Nested Virtualization

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1 Nested Virtualization Dongxiao Xu, Xiantao Zhang, Yang Zhang May 9, 2013

2 Agenda Nested Virtualization Overview Dive into Nested Virtualization Details Nested CPU Virtualization Nested MMU Virtualization Nested I/O Virtualization Optimization with Intel HW Feature Nested CPU Virtualization: VMCS shadowing Nested MMU Virtualization: Virtual EPT Nested I/O Virtualization: Virtual VT-d 2

3 3 Nested Virtualization Overview

4 What is Nested Virtualization Concept Running virtual machines inside virtual machine Objectives of Nested Virtualization Unmodified Hypervisor/Guest Isolation and security Efficiency in performance Approaches Software Solutions (Para-Virtualization, BT, etc.) Hardware Solution: Nested VMX L2 Guest L2 Guest L1 Hypervisor L0 Hypervisor Hardware L1 Guest 4

5 Nested Virtualization -- A key feature towards cloud computing Virtualization in daily life Windows 7 compatibility mode Windows 8 with Hyper-V Linux with KVM Run virtualization apps/solutions by cloud user Solution 1: Allocate a physical machine with virtualization capability Solution 2: Nested Virtualization capable VMMs 5

6 Nested Virtualization Other usage models Hypervisor level of Anti-Virus Facility for investigating VMM behavior New HW feature emulation 6

7 7 Dive into Nested Virtualization Details

8 CPU Virtualization Guest vcpu is running privileged instruction Guest traps into VMM by VM exit VMM emulates the instruction on behalf of guest VMM updates guest EIP and goes back to guest Guest vcpu continues running vcpu 8

9 CPU Virtualization VMX key concepts New running modes: root and non-root modes. The info bag: VMCS (4k page) Saving guest running status Control when guest exists Information exchange Guest VMM: VM Exit Guest traps into VMM context VMM helps to emulate the instruction VMM Guest: VM Entry VMLAUNCH or VMRESUME Returning from VMM back to guest 9

10 Nested CPU Virtualization Nested virtualization guidelines: L0 emulates virtual VMCS (vmcs12), virtual VM exit and virtual VM entry for L1 VMM so that L1 regards L2 as its guest. L0 provides the actual runtime environment for L2 guest directly by constructing vmcs02 and load it into hardware. L2 Guest L2 Guest vmcs12 vmcs12 L1 Hypervisor L2 Guest L2 Guest vmcs02 vmcs02 L0 Hypervisor L1 Guest Hardware 10

11 Nested CPU Virtualization Guest vcpu encounters a privileged instruction when running vcpu Guest traps into L0 VMM by VM exit L0 VMM checks the status, prepare the virtual VMCS, and inject the VM entry into L1 VMM L1 VMM emulates this instruction When finished, L1 VMM call VMRESUME trying back to guest L0 VMM get the VM exit (due to VMRESUME executed in non-root mode), and issue real VMRESUME Guest continues to run instructions 11

12 Nested CPU Virtualization Nested VMX key concepts Virtualize VMCS Shadow VMCS and virtual VMCS Virtualize VMExit Guest trap into L0 VMM L0 inject to L1 VMM Virtualize VMEntry L1 VMM trap into L0 VMM L0 VMM return back to L2 guest 12

13 MMU Virtualization What memory virtualization needs to do? Present guest OS memory resource it expects Isolate memory among guests/hv from guests Share memory resources whenever possible Guest Pseudo Physical Memory Hypervisor VM VM2 VM3 VM4 Machine Physical Memory

14 MMU Virtualization Software solution: Shadow Page Tables Utilize the original CPU paging mechanism (CR3). Guest OS maintains gva to gpa mappings. Hypervisor maintains gpa to hpa mappings. Hypervisor establishes shadow page tables (gva hpa). Pros: Support unmodified guests. No specific hardware required. GVA GPA HPA Cons Performance issue (trap guest PT operations, etc). Complex software implementation. CR3 14

15 MMU Virtualization Hardware solution: Extended Page Tables (EPT) Bring in another paging dimension in hardware. Guest OS maintains gva to gpa mappings, loaded in CR3. Hypervisor maintains gpa to hpa mappings, loaded in EPTP. Pros: Guest owns CR3 page table. Performance is highlight. Simplified software. CR3 EPTP GVA GPA HPA 15

16 Nested MMU Virtualization Challenges Three dimensions of paging L2 gva L2 gpa L2 gpa L1 gpa L1 gpa L0 hpa CPU only provides two dimension paging with EPT Nested MMU virtualization combinations shadow on shadow shadow on EPT EPT on EPT EPT on shadow (No valuable significance) Shadow Shadow Shadow EPT Legacy Solutions EPT EPT 16

17 Nested MMU Virtualization Shadow on Shadow Use one dimension page table to emulate three. No specific hardware requirement, can use in old platforms. Performance is not good. L2 GVA L2 GPA L1 GPA L0 HPA SPT12 SPT02, CR3 17

