24.4. Using DTrace

To view all probes, the administrator can execute the following command:

# dtrace -l | more

This section demonstrates how to use two of the fully supported scripts from the DTrace Toolkit: the hotkernel and procsystime scripts.

The hotkernel script is designed to identify which function is using the most kernel time. Run normally, it will produce output similar to the following:

# cd /usr/share/dtrace/toolkit
# ./hotkernel
Sampling... Hit Ctrl-C to end.

The system administrator must use the Ctrl+C key combination to stop the process. Upon termination, the script will display a list of kernel functions and timing information, sorting the output in increasing order of time:

kernel`_thread_lock_flags                                   2   0.0%
0xc1097063                                                  2   0.0%
kernel`sched_userret                                        2   0.0%
kernel`kern_select                                          2   0.0%
kernel`generic_copyin                                       3   0.0%
kernel`_mtx_assert                                          3   0.0%
kernel`vm_fault                                             3   0.0%
kernel`sopoll_generic                                       3   0.0%
kernel`fixup_filename                                       4   0.0%
kernel`_isitmyx                                             4   0.0%
kernel`find_instance                                        4   0.0%
kernel`_mtx_unlock_flags                                    5   0.0%
kernel`syscall                                              5   0.0%
kernel`DELAY                                                5   0.0%
0xc108a253                                                  6   0.0%
kernel`witness_lock                                         7   0.0%
kernel`read_aux_data_no_wait                                7   0.0%
kernel`Xint0x80_syscall                                     7   0.0%
kernel`witness_checkorder                                   7   0.0%
kernel`sse2_pagezero                                        8   0.0%
kernel`strncmp                                              9   0.0%
kernel`spinlock_exit                                       10   0.0%
kernel`_mtx_lock_flags                                     11   0.0%
kernel`witness_unlock                                      15   0.0%
kernel`sched_idletd                                       137   0.3%
0xc10981a5                                              42139  99.3%

This script will also work with kernel modules. To use this feature, run the script with the -m flag:

# ./hotkernel -m
Sampling... Hit Ctrl-C to end.
^C
MODULE                                                  COUNT   PCNT
0xc107882e                                                  1   0.0%
0xc10e6aa4                                                  1   0.0%
0xc1076983                                                  1   0.0%
0xc109708a                                                  1   0.0%
0xc1075a5d                                                  1   0.0%
0xc1077325                                                  1   0.0%
0xc108a245                                                  1   0.0%
0xc107730d                                                  1   0.0%
0xc1097063                                                  2   0.0%
0xc108a253                                                 73   0.0%
kernel                                                    874   0.4%
0xc10981a5                                             213781  99.6%

The procsystime script captures and prints the system call time usage for a given PID or process name. In the following example, a new instance of /bin/csh was spawned. The procsystime was executed and remained waiting while a few commands were typed on the other incarnation of csh. These are the results of this test:

# ./procsystime -n csh
Tracing... Hit Ctrl-C to end...
^C

Elapsed Times for processes csh,

         SYSCALL          TIME (ns)
          getpid               6131
       sigreturn               8121
           close              19127
           fcntl              19959
             dup              26955
         setpgid              28070
            stat              31899
       setitimer              40938
           wait4              62717
       sigaction              67372
     sigprocmask             119091
    gettimeofday             183710
           write             263242
          execve             492547
           ioctl             770073
           vfork            3258923
      sigsuspend            6985124
            read         3988049784

As shown, the read() system call seems to use the most time in nanoseconds with the getpid() system call used the least amount of time.

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