HWPMC(4) MidnightBSD Kernel Interfaces Manual HWPMC(4)

NAME

hwpmc — Hardware Performance Monitoring Counter support

SYNOPSIS

options HWPMC_HOOKS
device hwpmc

Additionally, for i386 systems:

device apic

DESCRIPTION

The hwpmc driver virtualizes the hardware performance monitoring facilities in modern CPUs and provides support for using these facilities from user level processes.

The driver supports multi-processor systems.

PMCs are allocated using the PMC_OP_PMCALLOCATE request. A successful PMC_OP_PMCALLOCATE request will return an integer handle (typically a small integer) to the requesting process. Subsequent operations on the allocated PMC use this handle to denote the specific PMC. A process that has successfully allocated a PMC is termed an ‘‘owner process’’.

PMCs may be allocated to operate in process-private or in system-wide modes.

Process-private

In process-private mode, a PMC is active only when a thread belonging to a process it is attached to is scheduled on a CPU.

System-wide

In system-wide mode, a PMC operates independently of processes and measures hardware events for the system as a whole.

The hwpmc driver supports the use of hardware PMCs for counting or for sampling:

Counting

In counting modes, the PMCs count hardware events. These counts are retrievable using the PMC_OP_PMCREAD system call on all architectures, though some architectures like the i386 and amd64 offer faster methods of reading these counts.

Sampling

In sampling modes, where PMCs are configured to sample the CPU instruction pointer after a configurable number of hardware events have been observed. These instruction pointer samples are directed to a log file for subsequent analysis.

These modes of operation are orthogonal; a PMC may be configured to operate in one of four modes:

Process-private, counting

These PMCs count hardware events whenever a thread in their attached process is scheduled on a CPU. These PMCs normally count from zero, but the initial count may be set using the PMC_OP_SETCOUNT operation. Applications can read the value of the PMC anytime using the PMC_OP_PMCRW operation.

Process-private, sampling

These PMCs sample the target processes instruction pointer after they have seen the configured number of hardware events. The PMCs only count events when a thread belonging to their attached process is active. The desired frequency of sampling is set using the PMC_OP_SETCOUNT operation prior to starting the PMC. Log files are configured using the PMC_OP_CONFIGURELOG operation.

System-wide, counting

These PMCs count hardware events seen by them independent of the processes that are executing. The current count on these PMCs can be read using the PMC_OP_PMCRW request. These PMCs normally count from zero, but the initial count may be set using the PMC_OP_SETCOUNT operation.

System-wide, sampling

These PMCs will periodically sample the instruction pointer of the CPU they are allocated on, and will write the sample to a log for further processing. The desired frequency of sampling is set using the PMC_OP_SETCOUNT operation prior to starting the PMC. Log files are configured using the PMC_OP_CONFIGURELOG operation.

System-wide statistical sampling can only be enabled by a process with super-user privileges.

Processes are allowed to allocate as many PMCs are the hardware and current operating conditions permit. Processes may mix allocations of system-wide and process-private PMCs. Multiple processes are allowed to be concurrently using the facilities of the hwpmc driver.

Allocated PMCs are started using the PMC_OP_PMCSTART operation, and stopped using the PMC_OP_PMCSTOP operation. Stopping and starting a PMC is permitted at any time the owner process has a valid handle to the PMC.

Process-private PMCs need to be attached to a target process before they can be used. Attaching a process to a PMC is done using the PMC_OP_PMCATTACH operation. An already attached PMC may be detached from its target process using the converse PMC_OP_PMCDETACH operation. Issuing a PMC_OP_PMCSTART operation on an as yet unattached PMC will cause it to be attached to its owner process. The following rules determine whether a given process may attach a PMC to another target process:

A non-jailed process with super-user privileges is allowed to attach to any other process in the system.

Other processes are only allowed to attach to targets that they would be able to attach to for debugging (as determined by p_candebug(9)).

PMCs are released using PMC_OP_PMCRELEASE. After a successful PMC_OP_PMCRELEASE operation the handle to the PMC will become invalid.

Modifier Flags
The PMC_OP_PMCALLOCATE operation supports the following flags that modify the behavior of an allocated PMC:

PMC_F_DESCENDANTS

This modifier is valid only for a PMC being allocated in process-private mode. It signifies that the PMC will track hardware events for its target process and the target’s current and future descendants.

PMC_F_KGMON

This modifier is valid only for a PMC being allocated in system-wide sampling mode. It signifies that the PMC’s sampling interrupt is to be used to drive kernel profiling via kgmon(8).

PMC_F_LOG_PROCCSW

This modifier is valid only for a PMC being allocated in process-private mode. When this modifier is present, at every context switch, hwpmc will log a record containing the number of hardware events seen by the target process when it was scheduled on the CPU.