18 Nested MMU Virtualization Shadow on EPT Use two dimension page tables to emulate three. Need EPT involvement. L2 page faults will trigger a lot of emulation effort. L2 GVA L2 GPA L1 GPA EPTP L0 HPA SPT12, CR3 18

19 I/O Virtualization Software communicate with device Port I/O MMIO Device transfer data to and from system memory DMA access Events notification from device Interrupt Device discovery and configuration Configuration space access in PCI device Processor Interrupt I/O System Memory DMA Device 19

20 I/O Virtualization Software solution: Device emulation Maintain same SW interface (I/O, MMIO, INTR, DMA) Use arbitrary media to emulate virtualized device Pros Transparent to VM software stack Agnostic to physical device in the platform. Thus Legacy SW can still run, even after HW upgrade Smooth VM migration across different platforms Good physical device sharing Cons Un-optimum performance Cannot enjoy latest & greatest HW Lack of modern device emulation, since too complex Poor scalability Isolation and stability depends on implementation Device Model IRQ Driver Device Emul VM Exit Virtual Interrupt Apps Native Driver I/O IRQ Hypervisor Hardware 20

21 I/O Virtualization Software solution: Para-virtualized I/O VMM presents a specialized virtual device to VM A new & efficient interface between VMM & VM driver Usually high-level abstraction Requires a specialized driver in VM Pros Better performance Agnostic to physical device in the platform Legacy SW can still run, even after HW upgrade Smooth VM migration across different platforms Good physical device sharing Cons Need install specialized driver in VM High CPU utilization (I/O interface and memory copy) Not so good scalability because of CPU utilization Backend Driver Driver Device Share Memory Hypercalls Notifications Apps Frontend Driver VMM Hardware 21

22 I/O Virtualization Hardware solution: VT-d Assign a physical device to a VM directly VM access the device directly, w/ VMM intervention reduced to minimum Physical device access guest s memory directly with help of Intel s VT-d technology Native Driver I/O Apps IRQ Pros Near-to-native performance Minimum VMM intervention, thus low CPU utilization Good isolation Cons Exclusive device access PCI slots in system is limited (SR-IOV) Device VMM Hardware 22

23 Nested I/O Virtualization Nested I/O Virtualization Combinations: L2 software emulation + L1 software emulation L2 software emulation + L1 PV L2 software emulation + L1 VT-d L2 PV + L1 software emulation L2 PV + L1 PV L2 PV + L1 VT-d Mixed Pros and Cons But, still need software intercept. 23

24 24 Optimizations with Intel HW Feature

25 Nested CPU Optimization: Reduce VM Exits L1VMM operates VMCS in non-root mode VM exit will be triggered to emulate the non-root VMREAD/VMWRITE For a single virtual VM exit, L1 will trigger ~20 VMREAD/VMWRITE. Goal: Reduce heavy VM exits due to non-root VMREAD/VMWRITE 25

26 26 Nested CPU Optimization: Ideal Case

27 Nested CPU Optimization: VMCS Shadowing Hardware assisted non-root VMREAD/VMWRITE Shadow VMCS is linked to L1 s VMCS by VMCS Link Pointer No VMExit happened for non-root VMREAD/VMWRITE L2 VMREAD VMWRITE Shadow VMCS L1 VMCS01 VMCS Link Pointer L0 27

28 Nested MMU Optimization EPT on EPT Use two dimension page tables to emulate three. Need EPT involvement. L2 fully owns its page tables. Best performance among the three solutions. CR3 L2 GVA L2 GPA L1 GPA L0 HPA EPT02, EPTP 28

29 Virtual EPT Architecture L2 Guest VM entry/exit Virtual VM entry/exit L1 VMM vmcs12 EPT12 L2 GPA L1 GPA Shadowing Shadowing L0 VMM vmcs02 EPT02 vmcs01 EPT01 L2 GPA L0 HPA L1 GPA L0 HPA 29

30 Virtual EPT Performance L2 w/o optimization L2 w/ vept L1 30

31 Nested I/O Optimization: I/O performance for L2 guest is very slow Due to extremely long device emulation path through all the way to L1 & L0 VMMs How to fix that? Present virtual VT-d engine to L1 VMM Device can be directly assigned to L2 guest High I/O performance, because of minimum VMM intervention. Must-to-have features in Virtual VT-d DMA Remapping & Queue Invalidation: Exposed Interrupt remapping: Not Exposed 31

32 Virtual VT-d Architecture L2 Guest Guest view of VT-d Bus 0 DevQ,Funy DevP,Funn L1 VMM VT-d page table Device Bus 0 Virtual VT-d vdmar vqi Shadowing Dev M FunN Bus N L0 VMM Shadow VT-d page table 32

33 Mb/s Performance Evaluation of virtual VT-d Bandwidth of Nested Guest Ideal Bandwidth TCP Send TCP Receive UDP Send UDP Receive Iperf testing with the assigned NIC to nested Guest Bandwidth is good enough! 33

34 Thank You! Q & A? 34

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