Re: [PATCH] perf: Fix inconsistency between IP and callchainsampling

From: Frederic Weisbecker
Date: Mon Jan 18 2010 - 05:43:20 EST

On Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 04:47:07PM +1100, Anton Blanchard wrote:
> When running perf across all cpus with backtracing (-a -g), sometimes we
> get samples without associated backtraces:
> 23.44% init [kernel] [k] restore
> 11.46% init eeba0c [k] 0x00000000eeba0c
> 6.77% swapper [kernel] [k] .perf_ctx_adjust_freq
> 5.73% init [kernel] [k] .__trace_hcall_entry
> 4.69% perf [.] 0x0000000006bb8c
> |
> |--11.11%-- 0xfffa941bbbc
> It turns out the backtrace code has a check for the idle task and the IP
> sampling does not. This creates problems when profiling an interrupt
> heavy workload (in my case 10Gbit ethernet) since we get no backtraces
> for interrupts received while idle (ie most of the workload).

Agreed, the arch backtrace code is not well suited to decide this.

> Right now x86 and sh check that current is not NULL, which should never
> happen so remove that too.

Yeah. Unless we can have backtraces in pretty rare places
where current is unavailable. But I guess not.

> Signed-off-by: Anton Blanchard <anton@xxxxxxxxx>

Reviewed-by: Frederic Weisbecker <fweisbec@xxxxxxxxx>

> The exclusion of idle tasks should be in the common perf events code,
> perhaps keying off the exclude_idle field. It should also ensure that
> we weren't in an interrupt at the time.

We have exclude_idle but it has only effects on cpu clock events:

if (regs) {
if (!(event->attr.exclude_idle && current->pid == 0))
if (perf_event_overflow(event, 0, &data, regs))

I think the exclude_idle check should move into perf_event_overflow(),
to enforce its semantics and apply it to every software events.
I'm preparing a patch for that.

(.. Even better would have been to schedule out exclude_idle events when we
enter idle. But currently this is a single event attribute, not a
group attribute, which would make such individual scheduling game a
bit insane. My guess is that it should have been a group attribute,
to keep the group counting consistent, so that its scope could have
been broader, to the point of deactivating hardware events on idle, etc...
But now the ABI is fixed.. )

Concerning interrupts that happen in idle, I think we should filter
these if exclude_idle = 1. That looks more something a user may
want: if we don't want to profile idle, neither do we want to encumber with
interrupts that occur inside. On the opposite, if someone wants a finegrained
profile, let's get idle and its interrupts.

What do you guys think about that?

> I also notice this:
> if (is_user && current->state != TASK_RUNNING)
> But I'm not exactly sure what that will catch. When would we get a userspace
> sample from something that isnt running?

Not sure either...


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