Re: [RFC][PATCH 00/21] tracing: Inter-event (e.g. latency) support

From: Namhyung Kim
Date: Thu Feb 09 2017 - 23:17:11 EST

Hi Tom,

On Wed, Feb 08, 2017 at 11:24:56AM -0600, Tom Zanussi wrote:
> This patchset adds support for 'inter-event' quantities to the trace
> event subsystem. The most important example of inter-event quantities
> are latencies, or the time differences between two events.
> One of the main motivations for adding this capability is to provide a
> general-purpose base that existing existing tools such as the -RT
> latency_hist patchset can be built upon, while at the same time
> providing a simple way for users to track latencies (or any
> inter-event quantity) generically between any two events.
> Previous -RT latency_hist patchsets that take advantage of the trace
> event subsystem have been submitted, but they essentially hard-code
> special-case tracepoints and application logic in ways that can't be
> reused. It seemed to me that rather than providing a one-off patchset
> devoted specifically to generating the specific histograms in the
> latency_hist patchset, it should be possible to build the same
> functionality on top of a generic layer allowing users to do similar
> things for other non-latency_hist applications.
> In addition to preliminary patches that add some basic missing
> functionality such as a common ringbuffer-derived timestamp and
> dynamically-creatable tracepoints, the overall patchset is divided up
> into a few different areas that combine to produce the overall goal
> (The Documentation patch explains all the details):

Looks very nice!

> - variables and simple expressions required to calculate a latency
> In order to calculate a latency or any inter-event value,
> something from one event needs to be saved and later retrieved,
> and some operation such as subtraction or addition is performed on
> it. This means some minimal form of variables and expressions,
> which the first set of patches implements. Saving and retrieving
> events to use in a latency calculation is normally done using a
> hash table, and that's exactly what we have with trace event hist
> triggers, so that's where variables are instantiated, set, and
> retrieved. Basically, variables are set on one entry and
> retrieved and used by a 'matching' event.
> - 'synthetic' events, combining variables from other events
> The trace event interface is based on pseudo-files associated with
> individual events, so it wouldn't really make sense to have
> quantities derived from multiple events attached to any one of
> those events. For that reason, the patchset implements a means of
> combining variables from other events into a separate 'synthetic'
> event, which can be treated as if it were just like any other
> trace event in the system.
> - 'actions' generating synthetic events, among other things
> Variables and synthetic events provide the data and data structure
> for new events, but something still needs to actually generate an
> event using that data. 'Actions' are expanded to provide that
> capability. Though it hasn't been explicitly called as much
> before, the default 'action' currently for a hist trigger is to
> update the matching histogram entry's sum values. This patchset
> essentially expands that to provide a new 'onmatch.trace(event)'
> action that can be used to have one event generate another. The
> mechanism is extensible to other actions, and in fact the patchset
> also includes another, 'onmax(var).save(field,...)' that can be
> used to save context whenever a value exceeds the previous maximum
> (something also needed by latency_hist).
> I'm submitting the patchset (based on tracing/for-next) as an RFC not
> only to get comments, but because there are still some problems I
> haven't fixed yet...
> Here are some examples that should make things less abstract.
> ====
> Example - wakeup latency
> ====
> This basically implements the -RT latency_hist 'wakeup_latency'
> histogram using the synthetic events, variables, and actions
> described. The output below is from a run of cyclictest using the
> following command:
> # rt-tests/cyclictest -p 80 -n -s -t 2
> What we're measuring the latency of is the time between when a
> thread (of cyclictest) is awakened and when it's scheduled in. To
> do that we add triggers to sched_wakeup and sched_switch with the
> appropriate variables, and on a matching sched_switch event,
> generate a synthetic 'wakeup_latency' event. Since it's just
> another trace event like any other, we can also define a histogram
> on that event, the output of which is what we see displayed when
> reading the wakeup_latency 'hist' file.
> First, we create a synthetic event called wakeup_latency, that
> references 3 variables from other events:
> # echo 'wakeup_latency lat=sched_switch:wakeup_lat \
> pid=sched_switch:woken_pid \
> prio=sched_switch:woken_prio' >> \
> /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/synthetic_events
> Next we add a trigger to sched_wakeup, which saves the value of the
> 'common_timestamp' when that event is hit in a variable, ts0. Note
> that this happens only when 'comm==cyclictest'.
> Also, 'common_timestamp' is a new field defined on every event (if
> needed - if there are no users of timestamps in a trace, timestamps
> won't be saved and there's no additional overhead from that).
> # echo 'hist:keys=pid:ts0=common_timestamp.usecs if \
> comm=="cyclictest"' >> \
> /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/sched/sched_wakeup/trigger
> Next, we add a trigger to sched_switch. When the pid being switched
> to matches the pid woken up by a previous sched_wakeup event, this
> event grabs the ts0 saved on that event, takes the difference
> between it and the current sched_switch's common_timestamp, and
> assigns it to a new 'wakeup_lat' variable. It also saves a couple
> other variables and then invokes the onmatch().trace() action which
> generates a new wakeup_latency event using those variables.
> # echo 'hist:keys=woken_pid=next_pid:woken_prio=next_prio:\
> wakeup_lat=common_timestamp.usecs-ts0:onmatch().trace(wakeup_latency) \
> if next_comm=="cyclictest"' >> \
> /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/sched/sched_switch/trigger

As Masami said, I think the syntax is a bit hard to understand. Also
it'd be nice to access an event field directly (i.e. not by adding a
field in a hist). Maybe we can use a prefix like '$' to identify hist

How about below?

# echo 'wakeup_latency \
lat=sched_switch.$wakeup_lat \
pid=sched_switch.next_pid \
prio=sched_switch.next_prio' >> \

# echo 'hist: \
keys=pid: \
ts0=common_timestamp.usec \
if comm=="cyclictest"' >> \

# echo 'hist: \
keys=next_pid: \
wakeup_lat=common_timestamp.usec-$ts0: \
onmatch(sched_wakeup).trace(wakeup_latency) \
if next_comm=="cyclictest"' >> \

By passing an event name to 'onmatch', we can know where to find $ts0
easily IMHO.