path: root/Documentation/x86
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authorAshok Raj <>2020-09-15 09:30:07 -0700
committerBorislav Petkov <>2020-09-17 19:29:42 +0200
commit4e7b11567d946ebe14a3d10b697b078971a9da89 (patch)
tree48155eab46a624f387ac0170e4574a5e99cd2dec /Documentation/x86
parent2a5054c6e7b16906984ac36a7363ca46b8d99ade (diff)
Documentation/x86: Add documentation for SVA (Shared Virtual Addressing)
ENQCMD and Data Streaming Accelerator (DSA) and all of their associated features are a complicated stack with lots of interconnected pieces. This documentation provides a big picture overview for all of the features. Signed-off-by: Ashok Raj <> Co-developed-by: Fenghua Yu <> Signed-off-by: Fenghua Yu <> Signed-off-by: Borislav Petkov <> Reviewed-by: Tony Luck <> Link:
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diff --git a/Documentation/x86/index.rst b/Documentation/x86/index.rst
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@@ -30,3 +30,4 @@ x86-specific Documentation
+ sva
diff --git a/Documentation/x86/sva.rst b/Documentation/x86/sva.rst
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+.. SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0
+Shared Virtual Addressing (SVA) with ENQCMD
+Shared Virtual Addressing (SVA) allows the processor and device to use the
+same virtual addresses avoiding the need for software to translate virtual
+addresses to physical addresses. SVA is what PCIe calls Shared Virtual
+Memory (SVM).
+In addition to the convenience of using application virtual addresses
+by the device, it also doesn't require pinning pages for DMA.
+PCIe Address Translation Services (ATS) along with Page Request Interface
+(PRI) allow devices to function much the same way as the CPU handling
+application page-faults. For more information please refer to the PCIe
+specification Chapter 10: ATS Specification.
+Use of SVA requires IOMMU support in the platform. IOMMU is also
+required to support the PCIe features ATS and PRI. ATS allows devices
+to cache translations for virtual addresses. The IOMMU driver uses the
+mmu_notifier() support to keep the device TLB cache and the CPU cache in
+sync. When an ATS lookup fails for a virtual address, the device should
+use the PRI in order to request the virtual address to be paged into the
+CPU page tables. The device must use ATS again in order the fetch the
+translation before use.
+Shared Hardware Workqueues
+Unlike Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV), Scalable IOV (SIOV) permits
+the use of Shared Work Queues (SWQ) by both applications and Virtual
+Machines (VM's). This allows better hardware utilization vs. hard
+partitioning resources that could result in under utilization. In order to
+allow the hardware to distinguish the context for which work is being
+executed in the hardware by SWQ interface, SIOV uses Process Address Space
+ID (PASID), which is a 20-bit number defined by the PCIe SIG.
+PASID value is encoded in all transactions from the device. This allows the
+IOMMU to track I/O on a per-PASID granularity in addition to using the PCIe
+Resource Identifier (RID) which is the Bus/Device/Function.
+ENQCMD is a new instruction on Intel platforms that atomically submits a
+work descriptor to a device. The descriptor includes the operation to be
+performed, virtual addresses of all parameters, virtual address of a completion
+record, and the PASID (process address space ID) of the current process.
+ENQCMD works with non-posted semantics and carries a status back if the
+command was accepted by hardware. This allows the submitter to know if the
+submission needs to be retried or other device specific mechanisms to
+implement fairness or ensure forward progress should be provided.
+ENQCMD is the glue that ensures applications can directly submit commands
+to the hardware and also permits hardware to be aware of application context
+to perform I/O operations via use of PASID.
+Process Address Space Tagging
+A new thread-scoped MSR (IA32_PASID) provides the connection between
+user processes and the rest of the hardware. When an application first
+accesses an SVA-capable device, this MSR is initialized with a newly
+allocated PASID. The driver for the device calls an IOMMU-specific API
+that sets up the routing for DMA and page-requests.
+For example, the Intel Data Streaming Accelerator (DSA) uses
+iommu_sva_bind_device(), which will do the following:
+- Allocate the PASID, and program the process page-table (%cr3 register) in the
+ PASID context entries.
+- Register for mmu_notifier() to track any page-table invalidations to keep
+ the device TLB in sync. For example, when a page-table entry is invalidated,
+ the IOMMU propagates the invalidation to the device TLB. This will force any
+ future access by the device to this virtual address to participate in
+ ATS. If the IOMMU responds with proper response that a page is not
+ present, the device would request the page to be paged in via the PCIe PRI
+ protocol before performing I/O.
+This MSR is managed with the XSAVE feature set as "supervisor state" to
+ensure the MSR is updated during context switch.
+PASID Management
+The kernel must allocate a PASID on behalf of each process which will use
+ENQCMD and program it into the new MSR to communicate the process identity to
+platform hardware. ENQCMD uses the PASID stored in this MSR to tag requests
+from this process. When a user submits a work descriptor to a device using the
+ENQCMD instruction, the PASID field in the descriptor is auto-filled with the
+value from MSR_IA32_PASID. Requests for DMA from the device are also tagged
+with the same PASID. The platform IOMMU uses the PASID in the transaction to
+perform address translation. The IOMMU APIs setup the corresponding PASID
+entry in IOMMU with the process address used by the CPU (e.g. %cr3 register in
+The MSR must be configured on each logical CPU before any application
+thread can interact with a device. Threads that belong to the same
+process share the same page tables, thus the same MSR value.
+PASID is cleared when a process is created. The PASID allocation and MSR
+programming may occur long after a process and its threads have been created.
