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No, it's completely unrelated.

No, it's completely unrelated.

Posted Jun 4, 2009 1:59 UTC (Thu) by drag (subscriber, #31333)
In reply to: No, it's completely unrelated. by gwolf
Parent article: Xen again

> My favorite way out for most of the cases I would be forced to handle with Xen for this kind of needs is to use vserver - Which is _not_ formally a virtualization technology, but a compartmentalization/isolation technology (akin to what was introduced as the BSD Jails around 2000), where many almost-independent hosts share a single kernel, but live within different security contexts.

Well things like BSD Jails, Vserver, OpenVZ, etc etc. All of these are very much virtualization technology in a very real sense. They just are not hardware virtualization.

> Why do you want to paravirtualize? Because the performance impact is way lower. You don't have to emulate hardware at all - In a regular virtualization setup, the guest OS will still shuffle bits around to give them to, say, the ATA I/O interface, possibly aligning them to cylinder/head/sector - On a hard disk that just does not exist, that is a file on another filesystem or whatever. When it is paravirtualized, the guest OS just signals the host OS to do its magic.

Heh. KVM has paravirt drivers that are built into the kernel right now.

virtio-blk = block driver
virtio-rng = random number generator
virtio-net = ethernet network driver
virtio-balloon = used for reclaiming memory from VMs
virtio-pci = pci driver
9pnet_virtio = plan9 networking

And that works fine with updated versions of Qemu also. So you should be able to take advantage of them if your using Kqemu + Qemu for your virtualization. I think. But virtio is a standardized way of doing things. Should probably work with Qemu-dm for Xen stuff.

I there are windows drivers for virtio network. I am not sure about virtio block or balloon though...

I don't know how well KVM + Virtio compares to Xen PV..

Then on top of that you can use AMD's IOMMU or Intel's VT-d to map real hardware directly to virtualized hosts, which would be the fastest possible since your handing off direct access to the hardware.

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No, it's completely unrelated.

Posted Jun 4, 2009 7:03 UTC (Thu) by sf_alpha (guest, #40328) [Link]

If KVM + virtio still need processor support it would be very slow compared to Xen when running on unsupported processor.

No, it's completely unrelated.

Posted Jun 4, 2009 12:20 UTC (Thu) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]


You need to have Intel or AMD's virtualization support to take advantage of KVM.

Even with the virtualization support KVM will be slower then PV. Xen's PV is very superior in terms of performance in almost all situations.

KVM's advantages over Xen are:

* Cleaner design. I am guessing that KVM hypervisor code is between 20k-30k with all the arch it supports were Xen's hypervisor code is easily 10x that much.

* Much easier to administrate and deal with. Does not require patches, does not require rebooting or anything of that nature. It's "just there". Does not require special console software or management tools beyond just qemu if that is all you want. You can use top to monitor VMs and crtl-z to pause them if you started them from a terminal, for example.

* Does not require to have your OS "lifted" into a Dom0... The way Linux interacts with the hardware does not change. This means (with latest kernels) I can suspend my laptop while running VMs and it just works.

* Heavily leverage's Linux's existing features. Instead of having to write various peices of hardware support into the hypervisor KVM gets all that and more by default. When Linux does improvements to, say, memory management then people using KVM directly benefit from that work.
(this is not a huge advantage over Xen, its more of a big improvement when compared to Vmware ESX.. no restrictions to hardware, network block protocols, or sata or anything like that... if Linux supports it you can use it in KVM)

* It is already installed and setup on your machine. All you have to do is intall the qmeu portion and the virt-manager or libvirt stuff if you want to have a nice and easy way to manage them. All Linux distributions have KVM support.. it's modules are by default by everything I've looked at.


* PV on Xen is still easily performance king.

* require some hardware support.

No, it's completely unrelated.

Posted Jun 4, 2009 7:06 UTC (Thu) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

> 9pnet_virtio

Wow, people are still writing 9p code? Given the sad state of and I thought that these projects were stone dead.

I'd really like a network filesystem that is easier to administer than NFS and CIFS... Tried DRBD but didn't like it much. Is v9fs worth a look?

No, it's completely unrelated.

Posted Jun 4, 2009 12:03 UTC (Thu) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

No clue about plan9.

But DRBD is a way of keeping volumes in sync, not so much a file system.

