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Re: nvmm users - experience

Hi Robert, Matthias,

(taking current-users@ off Cc:)

Thank you so much for your respective replies. Replying further inline

>>>>> "bob" == Robert Nestor <> writes:

    bob> My experience with nvmm is limited and was mainly trying to use
    bob> it on 9.x, but I have the feeling that development on it has
    bob> pretty much ceased and there’s very little interest in
    bob> improving it.  I’ve been running a comparison experiment seeing
    bob> what it takes to get as many systems as possible running in
    bob> various environments - NVMM, plain qemu, Linux KVM and
    bob> eventually Xen.  For the time being I’ve given up on NVMM and
    bob> have been concentrating on Linux KVM as I’ve found a number of
    bob> systems that seem to install and run fine there which don’t
    bob> under NVMM.

Ok, so it looks like there might be some emulation completeness issues
(related to your variety of workloads) - but I was wondering if you saw
any difference in the "responsiveness" of the guest OS - for eg: when
you login using ssh, have you ever noticed jitter on your keystrokes, or
intermittent freezes, for eg: - I'm specifically asking about the
NetBSD/nvmm case.


>>>>> "MP" == Matthias Petermann <> writes:


    MP> I came across Qemu/NVMM more or less out of necessity, as I had
    MP> been struggling for some time to set up a proper Xen
    MP> configuration on newer NUCs (UEFI only). The issue I encountered
    MP> was with the graphics output on the virtual host, meaning that
    MP> the screen remained black after switching from Xen to NetBSD
    MP> DOM0. Since the device I had at my disposal lacked a serial
    MP> console or a management engine with Serial over LAN
    MP> capabilities, I had to look for alternatives and therefore got
    MP> somewhat involved in this topic.

    MP> I'm using the combination of NetBSD 9.3_STABLE + Qemu/NVMM on
    MP> small low-end servers (Intel NUC7CJYHN), primarily for classic
    MP> virtualization, which involves running multiple independent
    MP> virtual servers on a physical server. The setup I have come up
    MP> with works stably and with acceptable performance.

I have a follow-on question about this - Xen has some config tooling
related to startup - so you can say something like

'xendomains = dom1, dom2' in /etc/rc.conf, and these domains will be
started during bootup.

If you did want that for nvmm, what do you use ?

Regarding the hardware issues, I think I saw some discussion on
port-xen@ so will leave it for there.

    MP> Scenario:

    MP> I have a small root filesystem with FFS on the built-in SSD, and
    MP> the backing store for the VMs is provided through ZFS ZVOLs. The
    MP> ZVOLs are replicated alternately every night (full and
    MP> incremental) to an external USB hard drive.

Are these 'zfs send' style backups ? or is the state on the backup USB
hard drive ready for swapping, if the primary fails for eg ?

I have been using a spindisk as a mirror component with NVMe - bad idea!
It slows down the entire pool.

    MP> There are a total of 5 VMs:

    MP>     net (DHCP server, NFS and SMB server, DNS server) app
    MP> (Apache/PHP-FPM/PostgreSQL hosting some low-traffic web apps)
    MP> comm (ZNC) iot (Grafana, InfluxDB for data collection from two
    MP> smart meters every 10 seconds) mail (Postfix/Cyrus IMAP for a
    MP> handful of mailboxes)

    MP> Most of the time, the Hosts CPU usage of the host with this
    MP> "load" is around 20%. The provided services consistently respond
    MP> quickly.

Ok - and these are accounted as the container qemu processes' quota
scheduling time, I assume ? What about RAM ? Have you had a situation
where the host OS has to swap out ? Does this cause trouble ? Or does
qemu/nvmm only use pinned memory ?

    MP> However, I have noticed that depending on the load, the clocks
    MP> of the VMs can deviate significantly. This can be compensated
    MP> for by using a higher HZ in the host kernel (HZ=1000) and
    MP> tolerant ntdps configuration in the guests. I have also tried
    MP> various settings with schedctl, especially with the FIFO
    MP> scheduler, which helped in certain scenarios with high I/O
    MP> load. However, this came at the expense of stability.

I assume this is only *within* your VMs, right ? Do you see this across
guest Operating Systems, or just specific ones ?

    MP> Furthermore, in my system configuration, granting a guest more
    MP> than one CPU core does not seem to provide any
    MP> advantage. Particularly in the VMs where I am concerned about
    MP> performance (net with Samba/NFS), my impression is that
    MP> allocating more CPU cores actually decreases performance even
    MP> further. I should measure this more precisely someday...

ic - this is interesting - are you able to run some tests to nail this
down more precisely ? 


    MP> If you have specific questions or need assistance, feel free to
    MP> reach out. I have documented everything quite well, as I
    MP> intended to contribute it to the wiki someday. By the way, I am
    MP> currently working on a second identical system where I plan to
    MP> test the combination of NetBSD 10.0_BETA and Xen 4.15.

There's quite a bit of goodies wrt Xen in 10.0 - mainly you can now run
accelerated as a Xen guest (hvm with the PV drivers active).

Thanks again for both of your feedback!


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