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SubjectRe: Kernel marker has no performance impact on ia64.
* Peter Zijlstra (peterz@infradead.org) wrote:
> On Mon, 2008-06-02 at 19:21 -0400, Mathieu Desnoyers wrote:
> > * Peter Zijlstra (peterz@infradead.org) wrote:
> > > On Mon, 2008-06-02 at 18:12 -0400, Hideo AOKI wrote:
> > > > Hello,
> > > >
> > > > I evaluated overhead of kernel marker using linux-2.6-sched-fixes
> > > > git tree, which includes several markers for LTTng, using an ia64
> > > > server.
> > > >
> > > > While the immediate trace mark feature isn't implemented on ia64,
> > > > there is no major performance regression. So, I think that we
> > > > don't have any issues to propose merging marker point patches
> > > > into Linus's tree from the viewpoint of performance impact.
> > >
> > > Performance is atm the least of the concerns regarding this work.
> > >
> > > I'm still convinced markers are too ugly to live.
> > >
> > > I also worry greatly about the fact that its too easy to expose too much
> > > to user-space. There are no clear rules and the free form marker format
> > > just begs for an inconsistent mess to arise.
> > >
> > > IMHO the current free-form trace_mark() should be removed from the tree
> > > - its great for ad-hoc debugging but its a disaster waiting to happen
> > > for anything else. Anybody doing ad-hoc debugging can patch it in
> > > themselves if needed.
> > >
> > > Regular trace points can be custom made; this has the advantages that it
> > > raises the implementation barrier and hopefully that encourages some
> > > thought in the process. It also avoid the code from growing into
> > > something that looks like someone had a long night of debugging.
> > >
> >
> > Maybe we could settle for an intermediate solution : I agree with you
> > that defining the trace points in headers, like you did for the
> > scheduler, makes the code much cleaner and makes things much easier to
> > maintain afterward. However, having the trace_mark mechanism underneath
> > helps a lot in plugging a generic tracer (actually, if we can settle the
> > marker issue, I've got a kernel tracer, LTTng, that I've been waiting
> > for quite a while to push to mainline that I would like to post someday).
> >
> > So I would be in favor of requiring tracing statements to be described
> > in static inline functions, in header files, that could preferably call
> > trace_mark() and optionally also call other in-kernel tracers directly.
> >
> > Ideally, we could re-use the immediate values infrastructure to control
> > activation of these trace points with minimal impact on the system.
> >
> > One of my goal is to provide a mechanism that can feed both non-debug
> > and debug information to a generic tracing mechanism to allow
> > system-wide analysis of the kernel, both for production system and
> > kernel debugging.
>
> So are you proposing something like:
>
> static inline void
> trace_sched_switch(struct task_struct *prev, struct task_struct *next)
> {
> trace_mark(sched_switch, prev, next);
> }
>

Not exactly. Something more along the lines of

static inline void
trace_sched_switch(struct task_struct *prev, struct task_struct *next)
{
/* Internal tracers. */
ftrace_sched_switch(prev, next);
othertracer_sched_switch(prev, next);
/*
* System-wide tracing. Useful information is exported here.
* Probes connecting to these markers are expected to only use the
* information provided to them for data collection purpose. Type
* casting pointers is discouraged.
*/
trace_mark(kernel_sched_switch, "prev_pid %d next_pid %d prev_state %ld",
prev->pid, next->pid, prev->state);
}
> dropping the silly fmt string but using the multiplex of trace_mark, and
> then doing the stringify bit:
>
> "prev_pid %d next_pid %d prev_state %ld\n"
>
> in the actual tracer?
>

It would make much more sense to put this formatting information along
with the trace point (e.g. in a a kernel/sched-trace.h header) rather
that to hide it in a tracer (loadable module) because this information
is an interface to the trace point.

>
> IMHO the 'type safety' of the fmt string is over-rated, since it cannot
> distinguish between a task_struct * or a bio *, both are a pointers -
> and half arsed type safely is worse than no type safety.
>

I totally agree with you that not having the capacity to inspect pointer
types is a problem for tracers which wants to receive the "raw" pointer
and deal with the data they need like big boys. On the other hand, it
requires them to be closely tied to the kernel internals and therefore
it makes sense to call them directly from the tracing site, thus
bypassing the marker format string.

However, letting the marker specify the data format so a tracer could
format it into a memory buffer (in a binary or text format, depending on
the implementation) or so that a tool like systemtap can use this
identified information without having to be closely tied to the kernel
makes sense to me.

Mathieu

--
Mathieu Desnoyers
OpenPGP key fingerprint: 8CD5 52C3 8E3C 4140 715F BA06 3F25 A8FE 3BAE 9A68


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