PMC_F_LOG_PROCEXIT

This modifier is valid only for a PMC being allocated in process-private mode. With this modifier present, hwpmc will maintain per-process counts for each target process attached to a PMC. At process exit time, a record containing the target process’ PID and the accumulated per-process count for that process will be written to the configured log file.

Modifiers PMC_F_LOG_PROCEXIT and PMC_F_LOG_PROCCSW may be used in combination with modifier PMC_F_DESCENDANTS to track the behaviour of complex pipelines of processes. PMCs with modifiers PMC_F_LOG_PROCEXIT and PMC_F_LOG_PROCCSW cannot be started until their owner process has configured a log file.

Signals
The hwpmc driver may deliver signals to processes that have allocated PMCs:

SIGIO

A PMC_OP_PMCRW operation was attempted on a process-private PMC that does not have attached target processes.

SIGBUS

The hwpmc driver is being unloaded from the kernel.

PROGRAMMING API

The recommended way for application programs to use the facilities of the hwpmc driver is using the API provided by the pmc(3) library.

The hwpmc driver operates using a system call number that is dynamically allotted to it when it is loaded into the kernel.

The hwpmc driver supports the following operations:

PMC_OP_CONFIGURELOG

Configure a log file for sampling mode PMCs.

PMC_OP_FLUSHLOG

Transfer buffered log data inside hwpmc to a configured output file. This operation returns to the caller after the write operation has returned.

PMC_OP_GETCPUINFO

Retrieve information about the number of CPUs on the system and the number of hardware performance monitoring counters available per-CPU.

PMC_OP_GETDRIVERSTATS

Retrieve module statistics (for analyzing the behavior of hwpmc itself).

PMC_OP_GETMODULEVERSION

Retrieve the version number of API.

PMC_OP_GETPMCINFO

Retrieve information about the current state of the PMCs on a given CPU.

PMC_OP_PMCADMIN

Set the administrative state (i.e., whether enabled or disabled) for the hardware PMCs managed by the hwpmc driver.

PMC_OP_PMCALLOCATE

Allocate and configure a PMC. On successful allocation, a handle to the PMC (a small integer) is returned.

PMC_OP_PMCATTACH

Attach a process mode PMC to a target process. The PMC will be active whenever a thread in the target process is scheduled on a CPU.

If the PMC_F_DESCENDANTS flag had been specified at PMC allocation time, then the PMC is attached to all current and future descendants of the target process.

PMC_OP_PMCDETACH

Detach a PMC from its target process.

PMC_OP_PMCRELEASE

Release a PMC.

PMC_OP_PMCRW

Read and write a PMC. This operation is valid only for PMCs configured in counting modes.

PMC_OP_SETCOUNT

Set the initial count (for counting mode PMCs) or the desired sampling rate (for sampling mode PMCs).

PMC_OP_PMCSTART

Start a PMC.

PMC_OP_PMCSTOP

Stop a PMC.

PMC_OP_WRITELOG

Insert a timestamped user record into the log file.

i386 Specific API
Some i386 family CPUs support the RDPMC instruction which allows a user process to read a PMC value without needing to invoke a PMC_OP_PMCRW operation. On such CPUs, the machine address associated with an allocated PMC is retrievable using the PMC_OP_PMCX86GETMSR system call.

PMC_OP_PMCX86GETMSR

Retrieve the MSR (machine specific register) number associated with the given PMC handle.

The PMC needs to be in process-private mode and allocated without the PMC_F_DESCENDANTS modifier flag, and should be attached only to its owner process at the time of the call.

amd64 Specific API
AMD64 CPUs support the RDPMC instruction which allows a user process to read a PMC value without needing to invoke a PMC_OP_PMCRW operation. The machine address associated with an allocated PMC is retrievable using the PMC_OP_PMCX86GETMSR system call.

PMC_OP_PMCX86GETMSR

Retrieve the MSR (machine specific register) number associated with the given PMC handle.

The PMC needs to be in process-private mode and allocated without the PMC_F_DESCENDANTS modifier flag, and should be attached only to its owner process at the time of the call.

SYSCTL VARIABLES AND LOADER TUNABLES

The behavior of hwpmc is influenced by the following sysctl(8) and loader(8) tunables:

kern.hwpmc.debugflags (string, read-write)

(Only available if the hwpmc driver was compiled with −DDEBUG.) Control the verbosity of debug messages from the hwpmc driver.

kern.hwpmc.hashsize (integer, read-only)

The number of rows in the hash tables used to keep track of owner and target processes. The default is 16.

kern.hwpmc.logbuffersize (integer, read-only)

The size in kilobytes of each log buffer used by hwpmc’s logging function. The default buffer size is 4KB.

kern.hwpmc.mtxpoolsize (integer, read-only)

The size of the spin mutex pool used by the PMC driver. The default is 32.

kern.hwpmc.nbuffers (integer, read-only)

The number of log buffers used by hwpmc for logging. The default is 16.

kern.hwpmc.nsamples (integer, read-only)

The number of entries in the per-CPU ring buffer used during sampling. The default is 16.

security.bsd.unprivileged_syspmcs (boolean, read-write)

If set to non-zero, allow unprivileged processes to allocate system-wide PMCs. The default value is 0.

security.bsd.unprivileged_proc_debug (boolean, read-write)

If set to 0, the hwpmc driver will only allow privileged processes to attach PMCs to other processes.

