Commit e88d78f6 authored by Tom Zanussi's avatar Tom Zanussi Committed by Linus Torvalds

[PATCH] Documentation update for relay interface

Here's updated documentation for the relay interface, rewritten to match
the relayfs->relay changes.  It also moves relayfs.txt to relay.txt in the
process.

It includes the changes to relayfs.txt previously posted by Randy Dunlap,
thanks for those.

The relay-apps examples have also been updated to match, and can be found
on the sourceforge relayfs website.
Signed-off-by: default avatarTom Zanussi <zanussi@us.ibm.com>
Cc: "Randy.Dunlap" <rdunlap@xenotime.net>
Signed-off-by: default avatarAndrew Morton <akpm@osdl.org>
Signed-off-by: default avatarLinus Torvalds <torvalds@osdl.org>
parent 4edb9a14
......@@ -62,8 +62,8 @@ ramfs-rootfs-initramfs.txt
- info on the 'in memory' filesystems ramfs, rootfs and initramfs.
reiser4.txt
- info on the Reiser4 filesystem based on dancing tree algorithms.
relayfs.txt
- info on relayfs, for efficient streaming from kernel to user space.
relay.txt
- info on relay, for efficient streaming from kernel to user space.
romfs.txt
- description of the ROMFS filesystem.
smbfs.txt
......
relayfs - a high-speed data relay filesystem
============================================
relayfs is a filesystem designed to provide an efficient mechanism for
tools and facilities to relay large and potentially sustained streams
of data from kernel space to user space.
The main abstraction of relayfs is the 'channel'. A channel consists
of a set of per-cpu kernel buffers each represented by a file in the
relayfs filesystem. Kernel clients write into a channel using
efficient write functions which automatically log to the current cpu's
channel buffer. User space applications mmap() the per-cpu files and
retrieve the data as it becomes available.
relay interface (formerly relayfs)
==================================
The relay interface provides a means for kernel applications to
efficiently log and transfer large quantities of data from the kernel
to userspace via user-defined 'relay channels'.
A 'relay channel' is a kernel->user data relay mechanism implemented
as a set of per-cpu kernel buffers ('channel buffers'), each
represented as a regular file ('relay file') in user space. Kernel
clients write into the channel buffers using efficient write
functions; these automatically log into the current cpu's channel
buffer. User space applications mmap() or read() from the relay files
and retrieve the data as it becomes available. The relay files
themselves are files created in a host filesystem, e.g. debugfs, and
are associated with the channel buffers using the API described below.
The format of the data logged into the channel buffers is completely
up to the relayfs client; relayfs does however provide hooks which
allow clients to impose some structure on the buffer data. Nor does
relayfs implement any form of data filtering - this also is left to
the client. The purpose is to keep relayfs as simple as possible.
up to the kernel client; the relay interface does however provide
hooks which allow kernel clients to impose some structure on the
buffer data. The relay interface doesn't implement any form of data
filtering - this also is left to the kernel client. The purpose is to
keep things as simple as possible.
This document provides an overview of the relayfs API. The details of
the function parameters are documented along with the functions in the
filesystem code - please see that for details.
This document provides an overview of the relay interface API. The
details of the function parameters are documented along with the
functions in the relay interface code - please see that for details.
Semantics
=========
Each relayfs channel has one buffer per CPU, each buffer has one or
more sub-buffers. Messages are written to the first sub-buffer until
it is too full to contain a new message, in which case it it is
written to the next (if available). Messages are never split across
sub-buffers. At this point, userspace can be notified so it empties
the first sub-buffer, while the kernel continues writing to the next.
Each relay channel has one buffer per CPU, each buffer has one or more
sub-buffers. Messages are written to the first sub-buffer until it is
too full to contain a new message, in which case it it is written to
the next (if available). Messages are never split across sub-buffers.
At this point, userspace can be notified so it empties the first
sub-buffer, while the kernel continues writing to the next.
