of the pulse, which alternates between high and low
- when zero is reached. The count only proceeds when gate is high and is
- automatically reloaded on reaching zero. The count is decremented twice at
- each clock to generate a full high / low cycle at the full periodic rate.
- If the count is even, the clock remains high for N/2 counts and low for N/2
- counts; if the clock is odd, the clock is high for (N+1)/2 counts and low
- for (N-1)/2 counts. Only even values are latched by the counter, so odd
- values are not observed when reading. This is the intended mode for timer 2,
- which generates sine-like tones by low-pass filtering the square wave output.
-
-Mode 4: Software Strobe. After programming this mode and loading the counter,
- the output remains high until the counter reaches zero. Then the output
- goes low for 1 clock cycle and returns high. The counter is not reloaded.
- Counting only occurs when gate is high.
-
-Mode 5: Hardware Strobe. After programming and loading the counter, the
- output remains high. When the gate is raised, a countdown is initiated
- (which does not stop if the gate is lowered). When the counter reaches zero,
- the output goes low for 1 clock cycle and then returns high. The counter is
- not reloaded.
-
-In addition to normal binary counting, the PIT supports BCD counting. The
-command port, 0x43 is used to set the counter and mode for each of the three
-timers.
-
-PIT commands, issued to port 0x43, using the following bit encoding:
-
-Bit 7-4: Command (See table below)
-Bit 3-1: Mode (000 = Mode 0, 101 = Mode 5, 11X = undefined)
-Bit 0 : Binary (0) / BCD (1)
-
-Command table:
-
-0000 - Latch Timer 0 count for port 0x40
- sample and hold the count to be read in port 0x40;
- additional commands ignored until counter is read;
- mode bits ignored.
-
-0001 - Set Timer 0 LSB mode for port 0x40
- set timer to read LSB only and force MSB to zero;
- mode bits set timer mode
-
-0010 - Set Timer 0 MSB mode for port 0x40
- set timer to read MSB only and force LSB to zero;
- mode bits set timer mode
-
-0011 - Set Timer 0 16-bit mode for port 0x40
- set timer to read / write LSB first, then MSB;
- mode bits set timer mode
-
-0100 - Latch Timer 1 count for port 0x41 - as described above
-0101 - Set Timer 1 LSB mode for port 0x41 - as described above
-0110 - Set Timer 1 MSB mode for port 0x41 - as described above
-0111 - Set Timer 1 16-bit mode for port 0x41 - as described above
-
-1000 - Latch Timer 2 count for port 0x42 - as described above
-1001 - Set Timer 2 LSB mode for port 0x42 - as described above
-1010 - Set Timer 2 MSB mode for port 0x42 - as described above
-1011 - Set Timer 2 16-bit mode for port 0x42 as described above
-
-1101 - General counter latch
- Latch combination of counters into corresponding ports
- Bit 3 = Counter 2
- Bit 2 = Counter 1
- Bit 1 = Counter 0
- Bit 0 = Unused
-
-1110 - Latch timer status
- Latch combination of counter mode into corresponding ports
- Bit 3 = Counter 2
- Bit 2 = Counter 1
- Bit 1 = Counter 0
-
- The output of ports 0x40-0x42 following this command will be:
-
- Bit 7 = Output pin
- Bit 6 = Count loaded (0 if timer has expired)
- Bit 5-4 = Read / Write mode
- 01 = MSB only
- 10 = LSB only
- 11 = LSB / MSB (16-bit)
- Bit 3-1 = Mode
- Bit 0 = Binary (0) / BCD mode (1)
-
-2.2) RTC
-
-The second device which was available in the original PC was the MC146818 real
-time clock. The original device is now obsolete, and usually emulated by the
-system chipset, sometimes by an HPET and some frankenstein IRQ routing.
-
-The RTC is accessed through CMOS variables, which uses an index register to
-control which bytes are read. Since there is only one index register, read
-of the CMOS and read of the RTC require lock protection (in addition, it is
-dangerous to allow userspace utilities such as hwclock to have direct RTC
-access, as they could corrupt kernel reads and writes of CMOS memory).
-
-The RTC generates an interrupt which is usually routed to IRQ 8. The interrupt
-can function as a periodic timer, an additional once a day alarm, and can issue
-interrupts after an update of the CMOS registers by the MC146818 is complete.
-The type of interrupt is signalled in the RTC status registers.
-
-The RTC will update the current time fields by battery power even while the
-system is off. The current time fields should not be read while an update is
-in progress, as indicated in the status register.
-
-The clock uses a 32.768kHz crystal, so bits 6-4 of register A should be
-programmed to a 32kHz divider if the RTC is to count seconds.