These variables may be set in the kernel environment using kenv(1) before hwpmc is loaded.

SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS

PMCs may be used to monitor the actual behaviour of the system on hardware. In situations where this constitutes an undesirable information leak, the following options are available:

1.

Set the sysctl(8) tunable security.bsd.unprivileged_syspmcs to 0. This ensures that unprivileged processes cannot allocate system-wide PMCs and thus cannot observe the hardware behavior of the system as a whole. This tunable may also be set at boot time using loader(8), or with kenv(1) prior to loading the hwpmc driver into the kernel.

2.

Set the sysctl(8) tunable security.bsd.unprivileged_proc_debug to 0. This will ensure that an unprivileged process cannot attach a PMC to any process other than itself and thus cannot observe the hardware behavior of other processes with the same credentials.

System administrators should note that on IA-32 platforms FreeBSD makes the content of the IA-32 TSC counter available to all processes via the RDTSC instruction.

IMPLEMENTATION NOTES

SMP Symmetry
The kernel driver requires all physical CPUs in an SMP system to have identical performance monitoring counter hardware.

x86 TSC Handling
Historically, on the x86 architecture, FreeBSD has permitted user processes running at a processor CPL of 3 to read the TSC using the RDTSC instruction. The hwpmc driver preserves this semantics.

Intel P4/HTT Handling
On CPUs with HTT support, Intel P4 PMCs are capable of qualifying only a subset of hardware events on a per-logical CPU basis. Consequently, if HTT is enabled on a system with Intel Pentium P4 PMCs, then the hwpmc driver will reject allocation requests for process-private PMCs that request counting of hardware events that cannot be counted separately for each logical CPU.

Intel Pentium-Pro Handling
Writing a value to the PMC MSRs found ing Intel Pentium-Pro style PMCs (found in Intel Pentium Pro, Pentium II, Pentium III, Pentium M and Celeron processors) will replicate bit 31 of the value being written into the upper 8 bits of the MSR, bringing down the usable width of these PMCs to 31 bits. For process-virtual PMCs, the hwpmc driver implements a workaround in software and makes the corrected 64 bit count available via the PMC_OP_RW operation. Processes that intend to use RDPMC instructions directly or that intend to write values larger than 2^31 into these PMCs with PMC_OP_RW need to be aware of this hardware limitation.

DIAGNOSTICS

hwpmc: [class/npmc/capabilities]...  Announce the presence of npmc PMCs of class class, with capabilities described by bit string capabilities.

hwpmc: kernel version (0x%x) does not match module version (0x%x).  The module loading process failed because a version mismatch was detected between the currently executing kernel and the module being loaded.

hwpmc: this kernel has not been compiled with ’options HWPMC_HOOKS’.  The module loading process failed because the currently executing kernel was not configured with the required configuration option HWPMC_HOOKS.

hwpmc: tunable hashsize=%d must be greater than zero.  A negative value was supplied for tunable kern.hwpmc.hashsize.

hwpmc: tunable logbuffersize=%d must be greater than zero.  A negative value was supplied for tunable kern.hwpmc.logbuffersize.

hwpmc: tunable nlogbuffers=%d must be greater than zero.  A negative value was supplied for tunable kern.hwpmc.nlogbuffers.

hwpmc: tunable nsamples=%d out of range.  The value for tunable kern.hwpmc.nsamples was negative or greater than 65535.

COMPATIBILITY

The hwpmc driver is currently under development. The API and ABI documented in this manual page may change in the future. The recommended method of accessing this driver is using the pmc(3) API.

ERRORS

A command issued to the hwpmc driver may fail with the following errors:

[EBUSY]

A PMC_OP_CONFIGURELOG operation was requested while an existing log was active.

[EBUSY]

A DISABLE operation was requested using the PMC_OP_PMCADMIN request for a set of hardware resources currently in use for process-private PMCs.

[EBUSY]

A PMC_OP_PMCADMIN operation was requested on an active system mode PMC.

[EBUSY]

A PMC_OP_PMCATTACH operation was requested for a target process that already had another PMC using the same hardware resources attached to it.

[EBUSY]

A PMC_OP_PMCRW request writing a new value was issued on a PMC that was active.

