[PATCH 1/3] powerpc: bare minimum checkpoint/restart implementation

Oren Laadan orenl at cs.columbia.edu
Thu Mar 12 20:31:06 PDT 2009

Nathan Lynch wrote:
> Nathan Lynch <ntl at pobox.com> wrote:
>> Oren Laadan wrote:
>>> Nathan Lynch wrote:
>>>> What doesn't work:
>>>> * restarting a 32-bit task from a 64-bit task and vice versa
>>> Is there a test to bail if we attempt to checkpoint such tasks ?
>> No, but I'll add one if it looks too hard to fix for the next round.
> Unfortunately, adding a check for this is hard.
> The "point of no return" in the restart path is cr_read_mm, which tears
> down current's address space.  cr_read_mm runs way before cr_read_cpu,
> which is the only restart method I've implemented for powerpc so far.
> So, checking for this condition in cr_read_cpu is too late if I want
> restart(2) to return an error and leave the caller's memory map
> intact.  (And I do want this: restart should be as robust as execve.)

In the case of restarting a container, I think it's ok if a restarting
tasks dies in an "ugly" way -- this will be observed and handled by the
initiating task outside the container, which will gracefully report to
the caller/user.

Even if you close this hole, then any other failure later on during
restart - even a failure to allocate kernel memory due to memory pressure,
will give that undesired effect that you are trying to avoid.

That said, any difference in the architecture that may cause restart to
fail is probably best placed in cr_write_head_arch.

> Well okay then, cr_read_head_arch seems to be the right place in the
> restart sequence for the architecture code to handle this.  However,
> cr_write_head_arch (which produces the buffer that cr_read_head_arch
> consumes) is not provided a reference to the task to be checkpointed,
> nor can it assume that it's operating on current.  I need a reference
> to a task before I can determine whether it's running in 32- or 64-bit
> mode, or using the FPU, Altivec, SPE, whatever.
> In any case, mixing 32- and 64-bit tasks across restart is something I
> eventually want to support, not reject.  But the problem I've outlined
> applies to FPU state and vector extensions (VMX, SPE), as well as
> sanity-checking debug register (DABR) contents.  We'll need to be able
> to error out gracefully from restart when a checkpoint image specifies a
> feature unsupported by the current kernel or hardware.  But I don't see
> how to do it with the current architecture.  Am I missing something?

More specifically, I envision restart to work like this:

1) user invokes user-land utility (e.g. "cr --restart ..."
2) 'cr' will create a new container
3) 'cr' will start a child in that container
4) child will create rest of tree (in kernel or in user space - tbd)
5) each task in that tree will restore itself
6) 'cr' monitors this process
7) if all goes well - 'cr' report ok.
8) if something goes bad, 'cr' notices and notifies caller/user

so tasks that are restarting may just as well die badly - we don't care.

Does that make sense ?


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