When notified that a sub-buffer is full, the kernel knows how many
bytes of it are padding i.e. unused. Userspace can use this knowledge
to copy only valid data.
bytes of it are padding i.e. unused space occurring because a complete
message couldn't fit into a sub-buffer. Userspace can use this
knowledge to copy only valid data.
After copying it, userspace can notify the kernel that a sub-buffer
has been consumed.
relayfs can operate in a mode where it will overwrite data not yet
collected by userspace, and not wait for it to consume it.
A relay channel can operate in a mode where it will overwrite data not
yet collected by userspace, and not wait for it to be consumed.
relayfs itself does not provide for communication of such data between
userspace and kernel, allowing the kernel side to remain simple and
not impose a single interface on userspace. It does provide a set of
examples and a separate helper though, described below.
The relay channel itself does not provide for communication of such
data between userspace and kernel, allowing the kernel side to remain
simple and not impose a single interface on userspace. It does
provide a set of examples and a separate helper though, described
below.
The read() interface both removes padding and internally consumes the
read sub-buffers; thus in cases where read(2) is being used to drain
the channel buffers, special-purpose communication between kernel and
user isn't necessary for basic operation.
One of the major goals of the relay interface is to provide a low
overhead mechanism for conveying kernel data to userspace. While the
read() interface is easy to use, it's not as efficient as the mmap()
approach; the example code attempts to make the tradeoff between the
two approaches as small as possible.
klog and relay-apps example code
================================
relayfs itself is ready to use, but to make things easier, a couple
simple utility functions and a set of examples are provided.
The relay interface itself is ready to use, but to make things easier,
a couple simple utility functions and a set of examples are provided.
The relay-apps example tarball, available on the relayfs sourceforge
The relay-apps example tarball, available on the relay sourceforge
site, contains a set of self-contained examples, each consisting of a
pair of .c files containing boilerplate code for each of the user and
kernel sides of a relayfs application; combined these two sets of
kernel sides of a relay application. When combined these two sets of
boilerplate code provide glue to easily stream data to disk, without
having to bother with mundane housekeeping chores.
The 'klog debugging functions' patch (klog.patch in the relay-apps
tarball) provides a couple of high-level logging functions to the
kernel which allow writing formatted text or raw data to a channel,
regardless of whether a channel to write into exists or not, or
whether relayfs is compiled into the kernel or is configured as a
module. These functions allow you to put unconditional 'trace'
statements anywhere in the kernel or kernel modules; only when there
is a 'klog handler' registered will data actually be logged (see the
klog and kleak examples for details).
It is of course possible to use relayfs from scratch i.e. without
using any of the relay-apps example code or klog, but you'll have to
implement communication between userspace and kernel, allowing both to
convey the state of buffers (full, empty, amount of padding).
regardless of whether a channel to write into exists or not, or even
whether the relay interface is compiled into the kernel or not. These
functions allow you to put unconditional 'trace' statements anywhere
in the kernel or kernel modules; only when there is a 'klog handler'
registered will data actually be logged (see the klog and kleak
examples for details).
It is of course possible to use the relay interface from scratch,
i.e. without using any of the relay-apps example code or klog, but
you'll have to implement communication between userspace and kernel,
allowing both to convey the state of buffers (full, empty, amount of
padding). The read() interface both removes padding and internally
consumes the read sub-buffers; thus in cases where read(2) is being
used to drain the channel buffers, special-purpose communication
between kernel and user isn't necessary for basic operation. Things
such as buffer-full conditions would still need to be communicated via
some channel though.
klog and the relay-apps examples can be found in the relay-apps
tarball on http://relayfs.sourceforge.net
The relay interface user space API
==================================
The relayfs user space API
==========================
relayfs implements basic file operations for user space access to
relayfs channel buffer data. Here are the file operations that are
available and some comments regarding their behavior:
The relay interface implements basic file operations for user space
access to relay channel buffer data. Here are the file operations
that are available and some comments regarding their behavior:
open() enables user to open an _existing_ buffer.
