Re: [patch 0/4] Port KVM-trace to tracepoints

From: Avi Kivity
Date: Tue Jul 22 2008 - 14:43:19 EST

Mathieu Desnoyers wrote:

Here is a port of KVM-trace, currently using macros on top of the Linux Markers,
to tracepoints. Note that I cleaned up the instrumentation too, so stuff like

KVMTRACE_3D(CR_WRITE, vcpu, (u32)cr,
(u32)kvm_register_read(vcpu, reg),
(u32)((u64)kvm_register_read(vcpu, reg) >> 32),

Sprinkled all across the KVM C code becomes :

trace_kvm_cr_write(vcpu, cr, reg);

Which looks much nicer, IMHO.

It applies on top of linux-next patch-v2.6.26-next-20080715.

It does look nicer; but it means maintaining tracepoints becomes much harder, because the information is scattered across many files.

kvm tracepoints are heavily tied into the implementation; and making them harder to write means we will have less information. In fact, I am contemplating moving in another direction (when looking at the pgprintk()s scattered around arch/x86/kvm/mmu.c:

kvm_trace("pfentry", "page_fault entry addr %lx error code %x\n", cr2, error_code);

Unlike printk()s, no actual formatting would occur during runtime. Instead, at initialization time all the strings would be parsed into a data structure that describes the data types, and the runtime would simply consult this structure and copy the arguments into trace records. User space would also be able to pull this structure and so recreate the formatted string.

The advantages I see to this are:

- easy to add traces; the most important advantage
- when the code changes, obsolete traces are completely removed
- good performance
- no need to have a formats file in userspace (which is tied to the kernel version)
- can also send printk()s along, for synchronization with other kvm and kernel events

In fact, why not convert printk() to do this, making it a high-performance logging system? Of course it would retain the dmesg interface, but we could say that messages at the KERN_TRACE level bypass dmesg and only go to the trace system.

I have a truly marvellous patch that fixes the bug which this
signature is too narrow to contain.

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