[patch 2.6.14-rc1] Add Documentation/ia64/mca.txt

From: Keith Owens <kaos_at_sgi.com>
Date: 2005-09-16 14:49:14
Add Documentation/ia64/mca.txt, an ad-hoc collection of notes on IA64
MCA and INIT processing.

Signed-off-by: Keith Owens <kaos@sgi.com>

Index: linux-git/Documentation/ia64/mca.txt
===================================================================
--- /dev/null	1970-01-01 00:00:00.000000000 +0000
+++ linux-git/Documentation/ia64/mca.txt	2005-09-16 14:47:33.006609381 +1000
@@ -0,0 +1,194 @@
+An ad-hoc collection of notes on IA64 MCA and INIT processing.  Feel
+free to update it with notes about any area that is not clear.
+
+---
+
+MCA/INIT are completely asynchronous.  They can occur at any time, when
+the OS is in any state.  Including when one of the cpus is already
+holding a spinlock.  Trying to get any lock from MCA/INIT state is
+asking for deadlock.  Also the state of structures that are protected
+by locks is indeterminate, including linked lists.
+
+---
+
+The complicated ia64 MCA process.  All of this is mandated by Intel's
+specification for ia64 SAL, error recovery and and unwind, it is not as
+if we have a choice here.
+
+* MCA occurs on one cpu, usually due to a double bit memory error.
+  This is the monarch cpu.
+
+* SAL sends an MCA rendezvous interrupt (which is a normal interrupt)
+  to all the other cpus, the slaves.
+
+* Slave cpus that receive the MCA interrupt call down into SAL, they
+  end up spinning disabled while the MCA is being serviced.
+
+* If any slave cpu was already spinning disabled when the MCA occurred
+  then it cannot service the MCA interrupt.  SAL waits ~20 seconds then
+  sends an unmaskable INIT event to the slave cpus that have not
+  already rendezvoused.
+
+* Because MCA/INIT can be delivered at any time, including when the cpu
+  is down in PAL in physical mode, the registers at the time of the
+  event are _completely_ undefined.  In particular the MCA/INIT
+  handlers cannot rely on the thread pointer, PAL physical mode can
+  (and does) modify TP.  It is allowed to do that as long as it resets
+  TP on return.  However MCA/INIT events expose us to these PAL
+  internal TP changes.  Hence curr_task().
+
+* If an MCA/INIT event occurs while the kernel was running (not user
+  space) and the kernel has called PAL then the MCA/INIT handler cannot
+  assume that the kernel stack is in a fit state to be used.  Mainly
+  because PAL may or may not maintain the stack pointer internally.
+  Because the MCA/INIT handlers cannot trust the kernel stack, they
+  have to use their own, per-cpu stacks.  The MCA/INIT stacks are
+  preformatted with just enough task state to let the relevant handlers
+  do their job.
+
+* Unlike most other architectures, the ia64 struct task is embedded in
+  the kernel stack[1].  So switching to a new kernel stack means that
+  we switch to a new task as well.  Because various bits of the kernel
+  assume that current points into the struct task, switching to a new
+  stack also means a new value for current.
+
+* Once all slaves have rendezvoused and are spinning disabled, the
+  monarch is entered.  The monarch now tries to diagnose the problem
+  and decide if it can recover or not.
+
+* Part of the monarch's job is to look at the state of all the other
+  tasks.  The only way to do that on ia64 is to call the unwinder,
+  as mandated by Intel.
+
+* The starting point for the unwind depends on whether a task is
+  running or not.  That is, whether it is on a cpu or is blocked.  The
+  monarch has to determine whether or not a task is on a cpu before it
+  knows how to start unwinding it.  The tasks that received an MCA or
+  INIT event are no longer running, they have been converted to blocked
+  tasks.  But (and its a big but), the cpus that received the MCA
+  rendezvous interrupt are still running on their normal kernel stacks!
+
+* To distinguish between these two cases, the monarch must know which
+  tasks are on a cpu and which are not.  Hence each slave cpu that
+  switches to an MCA/INIT stack, registers its new stack using
+  set_curr_task(), so the monarch can tell that the _original_ task is
+  no longer running on that cpu.  That gives us a decent chance of
+  getting a valid backtrace of the _original_ task.
+
+* MCA/INIT can be nested, to a depth of 2 on any cpu.  In the case of a
+  nested error, we want diagnostics on the MCA/INIT handler that
+  failed, not on the task that was originally running.  Again this
+  requires set_curr_task() so the MCA/INIT handlers can register their
+  own stack as running on that cpu.  Then a recursive error gets a
+  trace of the failing handler's "task".
+
+[1] My (Keith Owens) original design called for ia64 to separate its
+    struct task and the kernel stacks.  Then the MCA/INIT data would be
+    chained stacks like i386 interrupt stacks.  But that required
+    radical surgery on the rest of ia64, plus extra hard wired TLB
