Re: [RFC][PATCH v2 06/11] perf: core, export pmus via sysfs

From: Greg KH
Date: Thu May 20 2010 - 14:42:39 EST

On Wed, May 19, 2010 at 09:14:36AM +0200, Peter Zijlstra wrote:
> On Tue, 2010-05-18 at 19:48 -0700, Greg KH wrote:
> > Again, why do you need/want anything in sysfs in the first place?
> > What problem is it going to solve? Who is going to benifit? Why do
> > they care? What is this whole thing about?
> OK, so all of this is about perf_event. The story starts with CPUs
> adding a PMU (Performance Monitor Unit) which allows the user to
> count/sample cpu state.
> The whole perf_counter subsystem was created to abstract this piece of
> hardware and provide an kernel interface to it.
> Then we realized that a generalization of the PMU exists in pretty much
> everything that generates 'events' of interest and so we started adding
> software PMUs that allowed us to do the same for tracepoints etc.
> So we ended up with perf_events. A subsystem dedicated to counting
> events and event based sampling.
> Now the problem this patch set tries to solve; more hardware than the
> CPU has such capabilities. There are memory controllers, bus controllers
> and devices with similar capabilities.
> So we need a way to identify and locate these things, and since sysfs
> has the full machine topology in it, the idea was to represent these
> things in sysfs as an event_source class.
> Since the CPU and memory controllers are (assumed) symmetric on the
> system, we get to add things like:
> /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu_event_source/

Wouldn't that really be:

/sys/devices/system/cpu is a "type" of devices in the system here, and
isn't an event source specific to the device itself?

Or is it for all cpus together?

> /sys/devices/system/node/node_event_source/
> Devices like GPUs can do:
> /sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:01.0/0000:01:00.0/radeon_event_source/
> Hooking them into sysfs at the proper device/machine topology location
> allows us to quickly locate and identify these 'event_sources'.

Ok, this all makes a lot more sense now, thanks.

> Since all hardware wants to keep life interesting they all work
> differently and programming PMUs is no different, they count different
> things, have different ways to program them etc. But for each class
> there is a useful subset of things that is pretty uniform.
> CPU based PMUs all can count things like clock-cycles and instructions,
> Memory controllers can count things like local/remote memory accesses
> etc.
> So each class has a number of actual events that are worthy of
> abstracting. The idea was to place these events in the event_source,
> like:
> /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu_event_source/cycles/
> /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu_event_source/instructions/
> And then there are the software event_sources that expose kernel events
> (through tracepoints), currently tracepoints live
> in /debug/tracing/events/ (or /sys/kernel/debug/tracing/events/ for
> those so inclined). But the above abstraction would suggest we expose
> them similarly.
> I'm not sure where we'd want them to live, we could add them to:
> /sys/kernel/tracepoint_event_source/
> and have them live there, but I'm open to alternatives :-)

Once you go outside of /sys/devices/ you aren't playing with devices
properly, so you might just want to stick to a "class" and have
/sys/class/tracepoint_event_source/ where all of the devices would end
up symlinking to.

> [ With event_source's being a sysfs-class, we also get a nice flat
> collection in /sys/class/event_source/ helping those who get lost
> in the device topology, me :-) ]

Yes, but isn't the fact that you can have different types of
event sources lend itself to different classes of event sources?

> The next issue seems to be the interface between this sysfs
> representation and the perf_event syscall, how do we go about creating
> an actual perf_event object from this rich sysfs event_source class
> object.
> The sys_perf_event_open() call takes a struct perf_event_attr pointer
> which describes the event and its properties. The current event
> classification goes through:
> struct perf_event_attr {
> __u32 type;
> __u64 config;
> ...
> };
> So my initial idea was to let each event_source have a type_id and let
> each of its events have a config field and read those and insert them in
> your structure.
> So we'd get:
> /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu_event_source/type_id
> /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu_event_source/instructions/config
> cat those to get: .type = 0, .config = 1
> Then Ingo objected and said, if we need to open and read those file, you
> might as well just open one file and pass the fd along, saves some
> syscalls.
> So you'd end up doing:
> fd = open("/sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu_event_source/instructions/config");
> attr->type = fd | PERF_TYPE_FD;
> event_fd = perf_event_open(attr, ... );
> close(fd);
> From that one fd we can find to which 'event_source' it belongs and what
> particular config we need to use.

Ah, pass the fd of a sysfs file to sysfs to get the kobject. Ick,
that's just, well, something that I never even considered someone would
need/want to do...

sysfs exports single values just fine. If you are starting to do more
complex things, like you currently are, maybe you shouldn't be in

I can always knock up a eventfs for you do mount at /sys/kernel/events/
or something if you want :)


greg k-h
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