To utilize Larges Pages in the host to back your KVM guest one needs to use hugetlbfs. A little bit of setup is needed to get this going.
Host Kernel Config
Your host kernel config needs to have:
hugetlbfs is indeed a pseudo-filesystem, like tmpfs, so you need to mount it somewhere and add an entry to fstab if you want to automatically have it mounted on boot.
% sudo mkdir /hugetlbfs
Add an entry to fstab like this:
hugetlbfs /hugetlbfs hugetlbfs defaults 0 0
Calculate amount number of pages to reserve
On x86, large pages are 2M, so determine the max size of the guest, and with some fudge factor (about 30 pages, completely arbitrary value); we have something like:
HPAGES = $(($GUEST_SIZE_IN_MB / 2) + 30)
For example, a 2G guest would yield 1054 2MB pages.
Reserve large pages after boot
Take your calculated value and echo that into proc quickly after a fresh boot of the machine to ensure you haven't fragmented your memory such that you can't reserve enough large pages.
echo $HPAGES > /proc/sys/vm/nr_hugepages
Check your reservation
You can check whether or not your reservation was successful by looking at /proc/meminfo
% tail -n 5 /proc/meminfo HugePages_Total: 1054 HugePages_Free: 1054 HugePages_Rsvd: 0 HugePages_Surp: 0 Hugepagesize: 2048 kB
Using large page reservation
To use your large page reservation you need to add an option to your guest command line. '-mem-path <path/to/hugetlbfs/mount/point>' If you followed the above commands, then you would add '-mem-path /hugetlbfs'
Checking large page usage
After launching your guest with large pages, you can check that your guest is using the large pages by sampling the HugePages_Free value from /proc/meminfo. This value should go down as your guest pages in memory.