[lkml]   [2017]   [Sep]   [5]   [last100]   RSS Feed
Views: [wrap][no wrap]   [headers]  [forward] 
Messages in this thread
Patch in this message
Subject[PATCH v2 37/40] tracing: Add inter-event hist trigger Documentation
Add background and details on inter-event hist triggers, including
hist variables, synthetic events, and actions.

Signed-off-by: Tom Zanussi <>
Signed-off-by: Baohong Liu <>
Documentation/trace/events.txt | 385 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
1 file changed, 385 insertions(+)

diff --git a/Documentation/trace/events.txt b/Documentation/trace/events.txt
index f271d87..7ee720b 100644
--- a/Documentation/trace/events.txt
+++ b/Documentation/trace/events.txt
@@ -571,6 +571,7 @@ The following commands are supported:
.sym-offset display an address as a symbol and offset
.syscall display a syscall id as a system call name
.execname display a common_pid as a program name
+ .usecs display a $common_timestamp in microseconds

Note that in general the semantics of a given field aren't
interpreted when applying a modifier to it, but there are some
@@ -2101,3 +2102,387 @@ The following commands are supported:
Hits: 489
Entries: 7
Dropped: 0
+6.3 Inter-event hist triggers
+Inter-event hist triggers are hist triggers that combine values from
+one or more other events and create a histogram using that data. Data
+from an inter-event histogram can in turn become the source for
+further combined histograms, thus providing a chain of related
+histograms, which is important for some applications.
+The most important example of an inter-event quantity that can be used
+in this manner is latency, which is simply a difference in timestamps
+between two events (although trace events don't have an externally
+visible timestamp field, the inter-event hist trigger support adds a
+pseudo-field to all events named '$common_timestamp' which can be used
+as if it were an actual event field). Although latency is the most
+important inter-event quantity, note that because the support is
+completely general across the trace event subsystem, any event field
+can be used in an inter-event quantity.
+An example of a histogram that combines data from other histograms
+into a useful chain would be a 'wakeupswitch latency' histogram that
+combines a 'wakeup latency' histogram and a 'switch latency'
+Normally, a hist trigger specification consists of a (possibly
+compound) key along with one or more numeric values, which are
+continually updated sums associated with that key. A histogram
+specification in this case consists of individual key and value
+specifications that refer to trace event fields associated with a
+single event type.
+The inter-event hist trigger extension allows fields from multiple
+events to be referenced and combined into a multi-event histogram
+specification. In support of this overall goal, a few enabling
+features have been added to the hist trigger support:
+ - In order to compute an inter-event quantity, a value from one
+ event needs to saved and then referenced from another event. This
+ requires the introduction of support for histogram 'variables'.
+ - The computation of inter-event quantities and their combination
+ require some minimal amount of support for applying simple
+ expressions to variables (+ and -).
+ - A histogram consisting of inter-event quantities isn't logically a
+ histogram on either event (so having the 'hist' file for either
+ event host the histogram output doesn't really make sense). To
+ address the idea that the histogram is associated with a
+ combination of events, support is added allowing the creation of
+ 'synthetic' events that are events derived from other events.
+ These synthetic events are full-fledged events just like any other
+ and can be used as such, as for instance to create the
+ 'combination' histograms mentioned previously.
+ - A set of 'actions' can be associated with histogram entries -
+ these can be used to generate the previously mentioned synthetic
+ events, but can also be used for other purposes, such as for
+ example saving context when a 'max' latency has been hit.
+ - Trace events don't have a 'timestamp' associated with them, but
+ there is an implicit timestamp saved along with an event in the
+ underlying ftrace ring buffer. This timestamp is now exposed as a
+ a synthetic field named '$common_timestamp' which can be used in
+ histograms as if it were any other event field. Note that it has
+ a '$' prefixed to it - this is meant to indicate that it isn't an
+ actual field in the trace format but rather is a synthesized value
+ that nonetheless can be used as if it were an actual field. By
+ default it is in units of nanoseconds; appending '.usecs' to a
+ common_timestamp field changes the units to microseconds.
+These features are decribed in more detail in the following sections.
