NVMe VFIO Mediated Device Support Being Hacked On For Lower Latency Storage In VMs
Written by Michael Larabel in Virtualization on 22 March 2019 at 06:08 AM EDT. 4 Comments
VIRTUALIZATION --
Maxim Levitsky of Red Hat sent out a "request for comments" patch series this week introducing NVMe VFIO media storage device support for the Linux kernel.

Levitsky is pursuing faster virtualization of storage while striving for low latency and that led to the creation of a VFIO-based mediated device driver to pass an NVMe partition or namespace to a guest. This NVMe VFIO mediated device support would allow virtualized guests to run their unmodified/standard NVMe device drivers, including the Windows drivers, while still allowing the NVMe device to be shared between the host and guest.

This "NVME-MDEV" code also has some performance advantages in light of Meltdown mitigations as this in-kernel driver can send interrupts to the guest directly without the need for a context switch. At this point though this NVMe-MDEV code is still considered a proof of concept but will be interesting to see the performance numbers and possibilities once the code has matured and is vetted for hopefully inclusion into the mainline Linux kernel.

More details with the RFC patch series.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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