-
-This is the RAM map originally used for the RTC/CMOS:
-
-Location Size Description
-------------------------------------------
-00h byte Current second (BCD)
-01h byte Seconds alarm (BCD)
-02h byte Current minute (BCD)
-03h byte Minutes alarm (BCD)
-04h byte Current hour (BCD)
-05h byte Hours alarm (BCD)
-06h byte Current day of week (BCD)
-07h byte Current day of month (BCD)
-08h byte Current month (BCD)
-09h byte Current year (BCD)
-0Ah byte Register A
- bit 7 = Update in progress
- bit 6-4 = Divider for clock
- 000 = 4.194 MHz
- 001 = 1.049 MHz
- 010 = 32 kHz
- 10X = test modes
- 110 = reset / disable
- 111 = reset / disable
- bit 3-0 = Rate selection for periodic interrupt
- 000 = periodic timer disabled
- 001 = 3.90625 uS
- 010 = 7.8125 uS
- 011 = .122070 mS
- 100 = .244141 mS
- ...
- 1101 = 125 mS
- 1110 = 250 mS
- 1111 = 500 mS
-0Bh byte Register B
- bit 7 = Run (0) / Halt (1)
- bit 6 = Periodic interrupt enable
- bit 5 = Alarm interrupt enable
- bit 4 = Update-ended interrupt enable
- bit 3 = Square wave interrupt enable
- bit 2 = BCD calendar (0) / Binary (1)
- bit 1 = 12-hour mode (0) / 24-hour mode (1)
- bit 0 = 0 (DST off) / 1 (DST enabled)
-OCh byte Register C (read only)
- bit 7 = interrupt request flag (IRQF)
- bit 6 = periodic interrupt flag (PF)
- bit 5 = alarm interrupt flag (AF)
- bit 4 = update interrupt flag (UF)
- bit 3-0 = reserved
-ODh byte Register D (read only)
- bit 7 = RTC has power
- bit 6-0 = reserved
-32h byte Current century BCD (*)
- (*) location vendor specific and now determined from ACPI global tables
-
-2.3) APIC
-
-On Pentium and later processors, an on-board timer is available to each CPU
-as part of the Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller. The APIC is
-accessed through memory-mapped registers and provides interrupt service to each
-CPU, used for IPIs and local timer interrupts.
-
-Although in theory the APIC is a safe and stable source for local interrupts,
-in practice, many bugs and glitches have occurred due to the special nature of
-the APIC CPU-local memory-mapped hardware. Beware that CPU errata may affect
-the use of the APIC and that workarounds may be required. In addition, some of
-these workarounds pose unique constraints for virtualization - requiring either
-extra overhead incurred from extra reads of memory-mapped I/O or additional
-functionality that may be more computationally expensive to implement.
-
-Since the APIC is documented quite well in the Intel and AMD manuals, we will
-avoid repetition of the detail here. It should be pointed out that the APIC
-timer is programmed through the LVT (local vector timer) register, is capable
-of one-shot or periodic operation, and is based on the bus clock divided down
-by the programmable divider register.
-
-2.4) HPET
-
-HPET is quite complex, and was originally intended to replace the PIT / RTC
-support of the X86 PC. It remains to be seen whether that will be the case, as
-the de facto standard of PC hardware is to emulate these older devices. Some
-systems designated as legacy free may support only the HPET as a hardware timer
-device.
-
-The HPET spec is rather loose and vague, requiring at least 3 hardware timers,
-but allowing implementation freedom to support many more. It also imposes no
-fixed rate on the timer frequency, but does impose some extremal values on
-frequency, error and slew.
-
-In general, the HPET is recommended as a high precision (compared to PIT /RTC)
-time source which is independent of local variation (as there is only one HPET
-in any given system). The HPET is also memory-mapped, and its presence is
-indicated through ACPI tables by the BIOS.
-
-Detailed specification of the HPET is beyond the current scope of this
-document, as it is also very well documented elsewhere.
-
-2.5) Offboard Timers
-
-Several cards, both proprietary (watchdog boards) and commonplace (e1000) have
-timing chips built into the cards which may have registers which are accessible
-to kernel or user drivers. To the author's knowledge, using these to generate
-a clocksource for a Linux or other kernel has not yet been attempted and is in
-general frowned upon as not playing by the agreed rules of the game. Such a
-timer device would require additional support to be virtualized properly and is
-not considered important at this time as no known operating system does this.
-
-=========================================================================
-
-3) TSC Hardware
-
-The TSC or time stamp counter is relatively simple in theory; it counts
-instruction cycles issued by the processor, which can be used as a measure of
-time. In practice, due to a number of problems, it is the most complicated
-timekeeping device to use.