+6.3.1 Histogram Variables
+Variables are simply named locations used for saving and retrieving
+values between matching events. A 'matching' event is defined as an
+event that has a matching key - if a variable is saved for a histogram
+entry corresponding to that key, any subsequent event with a matching
+key can access that variable.
+A variable's value is normally available to any subsequent event until
+it is set to something else by a subsequent event. The one exception
+to that rule is that any variable used in an expression is essentially
+'read-once' - once it's used by an expression in a subsequent event,
+it's reset to its 'unset' state, which means it can't be used again
+unless it's set again. This ensures not only that an event doesn't
+use an uninitialized variable in a calculation, but that that variable
+is used only once and not for any unrelated subsequent match.
+The basic syntax for saving a variable is to simply prefix a unique
+variable name not corresponding to any keyword along with an '=' sign
+to any event field.
+Either keys or values can be saved and retrieved in this way. This
+creates a variable named 'ts0' for a histogram entry with the key
+ # echo 'hist:keys=next_pid:vals=$ts0:ts0=$common_timestamp ... >> \
+ event/trigger
+The ts0 variable can be accessed by any subsequent event having the
+same pid as 'next_pid'.
+Variable references are formed by prepending the variable name with
+the '$' sign. Thus for example, the ts0 variable above would be
+referenced as '$ts0' in expressions.
+Because 'vals=' is used, the $common_timestamp variable value above
+will also be summed as a normal histogram value would (though for a
+timestamp it makes little sense).
+The below shows that a key value can also be saved in the same way:
+ # echo 'hist:timer_pid=common_pid:key=timer_pid ...' >> event/trigger
+If a variable isn't a key variable or prefixed with 'vals=', the
+associated event field will be saved in a variable but won't be summed
+as a value:
+ # echo 'hist:keys=next_pid:ts1=$common_timestamp ... >> event/trigger
+Multiple variables can be assigned at the same time. The below would
+result in both ts0 and b being created as variables, with both
+common_timestamp and field1 additionally being summed as values:
+ # echo 'hist:keys=pid:vals=$ts0,$b:ts0=$common_timestamp,b=field1 ... >> \
+ event/trigger
+Note that variable assignments can appear either preceding or
+following their use. The command below behaves identically to the
+command above:
+ # echo 'hist:keys=pid:ts0=$common_timestamp,b=field1:vals=$ts0,$b ... >> \
+ event/trigger
+Any number of variables not bound to a 'vals=' prefix can also be
+assigned by simply separating them with colons. Below is the same
+thing but without the values being summed in the histogram:
+ # echo 'hist:keys=pid:ts0=$common_timestamp:b=field1 ... >> event/trigger
+Variables set as above can be referenced and used in expressions on
+another event.
+For example, here's how a latency can be calculated:
+ # echo 'hist:keys=pid,prio:ts0=$common_timestamp ... >> event1/trigger
+ # echo 'hist:keys=next_pid:wakeup_lat=$common_timestamp-$ts0 ... >> event2/trigger
+In the first line above, the event's timetamp is saved into the
+variable ts0. In the next line, ts0 is subtracted from the second
+event's timestamp to produce the latency, which is then assigned into
+yet another variable, 'wakeup_lat'. The hist trigger below in turn
+makes use of the wakeup_lat variable to compute a combined latency
+using the same key and variable from yet another event:
+ # echo 'hist:key=pid:wakeupswitch_lat=$wakeup_lat+$switchtime_lat ... >> event3/trigger
+6.3.2 Synthetic Events
+Synthetic events are user-defined events generated from hist trigger
+variables or fields associated with one or more other events. Their
+purpose is to provide a mechanism for displaying data spanning
+multiple events consistent with the existing and already familiar
+usage for normal events.
+To define a synthetic event, the user writes a simple specification
+consisting of the name of the new event along with one or more
+variables and their types, which can be any valid field type,
+separated by semicolons, to the tracing/synthetic_events file.
