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SubjectRe: [RFC] perf: need to expose sched_clock to correlate user samples with kernel samples
On 02/05/2013 02:13 PM, Stephane Eranian wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 3:18 PM, Pawel Moll <> wrote:
>> Hello,
>> I'd like to revive the topic...
>> On Tue, 2012-10-16 at 18:23 +0100, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
>>> On Tue, 2012-10-16 at 12:13 +0200, Stephane Eranian wrote:
>>>> Hi,
>>>> There are many situations where we want to correlate events happening at
>>>> the user level with samples recorded in the perf_event kernel sampling buffer.
>>>> For instance, we might want to correlate the call to a function or creation of
>>>> a file with samples. Similarly, when we want to monitor a JVM with jitted code,
>>>> we need to be able to correlate jitted code mappings with perf event samples
>>>> for symbolization.
>>>> Perf_events allows timestamping of samples with PERF_SAMPLE_TIME.
>>>> That causes each PERF_RECORD_SAMPLE to include a timestamp
>>>> generated by calling the local_clock() -> sched_clock_cpu() function.
>>>> To make correlating user vs. kernel samples easy, we would need to
>>>> access that sched_clock() functionality. However, none of the existing
>>>> clock calls permit this at this point. They all return timestamps which are
>>>> not using the same source and/or offset as sched_clock.
>>>> I believe a similar issue exists with the ftrace subsystem.
>>>> The problem needs to be adressed in a portable manner. Solutions
>>>> based on reading TSC for the user level to reconstruct sched_clock()
>>>> don't seem appropriate to me.
>>>> One possibility to address this limitation would be to extend clock_gettime()
>>>> with a new clock time, e.g., CLOCK_PERF.
>>>> However, I understand that sched_clock_cpu() provides ordering guarantees only
>>>> when invoked on the same CPU repeatedly, i.e., it's not globally synchronized.
>>>> But we already have to deal with this problem when merging samples obtained
>>>> from different CPU sampling buffer in per-thread mode. So this is not
>>>> necessarily
>>>> a showstopper.
>>>> Alternatives could be to use uprobes but that's less practical to setup.
>>>> Anyone with better ideas?
>>> You forgot to CC the time people ;-)
>>> I've no problem with adding CLOCK_PERF (or another/better name).
>>> Thomas, John?
>> I've just faced the same issue - correlating an event in userspace with
>> data from the perf stream, but to my mind what I want to get is a value
>> returned by perf_clock() _in the current "session" context_.
>> Stephane didn't like the idea of opening a "fake" perf descriptor in
>> order to get the timestamp, but surely one must have the "session"
>> already running to be interested in such data in the first place? So I
>> think the ioctl() idea is not out of place here... How about the simple
>> change below?
> The app requesting the timestamp may not necessarily have an active
> perf session. And by that I mean, it may not be self-monitoring. But it
> could be monitored by an external tool such as perf, without necessary
> knowing it.
> The timestamp is global or at least per-cpu. It is not tied to a particular
> active event.
> The thing I did not like about ioctl() is that it now means that the app
> needs to become a user of the perf_event API. It needs to program
> a dummy event just to get a timestamp. As opposed to just calling
> a clock_gettime(CLOCK_PERF) function which guarantees a clock
> source identical to that used by perf_events. In that case, the app
> timestamps its events in such a way that if it was monitored externally,
> that external tool would be able to correlate all the samples because they
> would all have the same time source.
> But if people are strongly opposed to the clock_gettime() approach, then
> I can go with the ioctl() because the functionality is definitively needed

I prefer the ioctl method, since its less likely to be re-purposed/misused.

Though I'd be most comfortable with finding some way for perf-timestamps
to be CLOCK_MONOTONIC based (or maybe CLOCK_MONOTONIC_RAW if it would be
easier), and just avoid all together adding another time domain that
doesn't really have clear definition (other then "what perf uses").


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