-
-The TSC is represented internally as a 64-bit MSR which can be read with the
-RDMSR, RDTSC, or RDTSCP (when available) instructions. In the past, hardware
-limitations made it possible to write the TSC, but generally on old hardware it
-was only possible to write the low 32-bits of the 64-bit counter, and the upper
-32-bits of the counter were cleared. Now, however, on Intel processors family
-0Fh, for models 3, 4 and 6, and family 06h, models e and f, this restriction
-has been lifted and all 64-bits are writable. On AMD systems, the ability to
-write the TSC MSR is not an architectural guarantee.
-
-The TSC is accessible from CPL-0 and conditionally, for CPL > 0 software by
-means of the CR4.TSD bit, which when enabled, disables CPL > 0 TSC access.
-
-Some vendors have implemented an additional instruction, RDTSCP, which returns
-atomically not just the TSC, but an indicator which corresponds to the
-processor number. This can be used to index into an array of TSC variables to
-determine offset information in SMP systems where TSCs are not synchronized.
-The presence of this instruction must be determined by consulting CPUID feature
-bits.
-
-Both VMX and SVM provide extension fields in the virtualization hardware which
-allows the guest visible TSC to be offset by a constant. Newer implementations
-promise to allow the TSC to additionally be scaled, but this hardware is not
-yet widely available.
-
-3.1) TSC synchronization
-
-The TSC is a CPU-local clock in most implementations. This means, on SMP
-platforms, the TSCs of different CPUs may start at different times depending
-on when the CPUs are powered on. Generally, CPUs on the same die will share
-the same clock, however, this is not always the case.
-
-The BIOS may attempt to resynchronize the TSCs during the poweron process and
-the operating system or other system software may attempt to do this as well.
-Several hardware limitations make the problem worse - if it is not possible to
-write the full 64-bits of the TSC, it may be impossible to match the TSC in
-newly arriving CPUs to that of the rest of the system, resulting in
-unsynchronized TSCs. This may be done by BIOS or system software, but in
-practice, getting a perfectly synchronized TSC will not be possible unless all
-values are read from the same clock, which generally only is possible on single
-socket systems or those with special hardware support.
-
-3.2) TSC and CPU hotplug
-
-As touched on already, CPUs which arrive later than the boot time of the system
-may not have a TSC value that is synchronized with the rest of the system.
-Either system software, BIOS, or SMM code may actually try to establish the TSC
-to a value matching the rest of the system, but a perfect match is usually not
-a guarantee. This can have the effect of bringing a system from a state where
-TSC is synchronized back to a state where TSC synchronization flaws, however
-small, may be exposed to the OS and any virtualization environment.
-
-3.3) TSC and multi-socket / NUMA
-
-Multi-socket systems, especially large multi-socket systems are likely to have
-individual clocksources rather than a single, universally distributed clock.
-Since these clocks are driven by different crystals, they will not have
-perfectly matched frequency, and temperature and electrical variations will
-cause the CPU clocks, and thus the TSCs to drift over time. Depending on the
-exact clock and bus design, the drift may or may not be fixed in absolute
-error, and may accumulate over time.
-
-In addition, very large systems may deliberately slew the clocks of individual
-cores. This technique, known as spread-spectrum clocking, reduces EMI at the
-clock frequency and harmonics of it, which may be required to pass FCC
-standards for telecommunications and computer equipment.
-
-It is recommended not to trust the TSCs to remain synchronized on NUMA or
-multiple socket systems for these reasons.
-
-3.4) TSC and C-states
-
-C-states, or idling states of the processor, especially C1E and deeper sleep
-states may be problematic for TSC as well. The TSC may stop advancing in such
-a state, resulting in a TSC which is behind that of other CPUs when execution
-is resumed. Such CPUs must be detected and flagged by the operating system
-based on CPU and chipset identifications.
-
-The TSC in such a case may be corrected by catching it up to a known external
-clocksource.
-
-3.5) TSC frequency change / P-states
-
-To make things slightly more interesting, some CPUs may change frequency. They
-may or may not run the TSC at the same rate, and because the frequency change
-may be staggered or slewed, at some points in time, the TSC rate may not be
-known other than falling within a range of values. In this case, the TSC will
-not be a stable time source, and must be calibrated against a known, stable,
-external clock to be a usable source of time.
-
-Whether the TSC runs at a constant rate or scales with the P-state is model
-dependent and must be determined by inspecting CPUID, chipset or vendor
-specific MSR fields.
