In the course of doing some fixes for my populate-on-demand testing, I
found that a Windows Server 2008 VM with 30G static max and 24G ram
(i.e., booting ballooned) crashed 1-2 times out of ten during boot,
reporting MMIO errors.
I managed to get a trace of this crash. Strangely enough, the trace
indicated that the page the NPF occured on was populate-on-demand --
but that hvm_hap_nested_page_fault() injected a GP anyway.
The only way this would be possible is if the gfn_to_mfn_query() in
the trace function got a p2m type of p2m_popluate_on_demand, but the
gfn_to_mfn_current() in hvm_hap_nested_page_fault() got a p2m type of
Looking at the trace (snippet attached), the failed NPF happened on
d1v1; but almost simultaneously on d1v0, an NPF fault happened that
caused a populate-on-demand demand populate. That demand populate
happened to be of a superpage that was shared with the gpa fault on
So, the first query on d1v1 (correctly) got a PoD; but the second
query, instead of either causing the demand-populate, or successfully
getting the result of d1v0's demand populate, returned failure,
causing the guest to crash.
I looked in the p2m-ept.c code, and noticed (once again) that
ept_get_entry() can be called without the p2m lock held. I added
conditional locks, and am running the test again. The guest has now
booted 20 times successfully without crashing (whereas before, the
average was about 2 in 10 crashing).
Looking closely at the code, I can see one potential race:
* entry starts out PoD, not-present.
* v0 finds the entry PoD, allocates a page, calls set_p2m_entry(),
which calls ept_set_entry().
* v1 begins to walk the pagetable; at some point, it calls
ept_next_level(), which finds the flags all clear (entry->epte & 7 ==
* v0 ept_set_entry() changes the p2m type from p2m_populate_on_demand
* v1 ept_next_level() reads entry->avail1 and finds that it is not
p2m_populate_on_demand, so it returns GUEST_TABLE_MAP_FAILED
* v0 ept_set_entry() sets the flags to present.
Is there a good reason not to just grab the p2m lock when walking the
ept tables? We could conceivably do some cleverness to avoid this
kind of race, but unless there's a significant performance gain, I
think the simple approach is better.
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