open() enables user to open an _existing_ channel buffer.
mmap() results in channel buffer being mapped into the caller's
memory space. Note that you can't do a partial mmap - you must
map the entire file, which is NRBUF * SUBBUFSIZE.
mmap() results in channel buffer being mapped into the caller's
memory space. Note that you can't do a partial mmap - you
must map the entire file, which is NRBUF * SUBBUFSIZE.
read() read the contents of a channel buffer. The bytes read are
'consumed' by the reader i.e. they won't be available again
to subsequent reads. If the channel is being used in
no-overwrite mode (the default), it can be read at any time
even if there's an active kernel writer. If the channel is
being used in overwrite mode and there are active channel
writers, results may be unpredictable - users should make
sure that all logging to the channel has ended before using
read() with overwrite mode.
read() read the contents of a channel buffer. The bytes read are
'consumed' by the reader, i.e. they won't be available
again to subsequent reads. If the channel is being used
in no-overwrite mode (the default), it can be read at any
time even if there's an active kernel writer. If the
channel is being used in overwrite mode and there are
active channel writers, results may be unpredictable -
users should make sure that all logging to the channel has
ended before using read() with overwrite mode. Sub-buffer
padding is automatically removed and will not be seen by
the reader.
poll() POLLIN/POLLRDNORM/POLLERR supported. User applications are
notified when sub-buffer boundaries are crossed.
sendfile() transfer data from a channel buffer to an output file
descriptor. Sub-buffer padding is automatically removed
and will not be seen by the reader.
close() decrements the channel buffer's refcount. When the refcount
reaches 0 i.e. when no process or kernel client has the buffer
open, the channel buffer is freed.
poll() POLLIN/POLLRDNORM/POLLERR supported. User applications are
notified when sub-buffer boundaries are crossed.
close() decrements the channel buffer's refcount. When the refcount
reaches 0, i.e. when no process or kernel client has the
buffer open, the channel buffer is freed.
In order for a user application to make use of relayfs files, the
relayfs filesystem must be mounted. For example,
In order for a user application to make use of relay files, the
host filesystem must be mounted. For example,
mount -t relayfs relayfs /mnt/relay
mount -t debugfs debugfs /debug
NOTE: relayfs doesn't need to be mounted for kernel clients to create
or use channels - it only needs to be mounted when user space
applications need access to the buffer data.
NOTE: the host filesystem doesn't need to be mounted for kernel
clients to create or use channels - it only needs to be
mounted when user space applications need access to the buffer
data.
The relayfs kernel API
======================
Here's a summary of the API relayfs provides to in-kernel clients:
The relay interface kernel API
==============================
Here's a summary of the API the relay interface provides to in-kernel clients:
TBD(curr. line MT:/API/)
channel management functions:
relay_open(base_filename, parent, subbuf_size, n_subbufs,
......@@ -134,10 +161,6 @@ Here's a summary of the API relayfs provides to in-kernel clients:
relay_close(chan)
relay_flush(chan)
relay_reset(chan)
relayfs_create_dir(name, parent)
relayfs_remove_dir(dentry)
relayfs_create_file(name, parent, mode, fops, data)
relayfs_remove_file(dentry)
channel management typically called on instigation of userspace:
......@@ -168,15 +191,70 @@ Creating a channel
relay_open() is used to create a channel, along with its per-cpu
channel buffers. Each channel buffer will have an associated file
created for it in the relayfs filesystem, which can be opened and
mmapped from user space if desired. The files are named
basename0...basenameN-1 where N is the number of online cpus, and by
default will be created in the root of the filesystem. If you want a
directory structure to contain your relayfs files, you can create it
with relayfs_create_dir() and pass the parent directory to
relay_open(). Clients are responsible for cleaning up any directory
structure they create when the channel is closed - use
relayfs_remove_dir() for that.
created for it in the host filesystem, which can be and mmapped or
read from in user space. The files are named basename0...basenameN-1
where N is the number of online cpus, and by default will be created
in the root of the filesystem (if the parent param is NULL). If you
want a directory structure to contain your relay files, you should
create it using the host filesystem's directory creation function,
e.g. debugfs_create_dir(), and pass the parent directory to
relay_open(). Users are responsible for cleaning up any directory
structure they create, when the channel is closed - again the host
filesystem's directory removal functions should be used for that,
e.g. debugfs_remove().
