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VKERNEL(7)	  DragonFly Miscellaneous Information Manual	    VKERNEL(7)


vkernel, vcd, vkd, vke -- virtual kernel architecture


platform vkernel64 # for 64 bit vkernels device vcd device vkd device vke /var/vkernel/boot/kernel/kernel [-hdstUvz] [-c file] [-e name=value:name=value:...] [-i file] [-I interface[:address1[:address2][/netmask][=mac]]] [-l cpulock] [-m size] [-n numcpus[:lbits[:cbits]]] [-p pidfile] [-r file[:serno]] [-R file[:serno]]


The vkernel architecture allows for running DragonFly kernels in user- land. The following options are available: -c file Specify a readonly CD-ROM image file to be used by the kernel, with the first -c option defining vcd0, the second one vcd1, and so on. The first -r, -R, or -c option specified on the command line will be the boot disk. The CD9660 filesystem is assumed when booting from this media. -d Disables hardware pagetable for vkernel. -e name=value:name=value:... Specify an environment to be used by the kernel. This option can be specified more than once. -h Shows a list of available options, each with a short descrip- tion. -i file Specify a memory image file to be used by the virtual kernel. If no -i option is given, the kernel will generate a name of the form /var/vkernel/memimg.XXXXXX, with the trailing `Xs' being replaced by a sequential number, e.g. memimg.000001. -I interface[:address1[:address2][/netmask][=MAC]] Create a virtual network device, with the first -I option defin- ing vke0, the second one vke1, and so on. The interface argument is the name of a tap(4) device node or the path to a vknetd(8) socket. The /dev/ path prefix does not have to be specified and will be automatically prepended for a device node. Specifying auto will pick the first unused tap(4) device. The address1 and address2 arguments are the IP addresses of the tap(4) and vke interfaces. Optionally, address1 may be of the form bridgeX in which case the tap(4) interface is added to the specified bridge(4) interface. The vke address is not assigned until the interface is brought up in the guest. The netmask argument applies to all interfaces for which an address is specified. The MAC argument is the MAC address of the vke(4) interface. If not specified, a pseudo-random one will be generated. When running multiple vkernels it is often more convenient to simply connect to a vknetd(8) socket and let vknetd deal with the tap and/or bridge. An example of this would be /var/run/vknet: -l cpulock Specify which, if any, real CPUs to lock virtual CPUs to. cpulock is one of any, map[,startCPU], or CPU. any does not map virtual CPUs to real CPUs. This is the default. map[,startCPU] maps each virtual CPU to a real CPU starting with real CPU 0 or startCPU if specified. CPU locks all virtual CPUs to the real CPU specified by CPU. Locking the vkernel to a set of cpus is recommended on multi- socket systems to improve NUMA locality of reference. -m size Specify the amount of memory to be used by the kernel in bytes, K (kilobytes), M (megabytes) or G (gigabytes). Lowercase ver- sions of K, M, and G are allowed. -n numcpus[:lbits[:cbits]] numcpus specifies the number of CPUs you wish to emulate. Up to 16 CPUs are supported with 2 being the default unless otherwise specified. lbits specifies the number of bits within APICID(=CPUID) needed for representing the logical ID. Controls the number of threads/core (0 bits - 1 thread, 1 bit - 2 threads). This parameter is optional (mandatory only if cbits is specified). cbits specifies the number of bits within APICID(=CPUID) needed for representing the core ID. Controls the number of core/pack- age (0 bits - 1 core, 1 bit - 2 cores). This parameter is optional. -p pidfile Specify a pidfile in which to store the process ID. Scripts can use this file to locate the vkernel pid for the purpose of shut- ting down or killing it. The vkernel will hold a lock on the pidfile while running. Scripts may test for the lock to determine if the pidfile is valid or stale so as to avoid accidentally killing a random process. Something like '/usr/bin/lockf -ks -t 0 pidfile echo -n' may be used to test the lock. A non-zero exit code indi- cates that the pidfile represents a running vkernel. An error is issued and the vkernel exits if this file cannot be opened for writing or if it is already locked by an active vker- nel process. -r file[:serno] Specify a R/W disk image file to be used by the kernel, with the first -r option defining vkd0, the second one vkd1, and so on. A serial number for the virtual disk can be specified in serno. The first -r or -c option specified on the command line will be the boot disk. -R file[:serno] Works like -r but treats the disk image as copy-on-write. This allows a private copy of the image to be modified but does not modify the image file. The image file will not be locked in this situation and multiple vkernels can run off the same image file if desired. Since modifications are thrown away, any data you wish to retain across invocations needs to be exported over the network prior to shutdown. This gives you the flexibility to mount the disk image either read-only or read-write depending on what is conve- nient. However, keep in mind that when mounting a COW image read-write, modifications will eat system memory and swap space until the vkernel is shut down. -s Boot into single-user mode. -t Tell the vkernel to use a precise host timer when calculating clock values. This will impose higher overhead on the vkernel as it will have to make a system call to the real host every time it wants to get the time. However, the more precise timer might be necessary for your application. By default, the vkernel uses an imprecise (host-tick-resolution) timer which uses a user-mapped kernel page and does not have any syscall overhead. -U Enable writing to kernel memory and module loading. By default, those are disabled for security reasons. -v Turn on verbose booting. -z Force the vkernel's ram to be pre-zerod. Useful for benchmark- ing on single-socket systems where the memory allocation does not have to be NUMA-friendly. This options is not recommended on multi-socket systems or when the -l option is used.


