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SubjectRe: [PATCH 0/7] [RFC] kernel: add a netlink interface to get information about processes
On Feb 17, 2015 12:40 AM, "Andrey Vagin" <avagin@openvz.org> wrote:
>
> Here is a preview version. It provides restricted set of functionality.
> I would like to collect feedback about this idea.
>
> Currently we use the proc file system, where all information are
> presented in text files, what is convenient for humans. But if we need
> to get information about processes from code (e.g. in C), the procfs
> doesn't look so cool.
>
> From code we would prefer to get information in binary format and to be
> able to specify which information and for which tasks are required. Here
> is a new interface with all these features, which is called task_diag.
> In addition it's much faster than procfs.
>
> task_diag is based on netlink sockets and looks like socket-diag, which
> is used to get information about sockets.
>
> A request is described by the task_diag_pid structure:
>
> struct task_diag_pid {
> __u64 show_flags; /* specify which information are required */
> __u64 dump_stratagy; /* specify a group of processes */
>
> __u32 pid;
> };
>
> A respone is a set of netlink messages. Each message describes one task.
> All task properties are divided on groups. A message contains the
> TASK_DIAG_MSG group and other groups if they have been requested in
> show_flags. For example, if show_flags contains TASK_DIAG_SHOW_CRED, a
> response will contain the TASK_DIAG_CRED group which is described by the
> task_diag_creds structure.
>
> struct task_diag_msg {
> __u32 tgid;
> __u32 pid;
> __u32 ppid;
> __u32 tpid;
> __u32 sid;
> __u32 pgid;
> __u8 state;
> char comm[TASK_DIAG_COMM_LEN];
> };
>
> Another good feature of task_diag is an ability to request information
> for a few processes. Currently here are two stratgies
> TASK_DIAG_DUMP_ALL - get information for all tasks
> TASK_DIAG_DUMP_CHILDREN - get information for children of a specified
> tasks
>
> The task diag is much faster than the proc file system. We don't need to
> create a new file descriptor for each task. We need to send a request
> and get a response. It allows to get information for a few task in one
> request-response iteration.
>
> I have compared performance of procfs and task-diag for the
> "ps ax -o pid,ppid" command.
>
> A test stand contains 10348 processes.
> $ ps ax -o pid,ppid | wc -l
> 10348
>
> $ time ps ax -o pid,ppid > /dev/null
>
> real 0m1.073s
> user 0m0.086s
> sys 0m0.903s
>
> $ time ./task_diag_all > /dev/null
>
> real 0m0.037s
> user 0m0.004s
> sys 0m0.020s
>
> And here are statistics about syscalls which were called by each
> command.
> $ perf stat -e syscalls:sys_exit* -- ps ax -o pid,ppid 2>&1 | grep syscalls | sort -n -r | head -n 5
> 20,713 syscalls:sys_exit_open
> 20,710 syscalls:sys_exit_close
> 20,708 syscalls:sys_exit_read
> 10,348 syscalls:sys_exit_newstat
> 31 syscalls:sys_exit_write
>
> $ perf stat -e syscalls:sys_exit* -- ./task_diag_all 2>&1 | grep syscalls | sort -n -r | head -n 5
> 114 syscalls:sys_exit_recvfrom
> 49 syscalls:sys_exit_write
> 8 syscalls:sys_exit_mmap
> 4 syscalls:sys_exit_mprotect
> 3 syscalls:sys_exit_newfstat
>
> You can find the test program from this experiment in the last patch.
>
> The idea of this functionality was suggested by Pavel Emelyanov
> (xemul@), when he found that operations with /proc forms a significant
> part of a checkpointing time.
>
> Ten years ago here was attempt to add a netlink interface to access to /proc
> information:
> http://lwn.net/Articles/99600/

I don't suppose this could use real syscalls instead of netlink. If
nothing else, netlink seems to conflate pid and net namespaces.

Also, using an asynchronous interface (send, poll?, recv) for
something that's inherently synchronous (as the kernel a local
question) seems awkward to me.

--Andy


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