[EBUSY]

A PMC_OP_PMCSETCOUNT request was issued on a PMC that was active.

[EDOOFUS]

A PMC_OP_PMCSTART operation was requested without a log file being configured for a PMC allocated with PMC_F_LOG_PROCCSW and PMC_F_LOG_PROCEXIT modifiers.

[EEXIST]

A PMC_OP_PMCATTACH request was reissued for a target process that already is the target of this PMC.

[EFAULT]

A bad address was passed in to the driver.

[EINVAL]

A process specified an invalid PMC handle.

[EINVAL]

An invalid CPU number was passed in for a PMC_OP_GETPMCINFO operation.

[EINVAL]

An invalid CPU number was passed in for a PMC_OP_PMCADMIN operation.

[EINVAL]

An invalid operation request was passed in for a PMC_OP_PMCADMIN operation.

[EINVAL]

An invalid PMC ID was passed in for a PMC_OP_PMCADMIN operation.

[EINVAL]

A suitable PMC matching the parameters passed in to a PMC_OP_PMCALLOCATE request could not be allocated.

[EINVAL]

An invalid PMC mode was requested during a PMC_OP_PMCALLOCATE request.

[EINVAL]

An invalid CPU number was specified during a PMC_OP_PMCALLOCATE request.

[EINVAL]

A CPU other than PMC_CPU_ANY was specified in a PMC_OP_ALLOCATE request for a process-private PMC.

[EINVAL]

A CPU number of PMC_CPU_ANY was specified in a PMC_OP_ALLOCATE request for a system-wide PMC.

[EINVAL]

The pm_flags argument to an PMC_OP_PMCALLOCATE request contained unknown flags.

[EINVAL]

A PMC allocated for system-wide operation was specified with a PMC_OP_PMCATTACH request.

[EINVAL]

The pm_pid argument to a PMC_OP_PMCATTACH request specified an illegal process ID.

[EINVAL]

A PMC_OP_PMCDETACH request was issued for a PMC not attached to the target process.

[EINVAL]

Argument pm_flags to a PMC_OP_PMCRW request contained illegal flags.

[EINVAL]

A PMC_OP_PMCX86GETMSR operation was requested for a PMC not in process-virtual mode, or for a PMC that is not solely attached to its owner process, or for a PMC that was allocated with flag PMC_F_DESCENDANTS.

[EINVAL]

(On Intel Pentium 4 CPUs with HTT support) An allocation request for a process-private PMC was issued for an event that does not support counting on a per-logical CPU basis.

[ENOMEM]

The system was not able to allocate kernel memory.

[ENOSYS]

(i386 architectures) A PMC_OP_PMCX86GETMSR operation was requested for hardware that does not support reading PMCs directly with the RDPMC instruction.

[ENXIO]

A PMC_OP_GETPMCINFO operation was requested for a disabled CPU.

[ENXIO]

A system-wide PMC on a disabled CPU was requested to be allocated with PMC_OP_PMCALLOCATE.

[ENXIO]

A PMC_OP_PMCSTART or PMC_OP_PMCSTOP request was issued for a system-wide PMC that was allocated on a currently disabled CPU.

[EOPNOTSUPP]

A PMC_OP_PMCALLOCATE request was issued for PMC capabilities not supported by the specified PMC class.

[EPERM]

A PMC_OP_PMCADMIN request was issued by a process without super-user privilege or by a jailed super-user process.

[EPERM]

A PMC_OP_PMCATTACH operation was issued for a target process that the current process does not have permission to attach to.

[EPERM]

(i386 and amd64 architectures) A PMC_OP_PMCATTACH operation was issued on a PMC whose MSR has been retrieved using PMC_OP_PMCX86GETMSR.

[ESRCH]

A process issued a PMC operation request without having allocated any PMCs.

[ESRCH]

A process issued a PMC operation request after the PMC was detached from all of its target processes.

[ESRCH]

A PMC_OP_PMCATTACH request specified a non-existent process ID.

[ESRCH]

The target process for a PMC_OP_PMCDETACH operation is not being monitored by the hwpmc driver.

SEE ALSO

kenv(1), pmc(3), pmclog(3), kgmon(8), kldload(8), pmccontrol(8), pmcstat(8), sysctl(8), p_candebug(9)

HISTORY

The hwpmc driver first appeared in FreeBSD 6.0.

BUGS

The driver samples the state of the kernel’s logical processor support at the time of initialization (i.e., at module load time). On CPUs supporting logical processors, the driver could misbehave if logical processors are subsequently enabled or disabled while the driver is active.

On the i386 architecture, the driver requires that the local APIC on the CPU be enabled for sampling mode to be supported. Many single-processor motherboards keep the APIC disabled in BIOS; on such systems hwpmc will not support sampling PMCs.

MidnightBSD 0.3 September 28, 2005 MidnightBSD 0.3