[erlang-patches] Proposed expansion of Erlang-triggerable DTrace probes

Henrik Nord <>
Fri May 11 11:17:17 CEST 2012


I have included this patch in 'pu'

On 05/09/2012 01:06 AM, Scott Lystig Fritchie wrote:
> Hi, all.  I've got a proposal for expanding the number of
> triggerable-by-Erlang-code DTrace probes.
>
> There's a hassle with the current implementation: it isn't possible to
> create truly dynamic DTrace probes(*).  So the method in the R15B01
> release creates a single generic probe that Erlang code can fire: you
> have 4 integers and 4 strings/binaries/iodata to give to that single
> probe.
>
> But there's a problem with the spamminess of the things.  From a DTrace
> point of view, there's only a single probe.  So when you enable that one
> probe, you automatically get overhead for *all* Erlang-level probe
> statements that share that one probe.  You can reduce the overhead by
> using pattern-matching-style guards to limit what gets executed,
> e.g. arg2 == 703 in order to really fire a probe when arg2 (the first of
> four probe-specified integers) is 703 (where 703 == some category of
> probe event used by your app).  (See below for an example.)
>
> (*) Except that it _is_ possible, using the technique found in
> https://github.com/chrisa/libusdt.  The problem is that we'd like to
> have SystemTap users be able to use the same probes as DTrace users, if
> at all possible.
>
> So, to solve this problem, we need to:
>
>      1. create more probes that Erlang code can trigger
>      2. use libusdt to create truly-dynamic probes
>
> These patches follow method #1, fetch via:
>
> git fetch git://github.com/slfritchie/otp.git slf-dtrace-nif-N-probes
>
> Review via:
>
> https://github.com/slfritchie/otp/compare/erlang:master...slf-dtrace-nif-N-probes
> https://github.com/slfritchie/otp/compare/erlang:master...slf-dtrace-nif-N-probes.patch
>
> The patches add 1024 new probes, each with 4 integers and 4 strings.
> 1024 isn't strictly necessary: the number could be smaller, though I
> believe that 256 is probably the smallest useful number.
>
> I could also entertain the notion of adding:
>
>      * 256 probes with 4 integers&  4 strings
>      * 256 probes with 8 integers
>      * 256 probes with 8 strings
>      * N probes with some other combination of integers&  strings
>
> Thoughts/opinions?  This isn't a fully-baked submission, quite yet.
>
> -Scott
>
> P.S.  Here's the example that I promised.  Say that I've got an
> application that has probes that look like this:
>
>      -define(CATEGORY_FOO, 701).
>      -define(CATEGORY_BAR, 702).
>      -define(CATEGORY_BAZ, 703).
>
>      %% code path #1
>      dyntrace:p(?CATEGORY_FOO, length(SomeList)).
>      [...]
>
>      %% code path #2
>      dyntrace:p(?CATEGORY_BAZ, size(SomeBinary), "doin' some stuff").
>
> Say that you're interested in the probe in code path #2.  You can do
> this via D to print something whenever that probe fires:
>
>      dtrace -qn 'erlang*:::user_trace* /arg2 == 703/ {printf("pid %s: size %d string %s\n", copyinstr(arg0), arg2, copyinstr(arg6));}'
>
> However, if code path #2 is only running 10 times/sec, and code path #1
> is running 20K times/sec, the "/arg2 == 703/" guard will help lower the
> runtime cost of the 20,010 times/sec by a small amount.  But it would be
> much better if we could have a single probe firing only 10 times/sec.
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-- 
/Henrik Nord Erlang/OTP



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