+    entries with its associated performance degradation.  David
+    Mosberger vetoed that approach.  Which meant that separate kernel
+    stacks meant separate "tasks" for the MCA/INIT handlers.
+
+---
+
+INIT is less complicated than MCA.  Pressing the nmi button or using
+the equivalent command on the management console sends INIT to all
+cpus.  SAL picks one one of the cpus as the monarch and the rest are
+slaves.  All the OS INIT handlers are entered at approximately the same
+time.  The OS monarch prints the state of all tasks and returns, after
+which the slaves return and the system resumes.
+
+At least that is what is supposed to happen.  Alas there are broken
+versions of SAL out there.  Some drive all the cpus as monarchs.  Some
+drive them all as slaves.  Some drive one cpu as monarch, wait for that
+cpu to return from the OS then drive the rest as slaves.  Some versions
+of SAL cannot even cope with returning from the OS, they spin inside
+SAL on resume.  The OS INIT code has workarounds for some of these
+broken SAL symptoms, but some simply cannot be fixed from the OS side.
+
+---
+
+The scheduler hooks used by ia64 (curr_task, set_curr_task) are layer
+violations.  Unfortunately MCA/INIT start off as massive layer
+violations (can occur at _any_ time) and they build from there.
+
+At least ia64 makes an attempt at recovering from hardware errors, but
+it is a difficult problem because of the asynchronous nature of these
+errors.  When processing an unmaskable interrupt we sometimes need
+special code to cope with our inability to take any locks.
+
+---
+
+How is ia64 MCA/INIT different from x86 NMI?
+
+* x86 NMI typically gets delivered to one cpu.  MCA/INIT gets sent to
+  all cpus.
+
+* x86 NMI cannot be nested.  MCA/INIT can be nested, to a depth of 2
+  per cpu.
+
+* x86 has a separate struct task which points to one of multiple kernel
+  stacks.  ia64 has the struct task embedded in the single kernel
+  stack, so switching stack means switching task.
+
+* x86 does not call the BIOS so the NMI handler does not have to worry
+  about any registers having changed.  MCA/INIT can occur while the cpu
+  is in PAL in physical mode, with undefined registers and an undefined
+  kernel stack.
+
+* i386 backtrace is not very sensitive to whether a process is running
+  or not.  ia64 unwind is very, very sensitive to whether a process is
+  running or not.
+
+---
+
+What happens when MCA/INIT is delivered what a cpu is running user
+space code?
+
+The user mode registers are stored in the RSE area of the MCA/INIT on
+entry to the OS and are restored from there on return to SAL, so user
+mode registers are preserved across a recoverable MCA/INIT.  Since the
+OS has no idea what unwind data is available for the user space stack,
+MCA/INIT never tries to backtrace user space.  Which means that the OS
+does not bother making the user space process look like a blocked task,
+i.e. the OS does not copy pt_regs and switch_stack to the user space
+stack.  Also the OS has no idea how big the user space RSE and memory
+stacks are, which makes it too risky to copy the saved state to a user
+mode stack.
+
+---
+
+How do we get a backtrace on the tasks that were running when MCA/INIT
+was delivered?
+
+mca.c:::ia64_mca_modify_original_stack().  That identifies and
+verifies the original kernel stack, copies the dirty registers from
+the MCA/INIT stack's RSE to the original stack's RSE, copies the
+skeleton struct pt_regs and switch_stack to the original stack, fills
+in the skeleton structures from the PAL minstate area and updates the
+original stack's thread.ksp.  That makes the original stack look
+exactly like any other blocked task, i.e. it now appears to be
+sleeping.  To get a backtrace, just start with thread.ksp for the
+original task and unwind like any other sleeping task.
+
+---
+
+How do we identify the tasks that were running when MCA/INIT was
+delivered?
+
+If the previous task has been verified and converted to a blocked
+state, then sos->prev_task on the MCA/INIT stack is updated to point to
+the previous task.  You can look at that field in dumps or debuggers.
+To help distinguish between the handler and the original tasks,
+handlers have _TIF_MCA_INIT set in thread_info.flags.
+
+The sos data is always in the MCA/INIT handler stack, at offset
+MCA_SOS_OFFSET.  You can get that value from mca_asm.h or calculate it
+as KERNEL_STACK_SIZE - sizeof(struct pt_regs) - sizeof(struct
+ia64_sal_os_state), with 16 byte alignment for all structures.
+
+Also the comm field of the MCA/INIT task is modified to include the pid
+of the original task, for humans to use.  For example, a comm field of
+'MCA 12159' means that pid 12159 was running when the MCA was
+delivered.

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Received on Fri Sep 16 14:49:25 2005

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