Hi all,
I know that this is not a libvirt issue but this badly impacts libvirt 
Is anyone aware of any status on this issue ? Daniel ?

Here is some history I could get from the libvirt mailing list :

* October 12, 2006 (Daniel Berrange).
I've been trying to track down just why talking to XenD is resulting in so 
much CPU time being
comsumed by both xend & xenstored. As a test case, I'm running 'virsh 
dominfo demo' which results in
a single HTTP request to Xend to fetch domain info, eg 'GET 
Run this in a tight loop & I'll see xenstored taking > 50% CPU, and XenD 
taking another 11%
2647 root 16 0 6188 840 464 R 52 0.0 0:55.04 xenstored
11600 root 18 0 259m 7568 1516 S 11 0.2 0:04.53 python
Its not surprising that xend is consuming time since we are making many 
requests per second, but for
an operation which is only doing reads it having so much time attributed 
to xenstored seems very
excessive. So I ran oprofile & collected some data about xenstored:
CPU: AMD64 processors, speed 2211.33 MHz (estimated)
Counted CPU_CLK_UNHALTED events (Cycles outside of halt state) with a unit 
mask of 0x00 (No
unit mask) count 100000
samples % image name symbol name
347226 45.9445 ext3 (no symbols)
264664 35.0200 jbd (no symbols)
31778 4.2048 libc-2.5.so memset
10763 1.4241 xenstored main
8884 1.1755 libc-2.5.so _int_malloc
7053 0.9332 libc-2.5.so vfprintf
4264 0.5642 xenstored initialize_set
So almost 80% of xenstored's CPU time is attributed to ext3 & journalling 
modules, suggesting
xenstored is doing alot of disk I/O. strace()'ing the xenstored process 
shows the only file it is opening
# strace -p 2647 -e trace=open,rename,unlink
Process 2647 attached - interrupt to quit
open("/var/lib/xenstored/tdb.0x62aa80", O_WRONLY|O_CREAT|O_TRUNC, 0640) = 
open("/var/lib/xenstored/tdb.0x62aa80", O_RDWR) = 15
rename("/var/lib/xenstored/tdb.0x62aa80", "/var/lib/xenstored/tdb") = 0
unlink("/var/lib/xenstored/tdb.0x62aa80") = -1 ENOENT (No such file or 
open("/var/lib/xenstored/tdb.0x62b2b0", O_WRONLY|O_CREAT|O_TRUNC, 0640) = 
open("/var/lib/xenstored/tdb.0x62b2b0", O_RDWR) = 14
rename("/var/lib/xenstored/tdb.0x62b2b0", "/var/lib/xenstored/tdb") = 0
unlink("/var/lib/xenstored/tdb.0x62b2b0") = -1 ENOENT (No such file or 
So basically it is repeatedly copying its persistent TBD database over and 
over again. The TDB on this
system is 128 KB in size and each individual HTTP GET on /xend/domain/demo 
is resulting in 16
copies being made.
Do the maths - 128 * 16 == 2 MB of reads, and 2 MB of writes - for a 
single read in XenD. Now if I
monitor the status of 20 domains, once per second that's causing 40 MB of 
writes & 40 MB of reads
every second which is utterly ridiculous & completely non scalable for 
enterprise deployment :-(
There's two problems I see here:
1. Why the need for xenstored to be doing any of this I/O in the first 
If the DB needs to be kept on disk at all, it really needs to have a much 
saner update/transactional
model to only update bits which actually change, rather than re-creating 
the entire DB on every
transaction. But it strikes me that the DB could potentially be kept 
entirely in memory removing the
disk I/O completely. Sure yyou wouldn't be able to restart the daemon 
then, but even today you can't
restart xenstored & expect things to still be working.
2. Why does XenD create sooo many transactions in XenStored for a read op 
Having instrumented Xend it sems that the root cause of the problem is the
xen.xend.xenstore.xstransact class. This alllows one to start a 
transaction, do a bunch of
reads/writes & then commit the transaction. At the same time though it has 
a bunch of static
'convenience' methods for read & write which will implicitly start & 
commit a transaction. Well
90% of the code in XenD seems to be using these 'convenience' methods 
instead of explicitly
starting a transaction to cover a piece of work - the result is a simple 
GET causes 16 transactions
....and an 'xm create' results in 80 transactions. These convenience 
methods are utterly destroying
Clearly we can't address these for 3.0.3, but I think both of these areas 
need serious work in 3.0.4 if we
want a scalable control plane in Dom0. Fixing the XenD bit looks 
particularly hard because any single
method using the convenience xenstored read functions can be called under 
many different contexts, so
of which needs transactions, others which don't. It ought to be possible 
to trace back all the calls &
make it possible to pass explicit xstransct objects into all calls & then 
kill off the convenience methods.

* Answer, same day (October 12, 2006)

Yes, xenstored is very simple minded in many respects. We will certainly 
be improving this during
3.0.4 development -- I think we can get the costs down very significantly 
for commonplace operations
without enormous effort.

* Avril 25, 2007 (Daniel Berrange)

> Xen 3.0.3 has a serious performance bug
> (see 
> This bug is fixed in Xen 3.0.4
No it isn't. The performance bug is actually at least x2 worse in Xen 
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