In order for a channel to be created and the host filesystem's files
associated with its channel buffers, the user must provide definitions
for two callback functions, create_buf_file() and remove_buf_file().
create_buf_file() is called once for each per-cpu buffer from
relay_open() and allows the user to create the file which will be used
to represent the corresponding channel buffer. The callback should
return the dentry of the file created to represent the channel buffer.
remove_buf_file() must also be defined; it's responsible for deleting
the file(s) created in create_buf_file() and is called during
relay_close().
Here are some typical definitions for these callbacks, in this case
using debugfs:
/*
* create_buf_file() callback. Creates relay file in debugfs.
*/
static struct dentry *create_buf_file_handler(const char *filename,
struct dentry *parent,
int mode,
struct rchan_buf *buf,
int *is_global)
{
return debugfs_create_file(filename, mode, parent, buf,
&relay_file_operations);
}
/*
* remove_buf_file() callback. Removes relay file from debugfs.
*/
static int remove_buf_file_handler(struct dentry *dentry)
{
debugfs_remove(dentry);
return 0;
}
/*
* relay interface callbacks
*/
static struct rchan_callbacks relay_callbacks =
{
.create_buf_file = create_buf_file_handler,
.remove_buf_file = remove_buf_file_handler,
};
And an example relay_open() invocation using them:
chan = relay_open("cpu", NULL, SUBBUF_SIZE, N_SUBBUFS, &relay_callbacks);
If the create_buf_file() callback fails, or isn't defined, channel
creation and thus relay_open() will fail.
The total size of each per-cpu buffer is calculated by multiplying the
number of sub-buffers by the sub-buffer size passed into relay_open().
......@@ -192,23 +270,47 @@ though, it's safe to assume that having only 1 sub-buffer is a bad
idea - you're guaranteed to either overwrite data or lose events
depending on the channel mode being used.
The create_buf_file() implementation can also be defined in such a way
as to allow the creation of a single 'global' buffer instead of the
default per-cpu set. This can be useful for applications interested
mainly in seeing the relative ordering of system-wide events without
the need to bother with saving explicit timestamps for the purpose of
merging/sorting per-cpu files in a postprocessing step.
To have relay_open() create a global buffer, the create_buf_file()
implementation should set the value of the is_global outparam to a
non-zero value in addition to creating the file that will be used to
represent the single buffer. In the case of a global buffer,
create_buf_file() and remove_buf_file() will be called only once. The
normal channel-writing functions, e.g. relay_write(), can still be
used - writes from any cpu will transparently end up in the global
buffer - but since it is a global buffer, callers should make sure
they use the proper locking for such a buffer, either by wrapping
writes in a spinlock, or by copying a write function from relay.h and
creating a local version that internally does the proper locking.
Channel 'modes'
---------------
relayfs channels can be used in either of two modes - 'overwrite' or
relay channels can be used in either of two modes - 'overwrite' or
'no-overwrite'. The mode is entirely determined by the implementation
of the subbuf_start() callback, as described below. In 'overwrite'
mode, also known as 'flight recorder' mode, writes continuously cycle
around the buffer and will never fail, but will unconditionally
overwrite old data regardless of whether it's actually been consumed.
In no-overwrite mode, writes will fail i.e. data will be lost, if the
number of unconsumed sub-buffers equals the total number of
sub-buffers in the channel. It should be clear that if there is no
consumer or if the consumer can't consume sub-buffers fast enought,
data will be lost in either case; the only difference is whether data
is lost from the beginning or the end of a buffer.