+For instance, the following creates a new event named 'wakeup_latency'
+with 3 fields: lat, pid, and prio. Each of those fields is simply a
+variable reference to a variable on another event:
+ # echo 'wakeup_latency \
+ u64 lat; \
+ pid_t pid; \
+ int prio' >> \
+ /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/synthetic_events
+Reading the tracing/synthetic_events file lists all the currently
+defined synthetic events, in this case the event defined above:
+ # cat /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/synthetic_events
+ wakeup_latency u64 lat; pid_t pid; int prio
+An existing synthetic event definition can be removed by prepending
+the command that defined it with a '!':
+ # echo '!wakeup_latency u64 lat pid_t pid int prio' >> \
+ /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/synthetic_events
+At this point, there isn't yet an actual 'wakeup_latency' event
+instantiated in the event subsytem - for this to happen, a 'hist
+trigger action' needs to be instantiated and bound to actual fields
+and variables defined on other events (see Section 6.3.3 below).
+Once that is done, an event instance is created, and a histogram can
+be defined using it:
+ # echo 'hist:keys=pid,prio,lat.log2:sort=pid,lat' >> \
+ /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/synthetic/wakeup_latency/trigger
+The new event is created under the tracing/events/synthetic/ directory
+and looks and behaves just like any other event:
+ # ls /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/synthetic/wakeup_latency
+ enable filter format hist id trigger
+Like any other event, once a histogram is enabled for the event, the
+output can be displayed by reading the event's 'hist' file.
+6.3.3 Hist trigger 'actions'
+A hist trigger 'action' is a function that's executed whenever a
+histogram entry is added or updated.
+The default 'action' if no special function is explicity specified is
+as it always has been, to simply update the set of values associated
+with an entry. Some applications, however, may want to perform
+additional actions at that point, such as generate another event, or
+compare and save a maximum.
+The following additional actions are available. To specify an action
+for a given event, simply specify the action between colons in the
+hist trigger specification.
+ - onmatch(matching.event).<synthetic_event_name>(param list)
+ The 'onmatch(matching.event).<synthetic_event_name>(params)' hist
+ trigger action is invoked whenever an event matches and the
+ histogram entry would be added or updated. It causes the named
+ synthetic event to be generated with the values given in the
+ 'param list'. The result is the generation of a synthetic event
+ that consists of the values contained in those variables at the
+ time the invoking event was hit.
+ The 'param list' consists of one or more parameters which may be
+ either variables or fields defined on either the 'matching.event'
+ or the target event. The variables or fields specified in the
+ param list may be either fully-qualified or unqualified. If a
+ variable is specified as unqualified, it must be unique between
+ the two events. A field name used as a param can be unqualified
+ if it refers to the target event, but must be fully qualified if
+ it refers to the matching event. A fully-qualified name is of the
+ form 'system.event_name.$var_name' or 'system.event_name.field'.
+ The 'matching.event' specification is simply the fully qualified
+ event name of the event that matches the target event for the
+ onmatch() functionality, in the form 'system.event_name'.
+ Finally, the number and type of variables/fields in the 'param
+ list' must match the number and types of the fields in the
+ synthetic event being generated.
+ As an example the below defines a simple synthetic event and uses
+ a variable defined on the sched_wakeup_new event as a parameter
+ when invoking the synthetic event. Here we define the synthetic
+ event:
+ # echo 'wakeup_new_test pid_t pid' >> \
+ /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/synthetic_events
+ # cat /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/synthetic_events
+ wakeup_new_test pid_t pid
+ The following hist trigger both defines the missing testpid
+ variable and specifies an onmatch() action that generates a
+ wakeup_new_test synthetic event whenever a sched_wakeup_new event
+ occurs, which because of the 'if comm == "cyclictest"' filter only
+ happens when the executable is cyclictest:
+ # echo 'hist:keys=$testpid:testpid=pid:onmatch(sched.sched_wakeup_new).\
