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From: "Metzger, Markus T" <>
To: "Roland McGrath" <>
Cc: "Ingo Molnar" <>,
	"Stephane Eranian" <>,
	<>, <>
Subject: RE: ptrace API extensions for BTS
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008 10:32:42 -0000	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <20080130072557.EC73C26F9A7@magilla.localdomain>

>From: Roland McGrath [] 
>Sent: Mittwoch, 30. Januar 2008 08:26
>To: Metzger, Markus T

>I think this work has a great deal of overlap with the 
>perfmon2 project.
>There are two facets that overlap, which together are the 
>whole BTS feature.
>The same x86 "debug store" hardware is programmed for both the 
>BTS and the
>performance monitoring features.  The implementations clearly have to
>cooperate on managing that hardware.  Your ds.c is a start in the right
>direction, to abstract the hardware configuration from the BTS 
>feature and
>its interface.  I'm not familiar with the perfmon2 code, but 
>it may have
>something similar already.

I am not familiar with the perfmon project. I looked briefly at
arch/x86/kernel/cpu/perfctr-watchdog.c and before I started this, I
grep'ed for DS_AREA to find out who else is using it, but did not find

As far as I know, performance monitoring can be done in two ways:
- collect performance event counts
- collect machine state samples on (the n-th) performance event(s)

The former is done entirely in registers. The latter (spelled PEBS) uses
a buffer to store the machine state samples.

The configuration of this buffer shares the DS SAVE_AREA MSR with the
configuration of BTS. That is, DS_AREA points to a struct that
configures both BTS and PEBS.

My first impression of perfctr-watchdog is that is collects events and
does not use PEBS at all. There is neither a conflict nor an overlap.

I do agree that they share a common interest. Both collect information
about a task's execution. The information they collect is disjoint,

>The rest of the BTS feature is the buffer management and the interface.
>It has to deal with the hardware buffer setup, context switching, and
>overflow interrupts, and delivering data from the hardware 
>buffers to the
>interface in appropriate formats.  We'd also like it to be 
>able to trace
>kernel-mode as well as user-mode, and either deliver combined data or
>segregate the data between the two for user-space and 
>kernel-space users
>who need not know about each other's tracing.

Kernel mode users would want a per-cpu (system) trace, whereas user mode
users would want a per-task trace.

So far, I thought that you could have either or. I'm beginning to think
that you could serve both at the same time if you are willing to accept
a few hiccups in the system trace.

For a system trace, we would stick with the per-task trace but trace all
tasks. We would need to extend the trace format to encode the cpuid.
This would allow us to serve all per-task trace requests. On a system
trace request, we would combine the per-task traces to for a (mostly
complete) per-cpu system trace.

I'm afraid that this would require us to move the buffers to pageable
memory; something I was very much against, so far.

This logic would be shared between performance monitoring and last
branch recording.

>I don't much like the way you've shoe-horned the 
>context-switch timestamp
>logging into the BTS feature.  It's a nice feature to have in 
>some form,
>and I sympathize with your seeing it as easy pickings once you had the
>BTS buffer machinery handy.  But really it is not part of the 
>BTS feature
>and there is nothing arch-dependent about it.  Given some other general
>thing providing the buffer management et al, that could just be done in
>schedule(), i.e.:
>		departs(prev);
>		context_switch(rq, prev, next); /* unlocks the rq */
>		arrives(prev);

I agree that this is not arch dependent.

I need the context-switch timestamps in the BTS trace, though, and the
BTS buffer is arch dependent. Since there is only one arch that supports
this, at the moment, I just put it there.

Once we get more archs, it would begin to make sense to introduce
another layer and have the context-switch timestamps taken in
schedule(). The functionality still needs to be provided by the arch
(which knows about the BTS format), so I wonder whether it would not
cause more work and confusion than it helps.

>If there is a general thing for event-reporting from perfmon2 or
>whatever, then it might be natural to have the context-switch event
>reports configurable to different record formats you might be using 
>for other things.  For a BTS-style record, I would use:
>     departs: { .from = task_pt_regs(prev)->ip, .to = jiffies, 
>.flag = MAGIC1 }
>     arrives: { .from = jiffies, .to = task_pt_regs(next)->ip, 
>.flag = MAGIC2 }
>     MAGIC1 = 0xffff0001
>     MAGIC2 = 0xffff0002

You put the magic into the flags field, I put it into an escape from

The flags variant seems more natural to me and I like your way of
reading it; the escape address variant could be implemented on arch's
that do not support an extra field.

I don't have a strong preference, either way. If there is going to be a
new abstraction layer, I would leave it to the arch.

>I'm no expert on perfmon2 and I understand there are many issues to be
>resolved to get it into the kernel.  But if you are not 
>desperate to have
>the BTS feature in the kernel ASAP, it would ideal IMHO if you can work
>with Stephane et al on putting this work together.

I would like to see the per-task BTS feature in the kernel and
accessible from user space.

This would allow people to program against the API and start using the
hardware's feature for application debugging.

Do you have concerns regarding the user API? 

On the other hand, I see the possibility and the necessity to provide a
common kernel interface for all kinds of task and system profiling - and
maybe a user interface, as well.

I do see the two parts independent from each other, though.

The BTS patch series establishes the user API for branch recording and
implements the technique most useful for debuggers. It allows one aspect
of it to be used right away.

We are discussing extensions that happen behind the scenes to make this
more useful from inside the kernel and to structure it in a better way.

I would be happy to work with Stephane to get this additional work done.

>I'd like to see the
>work go into the kernel in much smaller pieces even than your BTS patch
>set that's in -mm.  The first thing is just the DS hardware management,
>context switch and hardware-facing parts of the buffer 
>management (one or
>three or fourth small bisect-friendly patches just for that much).  If
>you and Stephane can hash out a fresh patch that provides what you both
>need for that, that would be a great start.  

I think that the low-level parts are pretty much disjoint - unless I
completely missed the PEBS aspect of perfmon. That would leave the patch
pretty much as it is.

>Personally, I'd prefer to
>abandon the ptrace extensions altogether in favor of some generalized
>event buffer interface that comes from merging perfmon2.  But if you
>still want to do the ptrace interface, it can be built on the shared
>DS-management code.  What do you think?

I think that the ptrace interface is useful for the debugging aspect of

The way it was written, it is intended to be extended to cover other
events, as well. Whether we want to actually extend it or use some other
mechanism is another question.

I would prefer the two features to live independently in the kernel
while Stephane, I, and whoever is interested work on identifying
commonalities and merge the two features.

I would like to start with a better understanding of perfmon. If I grep
for perfmon, I find arch/x86/kernel/cpu/perfctr-watchdog.c and
include/asm-x86/intel_arch_perfmon.h. Could someone point me to more
information and more source files?

I see a lot of hits in arch/ia64, though. Is there a project to extend
this to arch/x86?

thanks and regards,
Intel GmbH
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  reply	other threads:[~2008-01-30 10:33 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 12+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2007-12-07  9:11 Metzger, Markus T
2007-12-07 11:18 ` Andi Kleen
2007-12-07 12:01   ` Metzger, Markus T
2007-12-07 13:04     ` Andi Kleen
2007-12-07 13:36       ` Metzger, Markus T
2008-01-30  7:25 ` Roland McGrath
2008-01-30 10:32   ` Metzger, Markus T [this message]
2008-01-30 11:01     ` stephane eranian
2008-01-30 12:52       ` Metzger, Markus T
2008-01-30 13:39         ` stephane eranian
2008-01-31 11:15         ` stephane eranian
2008-01-31 17:45           ` Metzger, Markus T

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