[Skiboot] [PATCH v7 18/22] fadump: Add documentation

Hari Bathini hbathini at linux.ibm.com
Thu May 30 13:16:43 AEST 2019

On 29/05/19 12:09 PM, Oliver wrote:
>>> I'm wondering what we can safely do once we hit the final step. As far
>>> as I can tell the intention is to boot into the same kernel that we
>>> crashed from so that it can run makedumpsterfire to produce a
>>> crashdump, invalidate the dump, and continue to boot into a
>>> functioning OS. However I don't see how we'd actually guarantee that
>>> actually happens. I realise that it's *probably* going to work most of
>>> the time since we'll probably be running the same kernel that's the
>>> default boot option, but surely we can come up with something that's
>>> less jank.
>> Yes. Idea is to boot back the same kernel. Since we are initializing everything
>> again most of the time it will work fine (much better than kdump situation).
> I'm not really convinced that MPIPL is a drasticly better than kdump.
> The main reason kdump doesn't work well is GPUs with NVlink. As far as

No. There are other reasons why FW assisted dump is better
than KDump. KDump is susceptible to device state inconsistencies,
device driver robustness, DMAs in flight, buggy software stomping
on reserved memory where KDump kernel is loaded and
reinitialization issues (PCI bus, PHB, etc..) with newer platform
hardware and adapters...

> I can tell MPIPL doesn't do anything to help there.

I don't know if it is not the case and why though. But definitely
something to get right..

>>> For contrast the kdump approach allows the crashing kernel to specify
>>> what the crash environment is going to look like. If I were an OS
>>> vendor I'd say that's a pretty compelling reason to use kdump instead
>>> of this. If the main benifit of fadump is that we can reliably reset
>>> and reinitialise hardware devices then maybe we should look at trying
>>> to use MPIPL as an alternative kdump entry path. Rather than having
>>> skiboot load petitboot from flash, we could have skiboot enter the
>>> preloaded crash kernel and go from there.
>> preloaded crash kernel is similar to kdump right? I don't think we again
>> much from this approach.
> Can you actually respond to what I'm saying rather than dismissing it
> out of hand with a non-argument?
> If we can use MPIPL to make kdump more robust then I think we should
> do that rather than having a completely separate mechanism to capture

KDump uses kexec to boot the next kernel and I am not sure
where MPIPL fits in this. But I understand your intention that
KDump can be hardened instead of going for a new approach
but KDump is a continuous chase with every new driver and
hardware and the fix most often is needed in those modules
but with f/w assisted dump, the hardening part is relatively
straightforward with newer hardware...

> a crash dump. One of the goals of OpenPower is to have tooling and
> processes that are consistent with what is used by the rest of the
> industry rather than inventing IBM specific ways of doing everything.
> So why are we doing this instead? I'm not saying that there's no good
> reasons to take the approach you have, but you, Hari and Mahesh need
> to do a better job of spelling them out. Have you spoken with anyone
> from SuSE or RH about what they would prefer?

The reasons I mentioned above is why we prefer this approach.
pHyp guests have support for f/w assisted dump as alternative
for KDump and there are customers using this for the reliability
it brings to the table over KDump. We are trying to extend such
support to OPAL platforms for the same reasons...


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