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SubjectRe: Re: [RFC PATCH 0/6] virtio-trace: Support virtio-trace
Hi Amit,

Thank you for commenting on our work.

(2012/07/26 20:35), Amit Shah wrote:
> On (Tue) 24 Jul 2012 [11:36:57], Yoshihiro YUNOMAE wrote:


>> Therefore, we propose a new system "virtio-trace", which uses enhanced
>> virtio-serial and existing ring-buffer of ftrace, for collecting guest kernel
>> tracing data. In this system, there are 5 main components:
>> (1) Ring-buffer of ftrace in a guest
>> - When trace agent reads ring-buffer, a page is removed from ring-buffer.
>> (2) Trace agent in the guest
>> - Splice the page of ring-buffer to read_pipe using splice() without
>> memory copying. Then, the page is spliced from write_pipe to virtio
>> without memory copying.
> I really like the splicing idea.

Thanks. We will improve this patch set.

>> (3) Virtio-console driver in the guest
>> - Pass the page to virtio-ring
>> (4) Virtio-serial bus in QEMU
>> - Copy the page to kernel pipe
>> (5) Reader in the host
>> - Read guest tracing data via FIFO(named pipe)
> So will this be useful only if guest and host run the same kernel?
> I'd like to see the host kernel not being used at all -- collect all
> relevant info from the guest and send it out to qemu, where it can be
> consumed directly by apps driving the tracing.

No, this patch set is used only for guest kernels, so guest and host
don't need to run the same kernel.

>> ***Evaluation***
>> When a host collects tracing data of a guest, the performance of using
>> virtio-trace is compared with that of using native(just running ftrace),
>> IVRing, and virtio-serial(normal method of read/write).
> Why is tracing performance-sensitive? i.e. why try to optimise this
> at all?

To minimize effects for applications on guests when a host collects
tracing data of guests.
For example, we assume the situation where guests A and B are running
on a host sharing I/O device. An I/O delay problem occur in guest A,
but it doesn't for the requirement in guest B. In this case, we need to
collect tracing data of guests A and B, but a usual method using
network takes high load for applications of guest B even if guest B is
normally running. Therefore, we try to decrease the load on guests.
We also use this feature for performance analysis on production
virtualization systems.


>> ***Just enhancement ideas***
>> - Support for trace-cmd
>> - Support for 9pfs protocol
>> - Support for non-blocking mode in QEMU
> There were patches long back (by me) to make chardevs non-blocking but
> they didn't make it upstream. Fedora carries them, if you want to try
> out. Though we want to converge on a reasonable solution that's
> acceptable upstream as well. Just that no one's working on it
> currently. Any help here will be appreciated.

Thanks! In this case, since a guest will stop to run when host reads
trace data of the guest, char device is needed to add a non-blocking
mode. I'll read your patch series. Is the latest version 8?

>> - Make "vhost-serial"
> I need to understand a) why it's perf-critical, and b) why should the
> host be involved at all, to comment on these.

a) To make collecting overhead decrease for application on a guest.
(see above)
b) Trace data of host kernel is not involved even if we introduce this
patch set.

Thank you,

Yoshihiro YUNOMAE
Software Platform Research Dept. Linux Technology Center
Hitachi, Ltd., Yokohama Research Laboratory

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