+One thread must call iommu_sva_bind_device() to allocate the PASID for the
+process. If a thread uses ENQCMD without the MSR first being populated, a #GP
+will be raised. The kernel will update the PASID MSR with the PASID for all
+threads in the process. A single process PASID can be used simultaneously
+with multiple devices since they all share the same address space.
+One thread can call iommu_sva_unbind_device() to free the allocated PASID.
+The kernel will clear the PASID MSR for all threads belonging to the process.
+New threads inherit the MSR value from the parent.
+ * Each process has many threads, but only one PASID.
+ * Devices have a limited number (~10's to 1000's) of hardware workqueues.
+ The device driver manages allocating hardware workqueues.
+ * A single mmap() maps a single hardware workqueue as a "portal" and
+ each portal maps down to a single workqueue.
+ * For each device with which a process interacts, there must be
+ one or more mmap()'d portals.
+ * Many threads within a process can share a single portal to access
+ a single device.
+ * Multiple processes can separately mmap() the same portal, in
+ which case they still share one device hardware workqueue.
+ * The single process-wide PASID is used by all threads to interact
+ with all devices. There is not, for instance, a PASID for each
+ thread or each thread<->device pair.
+* What is SVA/SVM?
+Shared Virtual Addressing (SVA) permits I/O hardware and the processor to
+work in the same address space, i.e., to share it. Some call it Shared
+Virtual Memory (SVM), but Linux community wanted to avoid confusing it with
+POSIX Shared Memory and Secure Virtual Machines which were terms already in
+* What is a PASID?
+A Process Address Space ID (PASID) is a PCIe-defined Transaction Layer Packet
+(TLP) prefix. A PASID is a 20-bit number allocated and managed by the OS.
+PASID is included in all transactions between the platform and the device.
+* How are shared workqueues different?
+Traditionally, in order for userspace applications to interact with hardware,
+there is a separate hardware instance required per process. For example,
+consider doorbells as a mechanism of informing hardware about work to process.
+Each doorbell is required to be spaced 4k (or page-size) apart for process
+isolation. This requires hardware to provision that space and reserve it in
+MMIO. This doesn't scale as the number of threads becomes quite large. The
+hardware also manages the queue depth for Shared Work Queues (SWQ), and
+consumers don't need to track queue depth. If there is no space to accept
+a command, the device will return an error indicating retry.
+A user should check Deferrable Memory Write (DMWr) capability on the device
+and only submits ENQCMD when the device supports it. In the new DMWr PCIe
+terminology, devices need to support DMWr completer capability. In addition,
+it requires all switch ports to support DMWr routing and must be enabled by
+the PCIe subsystem, much like how PCIe atomic operations are managed for
+SWQ allows hardware to provision just a single address in the device. When
+used with ENQCMD to submit work, the device can distinguish the process
+submitting the work since it will include the PASID assigned to that
+process. This helps the device scale to a large number of processes.
+* Is this the same as a user space device driver?
+Communicating with the device via the shared workqueue is much simpler
+than a full blown user space driver. The kernel driver does all the
+initialization of the hardware. User space only needs to worry about
+submitting work and processing completions.
+* Is this the same as SR-IOV?
+Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) focuses on providing independent
+hardware interfaces for virtualizing hardware. Hence, it's required to be
+almost fully functional interface to software supporting the traditional
+BARs, space for interrupts via MSI-X, its own register layout.
+Virtual Functions (VFs) are assisted by the Physical Function (PF)
+Scalable I/O Virtualization builds on the PASID concept to create device
+instances for virtualization. SIOV requires host software to assist in
+creating virtual devices; each virtual device is represented by a PASID
+along with the bus/device/function of the device. This allows device
+hardware to optimize device resource creation and can grow dynamically on
+demand. SR-IOV creation and management is very static in nature. Consult
+references below for more details.
+* Why not just create a virtual function for each app?
+Creating PCIe SR-IOV type Virtual Functions (VF) is expensive. VFs require
+duplicated hardware for PCI config space and interrupts such as MSI-X.
+Resources such as interrupts have to be hard partitioned between VFs at
+creation time, and cannot scale dynamically on demand. The VFs are not
+completely independent from the Physical Function (PF). Most VFs require
+some communication and assistance from the PF driver. SIOV, in contrast,
+creates a software-defined device where all the configuration and control
+aspects are mediated via the slow path. The work submission and completion
+happen without any mediation.
+* Does this support virtualization?
+ENQCMD can be used from within a guest VM. In these cases, the VMM helps
+with setting up a translation table to translate from Guest PASID to Host
+PASID. Please consult the ENQCMD instruction set reference for more
+* Does memory need to be pinned?
+When devices support SVA along with platform hardware such as IOMMU
+supporting such devices, there is no need to pin memory for DMA purposes.
+Devices that support SVA also support other PCIe features that remove the
+pinning requirement for memory.
+Device TLB support - Device requests the IOMMU to lookup an address before
+use via Address Translation Service (ATS) requests. If the mapping exists
+but there is no page allocated by the OS, IOMMU hardware returns that no
+mapping exists.
+Device requests the virtual address to be mapped via Page Request
+Interface (PRI). Once the OS has successfully completed the mapping, it
+returns the response back to the device. The device requests again for
+a translation and continues.
+IOMMU works with the OS in managing consistency of page-tables with the
+device. When removing pages, it interacts with the device to remove any
+device TLB entry that might have been cached before removing the mappings from
+the OS.
+DSA spec: