EDK II DPC Protocol

Fu, Siyuan edited this page Nov 15, 2017 · 7 revisions

Deferred Procedure Call Protocol

This document introduces the Deferred Procedure Call (DPC) protocol, including the protocol interface, design intension and code analysis in edk2 network drivers. There is also some discussion about the assumptions, limitations and rules that user must know before consuming the DPC protocol.

What is DPC?

The Deferred Procedure Call Protocol provides a method for an UEFI Driver to queue a DPC Procedure when the caller is executing at elevated TPLs, and dispatch it at a later time and at a specified TPL level.

DPC is typically used by UEFI Drivers that have event notification functions that execute at high TPL levels, and require the use of services that must be executed at lower TPL levels. The event notification function can queue a DPC Procedure with this protocol, and the DPC Procedure can be invoked when the TPL is lowered to a level that is less than or equal to the TPL level required for the DPC Procedure to run correctly.

The DPC protocol is not a standardized protocol in UEFI specification; it is an edk2 specific implementation and defined in MdeModulePkg/Include/Protocol/Dpc.h.

The DPC protocol only has 2 interfaces: QueueDpc() and DispatchDpc().

typedef
EFI_STATUS
(EFIAPI *EFI_DPC_QUEUE_DPC)(
  IN EFI_DPC_PROTOCOL   *This,
  IN EFI_TPL            DpcTpl,
  IN EFI_DPC_PROCEDURE  DpcProcedure,
  IN VOID               *DpcContext    OPTIONAL
  );

The function QueueDpc() queues the DPC Procedure specified by DpcProcedure to be execute at a later time when the TPL level is at or below the TPL level specified by DpcTpl. When DpcProcedure is invoked, the one parameter specified by DpcContext is passed to DpcProcedure. This function is required to maintain a unique queue for every legal EFI_TPL value. The DPC Procedure specified by DpcProcedure and DpcContext is placed at the end of the DPC queue specified by DpcTpl.

The DPC driver does not take the responsibility to invoke the queued DPCs. Instead, the UEFI driver or application which calls QueueDpc() is responsible for calling DispatchDpc() to dispatch them from lower TPL levels at an appropriate time.

typedef
EFI_STATUS
(EFIAPI *EFI_DPC_DISPATCH_DPC)(
  IN EFI_DPC_PROTOCOL  *This
  );

The function DispatchDpc() dispatches all the previously queued DPCs whose TPL level is greater than or equal to the current TPL level. DPCs with the highest TPL level are dispatched before DPCs with lower TPL levels. Within a single TPL level, the DPCs are dispatched in the order that they were queued by QueueDpc().

What problem does DPC solve?

UEFI iSCSI Layout

The DPC protocol is designed to solve the TPL issue in UEFI network stack. Take the iSCSI for example, the UEFI SCSI stack lays on top of the TCP network stack, as shown in the following picture.

UEFI SCSI Layout

The network stack from MNP to TCP is asynchronous, that is, all data transmitting and receiving are conveyed by tokens. Each token has an event which associates with a notify function. When the transmitting or receiving is done, the event is signaled with the corresponding I/O status and optionally the data buffer.

The SCSI stack and block I/O drivers can be asynchronous or synchronous from UEFI Specification, we only discuss the synchronous situation here.

The UEFI iSCSI driver provides the linkage between the asynchronous network stack and the synchronous SCSI stack. The UEFI iSCSI driver is implemented using a synchronous solution, to avoid the performance hit by polling the network cards in periodical timers for receiving frames.

TPL issue in iSCSI

UEFI Specification states that all UEFI network stack protocols and their service binding protocols should be called with TPL <= TPL_CALLBACK (see Table 24. TPL Restrictions in UEFI Specification v2.6).

Above TPL restrictions, plus the asynchronous interfaces and some specific nature of network, make the UEFI network stack driver can only lock itself at TPL_CALLBACK. Take the ARP driver for example. Usually it will response the received ARP requests with ARP replies. The TPL of notify function to parse the received ARP requests should be >= TPL_CALLBACK because it need to access shared structures in ARP driver. When the ARP request is parsed and an ARP reply should be sent out, Mnp->Transmit() would be called to transmit the ARP reply. The TPL for calling the Mnp->Transmit() should be <= TPL_CALLBACK according to the TPL restrictions defined in the UEFI specification. As a result, these two restrictions make the ARP driver can only run at TPL_CALLBACK.

UEFI Specification also states the Simple File System protocol should be called with TPL <= TPL_CALLBACK. Take FAT driver as the example, it will lock itself at TPL_CALLBACK when accessing the shared structures, or in critical section such as reading block, writing block, etc.

Now the problem comes out: once the Simple File System driver is controlling the iSCSI stack, and attempting to read a block, iSCSI can NOT receive data from network stack any more. Actually, the data could be received into the buffer pool in MNP driver when iSCSI is polling the network. However, as all the tokens of the upper network stack drivers are created with TPL_CALLBACK, the notify function won't have the chance to run even though the receive event is already signaled. In the other words, the synchronous data read function in iSCSI driver will continue polling the network device at TPL_CALLBACK, and waiting the receive event's notify function, which is also a TPL_CALLBACK event, to be execute first. As a result, the whole iSCSI stack falls into a deadlock, no packet could be delivered to the upper layer drivers.

How DPC solve the problem

The edk2 network stack solves this deadlock problem by introducing the DPC protocol. Whenever a driver want to call the asynchronous transmit or receive function, it creates an event with TPL_NOTIFY instead of TPL_CALLBACK. The notify function won't really process the packet, it only queues a new DPC Procedure and return. Later, the DPC Procedure will be dispatched at TPL_CALLBACK, and complete the whole task of the packet processing. With this technique, the deadlock is avoided by using a high level TPL event, and the packets are still processed in the required TPL_CALLBACK level.

ARP Receive

Still take the receive path of ARP for example. The ARP driver creates an event as the MNP receive token, whose notify function is ArpOnFrameRcvd() and notify TPL set to TPL_NOTIFY. When the Mnp->Poll() receives a new packet and signals this receive event, the ArpOnFrameRcvd() will execute immediately (because it's a TPL_NOTIFY event, which could interrupt any network task whose TPL <= TPL_CALLBACK). The ArpOnFrameRcvd() calls QueueDpc() to queue a new DPC Procedure ArpOnFrameRcvdDpc() at TPL_CALLBACK and return. Later, the Mnp->Poll() calls the DispatchDpc(), to dispatch the DPC Procedure queued by the notify function of the receive token's event, which finally executes the ArpOnFrameRcvdDpc() in this case.

How does DPC relate to UEFI network stack

DPC protocol is not a standardized solution in UEFI specification. It adds additional complexity to the UEFI network drivers since the code logic must be carefully arranged to queue and dispatch the DPCs to ensure the stack running correctly (see the "Rules, limitations and assumptions" below). However, in order to solve the TPL lock issue we discussed before, almost all edk2 network stack drivers adopt the DPC solution in the asynchronous interface, including the transmitting and receiving path.

Although DPC protocol is designed to solve a particular problem in the UEFI network stack, it's not saying it can only be used in the network stack. Any UEFI drivers and applications could also use the DPC protocol for solving similar problem as long as needed.

Library Interface (DpcLib)

Edk2 also provides a library interface DpcLib, which is a simple encapsulation of the DPC protocol. The library wraps the 2 interfaces and accepts same parameters except the "This" pointer as the protocol interface. The library interface is more user-friendly since it reduces a LocateProtocol() call from the user.

[LibraryClasses]
  # MdeModulePkg/Include/Library/DpcLib.h
  DpcLib|MdeModulePkg/Library/DxeDpcLib/DxeDpcLib.inf

The following code fragment shows a simple example of using the DpcLib.

#include <Library/DpcLib.h>

/**
  DPC Procedure.
**/
VOID
EFIAPI
EventHandlerDpc (
  IN VOID      *Context
  )
{
  //
  // We are running at TPL_CALLBACK.
  // Data is really processed in this function.
  //
  ...
}

/**
  Event notify function.
**/
VOID
EFIAPI
EventHandler (
  IN EFI_EVENT Event,
  IN VOID      *Context
  )
{
  //
  // We are running at TPL_NOTIFY.
  // Queue EventHandlerDpc as a DPC Procedure at TPL_CALLBACK
  //
  QueueDpc (TPL_CALLBACK, EventHandlerDpc, Context);
}

/*
  Sample code to create event, signal event and dispatch the DPC Procedure.

  This function must be called at the TPL level <= TPL_CALLBACK.
*/
VOID
CodeSample (
  VOID
  )
{
  EFI_EVENT   Event;
  VOID        *Context;

  //
  // Create a TPL_NOTIFY event.
  //
  gBS->CreateEvent (
         EVT_NOTIFY_SIGNAL,
         TPL_NOTIFY,
         EventHandler,
         Context,
         &Event
         );

  //
  // Signal the event.
  //
  gBS->SignalEvent (Event);

  //
  // Dispatch the DPC Procedure.
  //
  DispatchDpc();
}

Assumptions, Limitations and Rules when using DPC

The module writer must be familiar with the matters below about DPC before using it.

DispatchDpc() can be Nested

If the DispatchDpc() is called again in a dispatched DPC Procedure, it will first execute the next DPC Procedure in the queue, then return to the original code.

The writer of the DPC Procedure must realize that the function may be interrupted when it calls the DispatchDpc() interface, or any other interfaces which eventually lead to a DispatchDpc(), such as to transmit a network packet, which finally calls Mnp->Transmit() with a DispatchDpc() in it.

/*
  Consider we have queued 3 DPC Procedures with same TPL level as below.
  DPC Queue: DpcFun_A -> DpcFun_B -> DpcFun_C
*/
DpcFun_A()
{
  Fun_A_Part1;
  DispatchDpc();
  Fun_A_Part2;
}

DpcFun_B()
{
  Fun_B_Part1;
  QueueDpc(TPL_CALLBACK, DpcFun_A, NULL);   // Add DpcFun_A() to the end of the DPC queue.
  Fun_B_Part2;
  DispatchDpc();
  Fun_B_Part3;
}

DpcFun_C()
{
  Fun_C;
}

/*
  Now if someone calls DispatchDpc(), the code flow will now looks as below:
*/
DispatchDpc()
{
  DpcFun_A()                  // 1st DPC Procedure in the queue.
  {
    Fun_A_Part1;
    DispatchDpc()
    {
      DpcFun_B()              // 2nd DPC Procedure in the queue.
      {
        Fun_B_Part1;
        QueueDpc(TPL_CALLBACK, DpcFun_A, NULL);   // Add DpcFun_A() to the end of the queue.
        Fun_B_Part2;
        DispatchDpc()
        {
          DpcFun_C()          // 3rd DPC Procedure in the queue.
          {
            Fun_C;
          }
          DpcFun_A()          // 4th DPC Procedure in the queue.
          {
            Fun_A_Part1;
            DispatchDpc();    // No more DPC Procedure now.
            Fun_A_Part2;
          }
        }
        Fun_B_Part3;
      }
    }
    Fun_A_Part2;
  }
}

Never Poll an I/O device in a DPC Procedure

The writer should avoid polling the I/O device in a DPC Procedure, especially in the data read/receive path.

Take the network device for example. If there is already a network frame in the network device's receive ring, the Mnp->Poll() will pick it from the device, signal event to queue a new DPC Procedure, and call DispatchDpc() to deliver the packet to upper layer driver. This means if a DPC Procedure polls the network, a new network packet will be delivered to the upper layer driver, which may finally run into the original DPC Procedure again. It will bring lots of complexities to the upper layer driver, like a serial of nested DPC call, or an infinite recursion of receive-poll-receive...

MnpPoll()
{
  ...
  MnpReceive()
  {
    ...
    MnpInstanceDeliverPacket()
    {
      ...
      //
      // Signal event of IP driver's receive token, which will queue a new DPC
      // Procedure immediately, see Ip4OnFrameReceived() and Ip6OnFrameReceived()
      //
      gBS->SignalEvent (RxToken->Event);
    }
  }
  DispatchDpc ();
}

Choose a proper place to dispatch the DPC

The dispatching of previous queued DPCs is not guaranteed by the firmware or the DPC driver. Instead, the UEFI driver or application that calls QueueDpc() is responsible for calling DispatchDpc() to dispatch it.

  • UEFI applications that call QueueDpc() must call DispatchDpc() before they exit to guarantee that all queued DPCs have been dispatched.
  • UEFI drivers that call QueueDpc() must call DispatchDpc() before they unload to guarantee that all queued DPCs have been dispatched
  • UEFI drivers the follow the EFI Driver Model and call QueueDpc() using a device specific context must call DispatchDpc() from their EFI Driver Binding Stop() function to guarantee that all DPCs for that device are dispatched before the device specific context structures are freed.

However, it's not encouraged to queue a lot of DPCs and dispatch them together before exiting. As we discussed before, multiple DPCs in the queue will result in nested DPC calls, and bring additional complexity to the upper layer driver. In Edk2 network stack, it is required to call the QueueDpc() and DispatchDpc() always in pairs, or in other words, always try to call DispatchDpc() immediately after a SignalEvent() which may queue a new DPC procedure, otherwise the upper layer drivers will malfunction. For example, a particular implementation of the MNP driver want to receive multiple packets in the MnpPoll(). So it calls gBS->SignalEvent() for every received packet, then uses a single DispatchDpc() to dispatch them as below.

// Bad example
MnpPoll()
{
  while (...) {
    MnpReceive()
    {
      MnpInstanceDeliverPacket()
      {
        gBS->SignalEvent (RxToken->Event);
      }
    }
  }
  DispatchDpc ();    // Dispatch several DPC procedures together - NOT good
}

The above implementation will result in nested DPC calls as we discussed before, and cause a failure in TCP/UDP driver. The correct practice is to dispatch the DPC procedure inside the while loop, so these DPC procedures will be dispatched separately.

// Good example
MnpPoll()
{
  while (...) {
    MnpReceive()
    {
      MnpInstanceDeliverPacket()
      {
        gBS->SignalEvent (RxToken->Event);
      }
    }
    DispatchDpc ();
  }
}

Finally, make sure the DispatchDpc() is called at a right TPL level so it won't miss any previously queued DPCs. Remember that the DispatchDpc() dispatches all the DPCs that is greater than or equal to the current TPL value.

Related Pages

NetworkPkg Getting Started Guide

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