The easiest FS to administer that I know of is sshfs. I use it heavily and it is stable and actually very fast. It can beat NFS even sometimes.. And all you need is Openssh server running and a fuse support in the client. The ssh server is the real gauge on how well sshfs works. Anything other then a relatively recent version of OpenSSH and I doubt the results will be that good.

But if DRBD was even being considured then your needs are going to be specialized. Other alternative to look at could possibly be Redhat's GNBD from GFS or ISCSI.

No, it's completely unrelated.

Posted Jun 4, 2009 19:32 UTC (Thu) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

Tried sshfs 5 or so years ago, rejected it because the crypto overhead prevented me from filling a 100 MBit link. I should probably try it again since that won't be a problem nowadays.

I only mentioned DRBD to illustrate how desperate I've become! It was actually pretty good except that I couldn't get the split brain recovery to work the way I wanted. So close and yet so far. Haven't gotten desperate enough to try AFS yet!

Why doesn't 9p or webdav or some simple protocol take off? It's amazing to me that NFS and CIFS are still state of the art. I guess I don't understand the trade-offs very well.

No, it's completely unrelated.

Posted Jun 4, 2009 20:20 UTC (Thu) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

For sshfs if you want to have good performance you need to disable compression. If you think the crypto has to much overhead then change the encryption method to RC4.

Very likely you were running something like 3DES that has very high overhead. And like I said you need to have a relatively recent version of OpenSSH (say a version from the past 2 years or so) for reliable service.

You can set these on a per server basis in your ~/.ssh/config

I have had no problem personally beating NFS when it comes to my personal usage at home over wireless and gigabit link.. although of course this sort of thing is not suitable for large numbers of users.


No, it's completely unrelated.

Posted Jun 4, 2009 14:08 UTC (Thu) by sbergman27 (guest, #10767) [Link]

My understanding is that the main thrust of the the 9p virtio stuff is to implement shared volumes without all the ugly network guts being exposed to the administrator. And hopefully, at lower latency than the rather significant local latencies one sees even using a virtio network driver.

I have an ugly situation where I have a (proprietary) cobol C/ISAM <-> SQL gateway to some cobol accounting files. Due to the brain-deadness of the proprietary vendor (political concerns, their licenscing with their Cobol runtime supplier, yadda, yadda, yadda...), I have to run it virtualized in an old distro and it sees the C/ISAM files via NFS4. It's written to do a lot of fsync'ing and doesn't seem to make any use of any sort of NFS caching, and so latency absolutely kills its performance. I can't use any of the virtio stuff because the guest kernel is too old to support it, and even that has latencies in the hundreds of microseconds. So I'm using the software emulated E1000 driver, which is almost as efficient as virtio.

However, if I could use the 9p shared volume stuff, I suspect, but am not sure, that latency would be much improved. As it stands, it is still over twice as fast as running on a separate machine via NFS4 over 1000baseT.

So far as I know, the 9p-virtio thing is still an active project, but not yet in mainline KVM. Or, at least, it does not seem to be in Ubuntu 9.04 server.

No, it's completely unrelated.

Posted Jun 4, 2009 12:48 UTC (Thu) by gwolf (subscriber, #14632) [Link]

> Heh. KVM has paravirt drivers that are built into the kernel right now.

Yes, and that's good - I use KVM with paravirt network and disk devices for Windows hosts. Still, many things (i.e. memory access, real CPU mapping, even the kind of architecture the guests report as having) have to be emulated. Paravirt devices are a great boost, though - And by being much simpler, say, than hardware-specific drivers, I am also reducing the most common cause for Windows' instability.

Now, both with Xen and with KVM (and I'd expect with any other virtualization technology) you can forward a real device - Just remove support for it on the host (or Dom0) kernel and ask the virtualizer to forward the needed interrupts/mapped memory space/bus address, and you have it natively inside. Of course, you lose the ability to perform live migrations - But you cannot always win! :)

No, it's completely unrelated.

Posted Jun 10, 2009 17:37 UTC (Wed) by tmassey (guest, #52228) [Link]

You say you have virtualized *disk* drivers for Windows for KVM? I'm aware of the paravirt network drivers, but I've looked repeatedly for block drivers. They've always been 'planned for the future', but I've not been able to find them.

Where would I get paravirt Windows drivers for KVM?

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