4 releases

0.2.2 Feb 10, 2023
0.2.1 Nov 10, 2022
0.2.0 Oct 24, 2022
0.1.0 Apr 15, 2022

#5 in #secure-sandbox

Used in 2 crates (via dbs-virtio-devices)




Interrupts are used by hardware devices to indicate asynchronous events to the processor. The dbs-interrupt crate provides traits and data structures for the Dragonball Sandbox to manage interrupts for virtual and physical devices.

An interrupt alerts the processor to a high-priority condition requiring the interruption of the current code the processor is executing. The processor responds by suspending its current activities, saving its state, and executing a function called an interrupt handler (or an interrupt service routine, ISR) to deal with the event. This interruption is temporary, and, after the interrupt handler finishes, unless handling the interrupt has emitted a fatal error, the processor resumes normal activities.

Hardware interrupts are used by devices to communicate that they require attention from the operating system, or a bare-metal program running on the CPU if there are no OSes. The act of initiating a hardware interrupt is referred to as an interrupt request (IRQ). Different devices are usually associated with different interrupts using a unique value associated with each interrupt. This makes it possible to know which hardware device caused which interrupts. These interrupt values are often called IRQ lines, or just interrupt lines.

Nowadays, IRQ lines is not the only mechanism to deliver device interrupts to processors. MSI (Message Signaled Interrupt) is another commonly used alternative in-band method of signaling an interrupt, using special in-band messages to replace traditional out-of-band assertion of dedicated interrupt lines. While more complex to implement in a device, message signaled interrupts have some significant advantages over pin-based out-of-band interrupt signaling. Message signaled interrupts are supported in PCI bus since its version 2.2, and in later available PCI Express bus. Some non-PCI architectures also use message signaled interrupts.

While IRQ is a term commonly used by Operating Systems when dealing with hardware interrupts, the IRQ numbers managed by OSes are independent of the ones managed by VMM. For simplicity sake, the term Interrupt Source is used instead of IRQ to represent both pin-based interrupts and MSI interrupts.

A device may support multiple types of interrupts, and each type of interrupt may support one or multiple interrupt sources. For example, a PCI device may support:

  • Legacy Irq: exactly one interrupt source.
  • PCI MSI Irq: 1,2,4,8,16,32 interrupt sources.
  • PCI MSIx Irq: 2^n(n=0-11) interrupt sources.

A distinct Interrupt Source Identifier (ISID) will be assigned to each interrupt source. An ID allocator will be used to allocate and free Interrupt Source Identifiers for devices. To decouple this crate from the ID allocator, here we doesn’t take the responsibility to allocate/free Interrupt Source IDs but only makes use of assigned IDs.

The overall flow to deal with interrupts is:

  • the VMM creates an interrupt manager
  • the VMM creates a device manager, passing on an reference to the interrupt manager
  • the device manager passes on an reference to the interrupt manager to all registered devices
  • guest kernel loads drivers for virtual devices
  • guest device driver determines the type and number of interrupts needed, and update the device configuration
  • the virtual device backend requests the interrupt manager to create an interrupt group according to guest configuration information

The dbs-device crate provides:


This project is licensed under Apache License, Version 2.0.


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