As explained above, a relayfs channel is made of up one or more
of the subbuf_start() callback, as described below. The default if no
subbuf_start() callback is defined is 'no-overwrite' mode. If the
default mode suits your needs, and you plan to use the read()
interface to retrieve channel data, you can ignore the details of this
section, as it pertains mainly to mmap() implementations.
In 'overwrite' mode, also known as 'flight recorder' mode, writes
continuously cycle around the buffer and will never fail, but will
unconditionally overwrite old data regardless of whether it's actually
been consumed. In no-overwrite mode, writes will fail, i.e. data will
be lost, if the number of unconsumed sub-buffers equals the total
number of sub-buffers in the channel. It should be clear that if
there is no consumer or if the consumer can't consume sub-buffers fast
enough, data will be lost in either case; the only difference is
whether data is lost from the beginning or the end of a buffer.
As explained above, a relay channel is made of up one or more
per-cpu channel buffers, each implemented as a circular buffer
subdivided into one or more sub-buffers. Messages are written into
the current sub-buffer of the channel's current per-cpu buffer via the
......@@ -218,7 +320,7 @@ client is notified via the subbuf_start() callback that a switch to a
new sub-buffer is about to occur. The client uses this callback to 1)
initialize the next sub-buffer if appropriate 2) finalize the previous
sub-buffer if appropriate and 3) return a boolean value indicating
whether or not to actually go ahead with the sub-buffer switch.
whether or not to actually move on to the next sub-buffer.
To implement 'no-overwrite' mode, the userspace client would provide
an implementation of the subbuf_start() callback something like the
......@@ -240,17 +342,17 @@ static int subbuf_start(struct rchan_buf *buf,
return 1;
}
If the current buffer is full i.e. all sub-buffers remain unconsumed,
If the current buffer is full, i.e. all sub-buffers remain unconsumed,
the callback returns 0 to indicate that the buffer switch should not
occur yet i.e. until the consumer has had a chance to read the current
set of ready sub-buffers. For the relay_buf_full() function to make
sense, the consumer is reponsible for notifying relayfs when
sub-buffers have been consumed via relay_subbufs_consumed(). Any
subsequent attempts to write into the buffer will again invoke the
subbuf_start() callback with the same parameters; only when the
consumer has consumed one or more of the ready sub-buffers will
relay_buf_full() return 0, in which case the buffer switch can
continue.
occur yet, i.e. until the consumer has had a chance to read the
current set of ready sub-buffers. For the relay_buf_full() function
to make sense, the consumer is reponsible for notifying the relay
interface when sub-buffers have been consumed via
relay_subbufs_consumed(). Any subsequent attempts to write into the
buffer will again invoke the subbuf_start() callback with the same
parameters; only when the consumer has consumed one or more of the
ready sub-buffers will relay_buf_full() return 0, in which case the
buffer switch can continue.
The implementation of the subbuf_start() callback for 'overwrite' mode
would be very similar:
......@@ -276,7 +378,7 @@ consulted.
The default subbuf_start() implementation, used if the client doesn't
define any callbacks, or doesn't define the subbuf_start() callback,
implements the simplest possible 'no-overwrite' mode i.e. it does
implements the simplest possible 'no-overwrite' mode, i.e. it does
nothing but return 0.
Header information can be reserved at the beginning of each sub-buffer
......@@ -298,7 +400,7 @@ writing into the previous sub-buffer.
Writing to a channel
--------------------
kernel clients write data into the current cpu's channel buffer using
Kernel clients write data into the current cpu's channel buffer using
relay_write() or __relay_write(). relay_write() is the main logging
function - it uses local_irqsave() to protect the buffer and should be
used if you might be logging from interrupt context. If you know
......@@ -335,71 +437,6 @@ forces a sub-buffer switch on all the channel buffers, and can be used
to finalize and process the last sub-buffers before the channel is
closed.