A number of virtual device drivers exist to supplement the virtual ker- nel. Disk device The vkd driver allows for up to 16 vn(4) based disk devices. The root device will be vkd0 (see EXAMPLES for further information on how to pre- pare a root image). CD-ROM device The vcd driver allows for up to 16 virtual CD-ROM devices. Basically this is a read only vkd device with a block size of 2048. Network interface The vke driver supports up to 16 virtual network interfaces which are associated with tap(4) devices on the host. For each vke device, the per-interface read only sysctl(3) variable hw.vkeX.tap_unit holds the unit number of the associated tap(4) device. By default, half of the total mbuf clusters available is distributed equally among all the vke devices up to 256. This can be overridden with the tunable hw.vke.max_ringsize. Take into account the number passed will be aligned to the lower power of two.


The virtual kernel only enables SIGQUIT and SIGTERM while operating in regular console mode. Sending `^\' (SIGQUIT) to the virtual kernel causes the virtual kernel to enter its internal ddb(4) debugger and re- enable all other terminal signals. Sending SIGTERM to the virtual kernel triggers a clean shutdown by passing a SIGUSR2 to the virtual kernel's init(8) process.


It is possible to directly gdb the virtual kernel's process. It is rec- ommended that you do a `handle SIGSEGV noprint' to ignore page faults processed by the virtual kernel itself and `handle SIGUSR1 noprint' to ignore signals used for simulating inter-processor interrupts.


To compile a vkernel with profiling support, the CONFIGARGS variable needs to be used to pass -p to config(8). cd /usr/src make -DNO_MODULES CONFIGARGS=-p buildkernel KERNCONF=VKERNEL64


/dev/vcdX vcd device nodes /dev/vkdX vkd device nodes /sys/config/VKERNEL64 vkernel configuration file, for config(8).


Your virtual kernel is a complete DragonFly system, but you might not want to run all the services a normal kernel runs. Here is what a typi- cal virtual kernel's /etc/rc.conf file looks like, with some additional possibilities commented out. hostname="vkernel" network_interfaces="lo0 vke0" ifconfig_vke0="DHCP" sendmail_enable="NO" #syslog_enable="NO" blanktime="NO"


You can override the default boot drive selection and filesystem using a kernel environment variable. Note that the filesystem selected must be compiled into the vkernel and not loaded as a module. You need to escape some quotes around the variable data to avoid mis-interpretation of the colon in the -e option. For example: -e vfs.root.mountfrom=\"hammer:vkd0s1d\"


To boot a vkernel from a NFS root, a number of tunables need to be set: boot.netif.ip IP address to be set in the vkernel interface. boot.netif.netmask Netmask for the IP to be set. boot.netif.name Network interface name inside the vkernel. boot.nfsroot.server Host running nfsd(8). boot.nfsroot.path Host path where a world and distribution targets are properly installed. See an example on how to boot a diskless vkernel in the EXAMPLES section.