-
-In addition, some vendors have known bugs where the P-state is actually
-compensated for properly during normal operation, but when the processor is
-inactive, the P-state may be raised temporarily to service cache misses from
-other processors. In such cases, the TSC on halted CPUs could advance faster
-than that of non-halted processors. AMD Turion processors are known to have
-this problem.
-
-3.6) TSC and STPCLK / T-states
-
-External signals given to the processor may also have the effect of stopping
-the TSC. This is typically done for thermal emergency power control to prevent
-an overheating condition, and typically, there is no way to detect that this
-condition has happened.
-
-3.7) TSC virtualization - VMX
-
-VMX provides conditional trapping of RDTSC, RDMSR, WRMSR and RDTSCP
-instructions, which is enough for full virtualization of TSC in any manner. In
-addition, VMX allows passing through the host TSC plus an additional TSC_OFFSET
-field specified in the VMCS. Special instructions must be used to read and
-write the VMCS field.
-
-3.8) TSC virtualization - SVM
-
-SVM provides conditional trapping of RDTSC, RDMSR, WRMSR and RDTSCP
-instructions, which is enough for full virtualization of TSC in any manner. In
-addition, SVM allows passing through the host TSC plus an additional offset
-field specified in the SVM control block.
-
-3.9) TSC feature bits in Linux
-
-In summary, there is no way to guarantee the TSC remains in perfect
-synchronization unless it is explicitly guaranteed by the architecture. Even
-if so, the TSCs in multi-sockets or NUMA systems may still run independently
-despite being locally consistent.
-
-The following feature bits are used by Linux to signal various TSC attributes,
-but they can only be taken to be meaningful for UP or single node systems.
-
-X86_FEATURE_TSC : The TSC is available in hardware
-X86_FEATURE_RDTSCP : The RDTSCP instruction is available
-X86_FEATURE_CONSTANT_TSC : The TSC rate is unchanged with P-states
-X86_FEATURE_NONSTOP_TSC : The TSC does not stop in C-states
-X86_FEATURE_TSC_RELIABLE : TSC sync checks are skipped (VMware)
-
-4) Virtualization Problems
-
-Timekeeping is especially problematic for virtualization because a number of
-challenges arise. The most obvious problem is that time is now shared between
-the host and, potentially, a number of virtual machines. Thus the virtual
-operating system does not run with 100% usage of the CPU, despite the fact that
-it may very well make that assumption. It may expect it to remain true to very
-exacting bounds when interrupt sources are disabled, but in reality only its
-virtual interrupt sources are disabled, and the machine may still be preempted
-at any time. This causes problems as the passage of real time, the injection
-of machine interrupts and the associated clock sources are no longer completely
-synchronized with real time.
-
-This same problem can occur on native harware to a degree, as SMM mode may
-steal cycles from the naturally on X86 systems when SMM mode is used by the
-BIOS, but not in such an extreme fashion. However, the fact that SMM mode may
-cause similar problems to virtualization makes it a good justification for
-solving many of these problems on bare metal.
-
-4.1) Interrupt clocking
-
-One of the most immediate problems that occurs with legacy operating systems
-is that the system timekeeping routines are often designed to keep track of
-time by counting periodic interrupts. These interrupts may come from the PIT
-or the RTC, but the problem is the same: the host virtualization engine may not
-be able to deliver the proper number of interrupts per second, and so guest
-time may fall behind. This is especially problematic if a high interrupt rate
-is selected, such as 1000 HZ, which is unfortunately the default for many Linux
-guests.
-
-There are three approaches to solving this problem; first, it may be possible
-to simply ignore it. Guests which have a separate time source for tracking
-'wall clock' or 'real time' may not need any adjustment of their interrupts to
-maintain proper time. If this is not sufficient, it may be necessary to inject
-additional interrupts into the guest in order to increase the effective
-interrupt rate. This approach leads to complications in extreme conditions,
-where host load or guest lag is too much to compensate for, and thus another
-solution to the problem has risen: the guest may need to become aware of lost
-ticks and compensate for them internally. Although promising in theory, the
-implementation of this policy in Linux has been extremely error prone, and a
-number of buggy variants of lost tick compensation are distributed across
-commonly used Linux systems.
-
-Windows uses periodic RTC clocking as a means of keeping time internally, and
-thus requires interrupt slewing to keep proper time. It does use a low enough
-rate (ed: is it 18.2 Hz?) however that it has not yet been a problem in
-practice.
-
-4.2) TSC sampling and serialization
-
-As the highest precision time source available, the cycle counter of the CPU
-has aroused much interest from developers. As explained above, this timer has
-many problems unique to its nature as a local, potentially unstable and
-potentially unsynchronized source. One issue which is not unique to the TSC,
-but is highlighted because of its very precise nature is sampling delay. By
-definition, the counter, once read is already old. However, it is also
-possible for the counter to be read ahead of the actual use of the result.
