Enable Inter-VM Communication Based on Ivshmem¶
You can use inter-VM communication based on the
solution or hv-land solution, according to the usage scenario needs.
(See ACRN Shared Memory Based Inter-VM Communication for a high-level description of these solutions.)
While both solutions can be used at the same time, VMs using different
solutions cannot communicate with each other.
Enable Ivshmem Support¶
ivshmem solution is disabled by default in ACRN. You can enable
it using the ACRN configuration toolset with these
ivshmemvia ACRN configuration tool GUI.
hv.FEATURES.IVSHMEM.IVSHMEM_REGIONto specify the shared memory name, size and communication VMs. The
shm_name- Specify a shared memory name. The name needs to start with the
hv:/prefix for hv-land, or
dm:/for dm-land. For example,
hv:/shm_region_0for hv-land and
shm_size- Specify a shared memory size. The unit is megabyte. The size ranges from 2 megabytes to 512 megabytes and must be a power of 2 megabytes. For example, to set up a shared memory of 2 megabytes, use
VM IDs- Specify the VM IDs to use the same shared memory communication and separate it with
:. For example, the communication between VM0 and VM2, it can be written as
Build with the XML configuration, refer to Build ACRN From Source.
Ivshmem DM-Land Usage¶
Follow Enable Ivshmem Support and
add below line as an
acrn-dm boot parameter:
-s slot- Specify the virtual PCI slot number
ivshmem- Virtual PCI device emulating the Shared Memory
shm_size- Shared memory size of selected
There are two ways to insert above boot parameter for
Manually edit launch script file, in this case, user shall ensure that both
shm_sizematch with that are defined via configuration tool GUI.
- Use the command following below format to create a launch script, when IVSHMEM is enabled
hv.FEATURES.IVSHMEM.IVSHMEM_REGIONis properly configured via configuration tool GUI.
python3 misc/config_tools/launch_config/launch_cfg_gen.py \ --board <path_to_your_boardxml> \ --scenario <path_to_your_scenarioxml> \ --launch <path_to_your_launched_script_xml> \ --uosid <desired_single_vmid_or_0_for_all_vmids>
This device can be used with real-time VM (RTVM) as well.
Ivshmem Notification Mechanism¶
Notification (doorbell) of ivshmem device allows VMs with ivshmem devices enabled to notify (interrupt) each other following this flow:
- Notification Sender (VM):
VM triggers the notification to target VM by writing target Peer ID (Equals to VM ID of target VM) and vector index to doorbell register of ivshmem device, the layout of doorbell register is described in ACRN Shared Memory Based Inter-VM Communication.
When doorbell register is programmed, hypervisor will search the target VM by target Peer ID and inject MSI interrupt to the target VM.
- Notification Receiver (VM):
VM receives MSI interrupt and forward it to related application.
ACRN supports up to 8 (MSI-X) interrupt vectors for ivshmem device. Guest VMs shall implement their own mechanism to forward MSI interrupts to applications.
Notification is supported only for HV-land ivshmem devices. (Future support may include notification for DM-land ivshmem devices.)
Inter-VM Communication Examples¶
This example uses dm-land inter-VM communication between two Linux-based post-launched VMs (VM1 and VM2).
ivshmem Windows driver exists and can be found
Add a new virtual PCI device for both VMs: the device type is
ivshmem, shared memory name is
dm:/test, and shared memory size is 2MB. Both VMs must have the same shared memory name and size:
VM1 Launch Script Sample
acrn-dm -A -m $mem_size -s 0:0,hostbridge \ -s 2,pci-gvt -G "$2" \ -s 5,virtio-console,@stdio:stdio_port \ -s 6,virtio-hyper_dmabuf \ -s 3,virtio-blk,/home/acrn/uos1.img \ -s 4,virtio-net,tap0 \ -s 6,ivshmem,dm:/test,2 \ -s 7,virtio-rnd \ --ovmf /usr/share/acrn/bios/OVMF.fd \ $vm_name
VM2 Launch Script Sample
acrn-dm -A -m $mem_size -s 0:0,hostbridge \ -s 2,pci-gvt -G "$2" \ -s 3,virtio-blk,/home/acrn/uos2.img \ -s 4,virtio-net,tap0 \ -s 5,ivshmem,dm:/test,2 \ --ovmf /usr/share/acrn/bios/OVMF.fd \ $vm_name
Boot two VMs and use
lspci | grep "shared memory"to verify that the virtual device is ready for each VM.
For VM1, it shows
00:06.0 RAM memory: Red Hat, Inc. Inter-VM shared memory (rev 01)
For VM2, it shows
00:05.0 RAM memory: Red Hat, Inc. Inter-VM shared memory (rev 01)
As recorded in the PCI ID Repository, the
ivshmemdevice vendor ID is
1af4(Red Hat) and device ID is
1110(Inter-VM shared memory). Use these commands to probe the device:
$ sudo modprobe uio $ sudo modprobe uio_pci_generic $ sudo echo "1af4 1110" > /sys/bus/pci/drivers/uio_pci_generic/new_id
These commands are applicable to Linux-based guests with
Finally, a user application can get the shared memory base address from the
ivshmemdevice BAR resource (
/sys/class/uio/uioX/device/resource2) and the shared memory size from the
ivshmemdevice config resource (
uioXabove, is a number that can be retrieved using the
For VM1 use
ls -lh /sys/bus/pci/devices/0000:00:06.0/uio
For VM2 use
ls -lh /sys/bus/pci/devices/0000:00:05.0/uio
This example uses hv-land inter-VM communication between two Linux-based VMs (VM0 is a pre-launched VM and VM2 is a post-launched VM).
Make a copy of the predefined hybrid_rt scenario on whl-ipc-i5 (available at
acrn-hypervisor/misc/config_tools/data/whl-ipc-i5/hybrid_rt.xml) and configure shared memory for the communication between VM0 and VM2. The shared memory name is
hv:/shm_region_0, and shared memory size is 2M bytes. The resulting scenario XML should look like this:
<IVSHMEM desc="IVSHMEM configuration"> <IVSHMEM_ENABLED>y</IVSHMEM_ENABLED> <IVSHMEM_REGION>hv:/shm_region_0, 2, 0:2</IVSHMEM_REGION> </IVSHMEM>
Build ACRN based on the XML configuration for hybrid_rt scenario on whl-ipc-i5 board:
make BOARD=whl-ipc-i5 SCENARIO=<path/to/edited/scenario.xml> TARGET_DIR=xxx
Add a new virtual PCI device for VM2 (post-launched VM): the device type is
ivshmem, shared memory name is
hv:/shm_region_0, and shared memory size is 2MB.
VM2 Launch Script Sample
acrn-dm -A -m $mem_size -s 0:0,hostbridge \ -s 2,pci-gvt -G "$2" \ -s 3,virtio-blk,/home/acrn/uos2.img \ -s 4,virtio-net,tap0 \ -s 5,ivshmem,hv:/shm_region_0,2 \ --ovmf /usr/share/acrn/bios/OVMF.fd \ $vm_name
Continue following the dm-land steps 2-4 and the
ivshmemdevice BDF may be different depending on the configuration.