Intel is actively exploring the utilization of Netlink, a generic data transfer mechanism between kernel and user-space processes, to enhance the reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) and telemetry features of their modern GPUs in Linux.
This proposal aims to replace the current internal PMU counter and sysfs interface exposure with Netlink, offering a more efficient and streamlined approach.
Additionally, Intel hopes that other Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) drivers will adopt this Netlink interface for RAS and telemetry functionality. This article delves into the details of Intel’s proposal and the potential benefits it brings to the Linux graphics driver ecosystem.
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The Need for Netlink Integration:
Reliability, availability, and serviceability are critical aspects of graphics drivers, ensuring smooth operation and error detection in GPU hardware. Intel’s Linux kernel graphics driver developers recognize the need for a more efficient and automated approach to expose RAS and telemetry features to user-space.
Traditionally, user-space applications would poll via sysfs or DebugFS files to monitor counters for hardware errors. However, this continuous polling can be resource-intensive and cumbersome.
Netlink as a Solution:
Netlink provides a socket-based interface that facilitates seamless communication between the kernel and user-space processes.
While it is already widely used for various services like network routing, firewall, IPSec, SELinux notifications, and crypto, Intel aims to leverage Netlink’s capabilities to enhance RAS and telemetry communication within the Linux graphics driver stack.
The proposed integration of Netlink would enable user-space applications to subscribe and receive automatic notifications regarding new hardware errors.
This approach eliminates the need for constant polling, resulting in improved efficiency and reduced resource consumption.
By leveraging Netlink, Intel aims to create a more streamlined and robust framework for RAS and telemetry functionality, benefiting both their own graphics drivers and the wider DRM driver community.
Netlink RAS/Telemetry Support in Xe DRM Kernel Driver:
Intel’s work on the new Xe DRM kernel driver includes the development of Netlink RAS/telemetry support. This feature allows for the seamless integration of Netlink-based communication within the driver stack.
By leveraging this support, Intel’s graphics drivers can efficiently expose RAS and telemetry features to user-space applications, enabling them to proactively monitor and address hardware errors.
Community Engagement and Feedback:
To gather input and feedback from the Linux graphics driver community, Intel has initiated a request for comments (RFC) on this new functionality. The details of the proposal and the ongoing discussion can be found on the dri-devel mailing list.
By actively engaging with the community, Intel aims to ensure that the proposed Netlink integration aligns with the broader goals and requirements of the DRM ecosystem.
Some Pros of this proposal:
- Improved Efficiency: Leveraging Netlink for RAS and telemetry communication can potentially offer a more efficient approach compared to continuous user-space polling via sysfs or DebugFS files. Subscribing and receiving automatic notifications of hardware errors reduces resource consumption.
- Standardization Potential: The proposal suggests that other Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) drivers could adopt the Netlink interface for RAS and telemetry functionality. This could lead to a standardized approach across the Linux graphics driver ecosystem, promoting interoperability.
- Versatility of Netlink: Netlink’s existing support for various services such as network routing, firewall, IPSec, SELinux notifications, and crypto highlights its versatility as a generic means of data transfer between kernel and user-space processes.
- Community Engagement: Intel’s request for comments on the proposed Netlink integration demonstrates their commitment to engaging with the Linux graphics driver community. This fosters collaboration, encourages feedback, and ensures that the functionality aligns with broader goals and requirements.
Intel’s proposal to utilize Netlink for RAS and telemetry features in Linux graphics drivers demonstrates their commitment to enhancing the reliability, availability, and serviceability of their GPUs.
By replacing the current internal PMU counter and sysfs interface exposure with Netlink, Intel aims to provide a more efficient and automated solution for hardware error detection.
Furthermore, by sharing their work and actively seeking community feedback, Intel encourages collaboration and aims to establish Netlink as a standard interface for RAS and telemetry functionality within the DRM driver ecosystem.