Kernel Tuning and Analysis Utilities

KTAU Infrastructure for ANL BlueGene/L System

University of Oregon

1. KTAU Infrastructure for ANL BlueGene/L System

1.1. KTAU and ZeptoOS Overview

NOTE: More detail information of ANL BluGene/L system configuration can be found at

One of KTAU's goals is to provide kernel profiling/tracing facility for application running on BG/L system. On a Linux system, KTAU can be used to monitor kernel activities among processes. At compile time, user can enable sets of instrumentations which target different features of Linux kernel such as system calls, TCP stacks, interrup handling, bottomhalf handling, and etc. KTAU can genarate profile/trace for system-wide (all running processes) or individual process, which can be viewed using existing tools such as Paraprof for profile, and Vampir or Jumpshot for trace. Since BG/L uses a modified version of Linux as io-node kernel, this allows KTAU to be able to profile/trace kernel activities of the io-node with little modification.

In order to run KTAU on BG/L, KTAU is loosely integrated as part of ZeptoOS. ZeptoOS is a set of utilities that allow users to configure the environment for running jobs on BG/L. This includes specifying kernel image for io-node and compute-node, ramdisk image , filesystem, remote-login facility using ssh and telnet, and etc. Users can download KTAU, configure ZeptoOS to enable supports and specify parameters for KTAU, build ZeptoOS, and then specify the built environment with the job submission.

1.2. KTAU Framework

KTAU has two possible frameworks :

  1. Daemon-based

    In this framework, we use KTAUD (KTAU daemon) to periodically access kernel profile/trace data and output to filesystem for post-processing. This framework allows KTAU to profile/trace any processes without instrumenting the source code. This is important in the case of BG/L where most source code is not available such as CIOD and other daemon processes.

  2. Application-based

    Applications can explicitly call to KTAU User-APIs to access profile/trace data at any points. This framework requires that the application source code is available, and is instrumented with calls to access KTAU profile/trace data. An example is to instrument an application functions at the entry and exit points. This way, we can monitor how much kernel activities are present within each of the instrumented function. TAU uses this framework to access kenel-level profile/trace, which later can be merged with its own profile/trace from application-level. This results in a complete profile/trace information across the kernel-user space. This framework can be used on BG/L once the source code of CIOD or ZIOD (ZeptoOS version of CIOD) is available.

1.3. Current Infrastructure

Currently, we use the daemon-based framework on BGL. KTAUD is included to the ZeptoOS ramdisk image through the ZeptoOS configuration. KTAUD is then started on the io-node during system initialization. It will run until the job is finished, then terminated. We are able to monitor process activities inside the kernel of ionode. An interesting example is to monitor CIOD handling system calls forwarding from BG/L compute-node. Please, see the KTAU-ZeptoOS Demos for more details.