A couple of steps are necessary in order to prepare the system to build and run a virtual kernel. Setting up the filesystem The vkernel architecture needs a number of files which reside in /var/vkernel. Since these files tend to get rather big and the /var par- tition is usually of limited size, we recommend the directory to be cre- ated in the /home partition with a link to it in /var: mkdir -p /home/var.vkernel/boot ln -s /home/var.vkernel /var/vkernel Next, a filesystem image to be used by the virtual kernel has to be cre- ated and populated (assuming world has been built previously). If the image is created on a UFS filesystem you might want to pre-zero it. On a HAMMER filesystem you should just truncate-extend to the image size as HAMMER does not re-use data blocks already present in the file. vnconfig -c -S 2g -T vn0 /var/vkernel/rootimg.01 disklabel -r -w vn0s0 auto disklabel -e vn0s0 # add `a' partition with fstype `4.2BSD' newfs /dev/vn0s0a mount /dev/vn0s0a /mnt cd /usr/src make installworld DESTDIR=/mnt cd etc make distribution DESTDIR=/mnt echo '/dev/vkd0s0a / ufs rw 1 1' >/mnt/etc/fstab echo 'proc /proc procfs rw 0 0' >>/mnt/etc/fstab Edit /mnt/etc/ttys and replace the console entry with the following line and turn off all other gettys. console "/usr/libexec/getty Pc" cons25 on secure Replace Pc with al.Pc if you would like to automatically log in as root. Then, unmount the disk. umount /mnt vnconfig -u vn0 Compiling the virtual kernel In order to compile a virtual kernel use the VKERNEL64 kernel configura- tion file residing in /sys/config (or a configuration file derived thereof): cd /usr/src make -DNO_MODULES buildkernel KERNCONF=VKERNEL64 make -DNO_MODULES installkernel KERNCONF=VKERNEL64 DESTDIR=/var/vkernel Enabling virtual kernel operation A special sysctl(8), vm.vkernel_enable, must be set to enable vkernel operation: sysctl vm.vkernel_enable=1 Configuring the network on the host system In order to access a network interface of the host system from the vkernel, you must add the interface to a bridge(4) device which will then be passed to the -I option: kldload if_bridge.ko kldload if_tap.ko ifconfig bridge0 create ifconfig bridge0 addm re0 # assuming re0 is the host's interface ifconfig bridge0 up Running the kernel Finally, the virtual kernel can be run: cd /var/vkernel ./boot/kernel/kernel -m 1g -r rootimg.01 -I auto:bridge0 You can issue the reboot(8), halt(8), or shutdown(8) commands from inside a virtual kernel. After doing a clean shutdown the reboot(8) command will re-exec the virtual kernel binary while the other two will cause the virtual kernel to exit. Diskless operation (vkernel as a NFS client) Booting a vkernel with a vknetd(8) network configuration. The line con- tinuation backslashes have been omitted. For convenience and to reduce confusion I recommend mounting the server's remote vkernel root onto the host running the vkernel binary using the same path as the NFS mount. It is assumed that a full system install has been made to /var/vkernel/root using a kernel KERNCONF=VKERNEL64 for the kernel build. /var/vkernel/root/boot/kernel/kernel -m 1g -n 4 -I /var/run/vknet -e boot.netif.ip= -e boot.netif.netmask= -e boot.netif.gateway= -e boot.netif.name=vke0 -e boot.nfsroot.server= -e boot.nfsroot.path=/var/vkernel/root In this example vknetd is assumed to have been started as shown below, before running the vkernel, using an unbridged TAP configuration routed through the host. IP forwarding must be turned on, and in this example the server resides on a different network accessible to the host execut- ing the vkernel but not directly on the vkernel's subnet. kldload if_tap sysctl net.inet.ip.forwarding=1 vknetd -t tap0 You can run multiple vkernels trivially with the same NFS root as long as you assign each one a different IP on the subnet (2, 3, 4, etc). You should also be careful with certain directories, particularly /var/run and possibly also /var/db depending on what your vkernels are going to be doing. This can complicate matters with /var/db/pkg.


The virtual kernel platform does not have all the header files expected by a world build, so the easiest thing to do right now is to specify a pc64 (in a 64 bit vkernel) target when building the world under a virtual kernel, like this: vkernel# make MACHINE_PLATFORM=pc64 buildworld vkernel# make MACHINE_PLATFORM=pc64 installworld


vknet(1), bridge(4), ifmedia(4), tap(4), vn(4), sysctl.conf(5), build(7), config(8), disklabel(8), ifconfig(8), vknetd(8), vnconfig(8) Aggelos Economopoulos, A Peek at the DragonFly Virtual Kernel, March 2007.


Virtual kernels were introduced in DragonFly 1.7.


Matt Dillon thought up and implemented the vkernel architecture and wrote the vkd device driver. Sepherosa Ziehau wrote the vke device driver. This manual page was written by Sascha Wildner. DragonFly 4.7 June 20, 2015 DragonFly 4.7

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