Creating non-relay files
------------------------
relay_open() automatically creates files in the relayfs filesystem to
represent the per-cpu kernel buffers; it's often useful for
applications to be able to create their own files alongside the relay
files in the relayfs filesystem as well e.g. 'control' files much like
those created in /proc or debugfs for similar purposes, used to
communicate control information between the kernel and user sides of a
relayfs application. For this purpose the relayfs_create_file() and
relayfs_remove_file() API functions exist. For relayfs_create_file(),
the caller passes in a set of user-defined file operations to be used
for the file and an optional void * to a user-specified data item,
which will be accessible via inode->u.generic_ip (see the relay-apps
tarball for examples). The file_operations are a required parameter
to relayfs_create_file() and thus the semantics of these files are
completely defined by the caller.
See the relay-apps tarball at http://relayfs.sourceforge.net for
examples of how these non-relay files are meant to be used.
Creating relay files in other filesystems
-----------------------------------------
By default of course, relay_open() creates relay files in the relayfs
filesystem. Because relay_file_operations is exported, however, it's
also possible to create and use relay files in other pseudo-filesytems
such as debugfs.
For this purpose, two callback functions are provided,
create_buf_file() and remove_buf_file(). create_buf_file() is called
once for each per-cpu buffer from relay_open() to allow the client to
create a file to be used to represent the corresponding buffer; if
this callback is not defined, the default implementation will create
and return a file in the relayfs filesystem to represent the buffer.
The callback should return the dentry of the file created to represent
the relay buffer. Note that the parent directory passed to
relay_open() (and passed along to the callback), if specified, must
exist in the same filesystem the new relay file is created in. If
create_buf_file() is defined, remove_buf_file() must also be defined;
it's responsible for deleting the file(s) created in create_buf_file()
and is called during relay_close().
The create_buf_file() implementation can also be defined in such a way
as to allow the creation of a single 'global' buffer instead of the
default per-cpu set. This can be useful for applications interested
mainly in seeing the relative ordering of system-wide events without
the need to bother with saving explicit timestamps for the purpose of
merging/sorting per-cpu files in a postprocessing step.
To have relay_open() create a global buffer, the create_buf_file()
implementation should set the value of the is_global outparam to a
non-zero value in addition to creating the file that will be used to
represent the single buffer. In the case of a global buffer,
create_buf_file() and remove_buf_file() will be called only once. The
normal channel-writing functions e.g. relay_write() can still be used
- writes from any cpu will transparently end up in the global buffer -
but since it is a global buffer, callers should make sure they use the
proper locking for such a buffer, either by wrapping writes in a
spinlock, or by copying a write function from relayfs_fs.h and
creating a local version that internally does the proper locking.
See the 'exported-relayfile' examples in the relay-apps tarball for
examples of creating and using relay files in debugfs.
Misc
----
......@@ -408,7 +445,7 @@ rather than open and close a new channel for each use. relay_reset()
can be used for this purpose - it resets a channel to its initial
state without reallocating channel buffer memory or destroying
existing mappings. It should however only be called when it's safe to
do so i.e. when the channel isn't currently being written to.
do so, i.e. when the channel isn't currently being written to.
Finally, there are a couple of utility callbacks that can be used for
different purposes. buf_mapped() is called whenever a channel buffer
......@@ -421,7 +458,7 @@ the channel.
Resources
=========
For news, example code, mailing list, etc. see the relayfs homepage:
For news, example code, mailing list, etc. see the relay interface homepage:
http://relayfs.sourceforge.net
......@@ -429,8 +466,8 @@ For news, example code, mailing list, etc. see the relayfs homepage:
Credits
=======
The ideas and specs for relayfs came about as a result of discussions
on tracing involving the following:
The ideas and specs for the relay interface came about as a result of
discussions on tracing involving the following:
Michel Dagenais <michel.dagenais@polymtl.ca>
Richard Moore <richardj_moore@uk.ibm.com>
......
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