Re: [PATCH] SCSI driver for VMware's virtual HBA.

From: Alok Kataria
Date: Tue Sep 01 2009 - 22:56:08 EST

On Tue, 2009-09-01 at 11:15 -0700, James Bottomley wrote:
> On Tue, 2009-09-01 at 10:41 -0700, Alok Kataria wrote:
> > > lguest uses the sg_ring abstraction. Xen and KVM were certainly looking
> > > at this too.
> >
> > I don't see the sg_ring abstraction that you are talking about. Can you
> > please give me some pointers.
> it's in drivers/lguest ... apparently it's vring now and the code is in
> driver/virtio
> > Also regarding Xen and KVM I think they are using the xenbus/vbus
> > interface, which is quite different than what we do here.
> Not sure about Xen ... KVM uses virtio above.
> > >
> > > > And anyways how large is the DMA code that we are worrying about here ?
> > > > Only about 300-400 LOC ? I don't think we might want to over-design for
> > > > such small gains.
> > >
> > > So even if you have different DMA code, the remaining thousand or so
> > > lines would be in common. That's a worthwhile improvement.

I don't see how, the rest of the code comprises of IO/MMIO space & ring
processing which is very different in each of the implementations. What
is left is the setup and initialization code which obviously depends on
the implementation of the driver data structures.

> >
> > And not just that, different HV-vendors can have different features,
> > like say XYZ can come up tomorrow and implement the multiple rings
> > interface so the feature set doesn't remain common and we will have less
> > code to share in the not so distant future.
> Multiple rings is really just a multiqueue abstraction. That's fine,
> but it needs a standard multiqueue control plane.
> The desire to one up the competition by adding a new whiz bang feature
> to which you code a special interface is very common in the storage
> industry. The counter pressure is that consumers really like these
> things standardised. That's what the transport class abstraction is all
> about.
> We also seem to be off on a tangent about hypervisor interfaces. I'm
> actually more interested in the utility of an SRP abstraction or at
> least something SAM based. It seems that in your driver you don't quite
> do the task management functions as SAM requests, but do them over your
> own protocol abstractions.

Okay, I think I need to take a step back here and understand what
actually are you asking for.

1. What do you mean by the "transport class abstraction" ?
Do you mean that the way we communicate with the hypervisor needs to be
standardized ?

2. Are you saying that we should use the virtio ring mechanism to handle
our request and completion rings ?
We can not do that. Our backend expects that each slot on the ring is
in a particular format. Where as vring expects that each slot on the
vring is in the vring_desc format.

3. Also, the way we communicate with the hypervisor backend is that the
driver writes to our device IO registers in a particular format. The
format that we follow is to first write the command on the
COMMAND_REGISTER and then write a stream of data words in the
DATA_REGISTER, which is a normal device interface.
The reason I make this point is to highlight we are not making any
hypercalls instead we communicate with the hypervisor by writing to
IO/Memory mapped regions. So from that perspective the driver has no
knowledge that its is talking to a software backend (aka device
emulation) instead it is very similar to how a driver talks to a silicon
device. The backend expects things in a certain way and we cannot
really change that interface ( i.e. the ABI shared between Device driver
and Device Emulation).

So sharing code with vring or virtio is not something that works well
with our backend. The VMware PVSCSI driver is simply a virtual HBA and
shouldn't be looked at any differently.

Is their anything else that you are asking us to standardize ?

> James

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