-This is a consequence of the superscalar execution of the instruction stream,
-which may execute instructions out of order. Such execution is called
-non-serialized. Forcing serialized execution is necessary for precise
-measurement with the TSC, and requires a serializing instruction, such as CPUID
-or an MSR read.
-
-Since CPUID may actually be virtualized by a trap and emulate mechanism, this
-serialization can pose a performance issue for hardware virtualization. An
-accurate time stamp counter reading may therefore not always be available, and
-it may be necessary for an implementation to guard against "backwards" reads of
-the TSC as seen from other CPUs, even in an otherwise perfectly synchronized
-system.
-
-4.3) Timespec aliasing
-
-Additionally, this lack of serialization from the TSC poses another challenge
-when using results of the TSC when measured against another time source. As
-the TSC is much higher precision, many possible values of the TSC may be read
-while another clock is still expressing the same value.
-
-That is, you may read (T,T+10) while external clock C maintains the same value.
-Due to non-serialized reads, you may actually end up with a range which
-fluctuates - from (T-1.. T+10). Thus, any time calculated from a TSC, but
-calibrated against an external value may have a range of valid values.
-Re-calibrating this computation may actually cause time, as computed after the
-calibration, to go backwards, compared with time computed before the
-calibration.
-
-This problem is particularly pronounced with an internal time source in Linux,
-the kernel time, which is expressed in the theoretically high resolution
-timespec - but which advances in much larger granularity intervals, sometimes
-at the rate of jiffies, and possibly in catchup modes, at a much larger step.
-
-This aliasing requires care in the computation and recalibration of kvmclock
-and any other values derived from TSC computation (such as TSC virtualization
-itself).
-
-4.4) Migration
-
-Migration of a virtual machine raises problems for timekeeping in two ways.
-First, the migration itself may take time, during which interrupts cannot be
-delivered, and after which, the guest time may need to be caught up. NTP may
-be able to help to some degree here, as the clock correction required is
-typically small enough to fall in the NTP-correctable window.
-
-An additional concern is that timers based off the TSC (or HPET, if the raw bus
-clock is exposed) may now be running at different rates, requiring compensation
-in some way in the hypervisor by virtualizing these timers. In addition,
-migrating to a faster machine may preclude the use of a passthrough TSC, as a
-faster clock cannot be made visible to a guest without the potential of time
-advancing faster than usual. A slower clock is less of a problem, as it can
-always be caught up to the original rate. KVM clock avoids these problems by
-simply storing multipliers and offsets against the TSC for the guest to convert
-back into nanosecond resolution values.
-
-4.5) Scheduling
-
-Since scheduling may be based on precise timing and firing of interrupts, the
-scheduling algorithms of an operating system may be adversely affected by
-virtualization. In theory, the effect is random and should be universally
-distributed, but in contrived as well as real scenarios (guest device access,
-causes of virtualization exits, possible context switch), this may not always
-be the case. The effect of this has not been well studied.
-
-In an attempt to work around this, several implementations have provided a
-paravirtualized scheduler clock, which reveals the true amount of CPU time for
-which a virtual machine has been running.
-
-4.6) Watchdogs
-
-Watchdog timers, such as the lock detector in Linux may fire accidentally when
-running under hardware virtualization due to timer interrupts being delayed or
-misinterpretation of the passage of real time. Usually, these warnings are
-spurious and can be ignored, but in some circumstances it may be necessary to
-disable such detection.
-
-4.7) Delays and precision timing
-
-Precise timing and delays may not be possible in a virtualized system. This
-can happen if the system is controlling physical hardware, or issues delays to
-compensate for slower I/O to and from devices. The first issue is not solvable
-in general for a virtualized system; hardware control software can't be
-adequately virtualized without a full real-time operating system, which would
-require an RT aware virtualization platform.
-
-The second issue may cause performance problems, but this is unlikely to be a
-significant issue. In many cases these delays may be eliminated through
-configuration or paravirtualization.
-
-4.8) Covert channels and leaks
-
-In addition to the above problems, time information will inevitably leak to the
-guest about the host in anything but a perfect implementation of virtualized
-time. This may allow the guest to infer the presence of a hypervisor (as in a
-red-pill type detection), and it may allow information to leak between guests
-by using CPU utilization itself as a signalling channel. Preventing such
-problems would require completely isolated virtual time which may not track
-real time any longer. This may be useful in certain security or QA contexts,
-but in general isn't recommended for real-world deployment scenarios.