+ wakeup_new_test($testpid) if comm=="cyclictest"' >> \
+ /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/sched/sched_wakeup_new/trigger
+ Creating and displaying a histogram based on those events is now
+ just a matter of using the fields and new synthetic event in the
+ tracing/events/synthetic directory, as usual:
+ # echo 'hist:keys=pid:sort=pid' >> \
+ /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/synthetic/wakeup_new_test/trigger
+ Running 'cyclictest' should cause wakeup_new events to generate
+ wakeup_new_test synthetic events which should result in histogram
+ output in the wakeup_new_test event's hist file:
+ # cat /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/synthetic/wakeup_new_test/hist
+ A more typical usage would be to use two events to calculate a
+ latency. The following example uses a set of hist triggers to
+ produce a 'wakeup_latency' histogram:
+ First, we define a 'wakeup_latency' synthetic event:
+ # echo 'wakeup_latency u64 lat; pid_t pid; int prio' >> \
+ /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/synthetic_events
+ Next, we specify that whenever we see a sched_waking event for a
+ cyclictest thread, save the timestamp in a 'ts0' variable:
+ # echo 'hist:keys=$saved_pid:saved_pid=pid:ts0=$common_timestamp.usecs \
+ if comm=="cyclictest"' >> \
+ /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/sched/sched_waking/trigger
+ Then, when the corresponding thread is actually scheduled onto the
+ CPU by a sched_switch event, calculate the latency and use that
+ along with another variable and an event field to generate a
+ wakeup_latency synthetic event:
+ # echo 'hist:keys=next_pid:wakeup_lat=$common_timestamp.usecs-$ts0:\
+ onmatch(sched.sched_waking).wakeup_latency($wakeup_lat,\
+ $saved_pid,next_prio) if next_comm=="cyclictest"' >> \
+ /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/sched/sched_switch/trigger
+ We also need to create a histogram on the wakeup_latency synthetic
+ event in order to aggregate the generated synthetic event data:
+ # echo 'hist:keys=pid,prio,lat:sort=pid,lat' >> \
+ /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/synthetic/wakeup_latency/trigger
+ Finally, once we've run cyclictest to actually generate some
+ events, we can see the output by looking at the wakeup_latency
+ synthetic event's hist file:
+ # cat /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/synthetic/wakeup_latency/hist
+ - onmax(var).save(field,.. .)
+ The 'onmax(var).save(field,...)' hist trigger action is invoked
+ whenever the value of 'var' associated with a histogram entry
+ exceeds the current maximum contained in that variable.
+ The end result is that the trace event fields specified as the
+ params will be saved if 'var' exceeds the current
+ maximum for that hist trigger entry. This allows context from the
+ event that exhibited the new maximum to be saved for later
+ reference. When the histogram is displayed, additional fields
+ displaying the saved values will be printed.
+ As an example the below defines a couple of hist triggers, one for
+ sched_waking and another for sched_switch, keyed on pid. Whenever
+ a sched_waking occurs, the timestamp is saved in the entry
+ corresponding to the current pid, and when the scheduler switches
+ back to that pid, the timestamp difference is calculated. If the
+ resulting latency, stored in wakeup_lat, exceeds the current
+ maximum latency, the values specified in the save() fields are
+ recoreded:
+ # echo 'hist:keys=pid:ts0=$common_timestamp.usecs \
+ if comm=="cyclictest"' >> \
+ /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/sched/sched_waking/trigger
+ # echo 'hist:keys=next_pid:\
+ wakeup_lat=$common_timestamp.usecs-$ts0:\
+ onmax($wakeup_lat).save(next_comm,prev_pid,prev_prio,prev_comm) \
+ if next_comm=="cyclictest"' >> \
+ /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/sched/sched_switch/trigger
+ When the histogram is displayed, the max value and the saved
+ values corresponding to the max are displayed following the rest
+ of the fields:
+ # cat /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/sched/sched_switch/hist
+ { next_pid: 2255 } hitcount: 239
+ common_timestamp-ts0: 0
+ max: 27
+ next_comm: cyclictest
+ prev_pid: 0 prev_prio: 120 prev_comm: swapper/1
+ { next_pid: 2256 } hitcount: 2355
+ common_timestamp-ts0: 0
+ max: 49 next_comm: cyclictest
+ prev_pid: 0 prev_prio: 120 prev_comm: swapper/0
+ Totals:
+ Hits: 12970
+ Entries: 2
+ Dropped: 0
 \ /
  Last update: 2017-09-06 00:02    [W:0.412 / U:1.232 seconds]
©2003-2017 Jasper Spaans. hosted at Digital OceanAdvertise on this site