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Hardware-assisted software event tracing

Adrien Vergé, Naser Ezzati-Jivan and Michel Dagenais

Article (2017)

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Event tracing is a reliable and a low-intrusiveness method to debug and optimize systems and processes. Low overhead is particularly important in embedded systems where resources and energy consumption is critical. The most advanced tracing infrastructures achieve a very low footprint on the traced software, bringing each tracepoint overhead to less than a microsecond. To reduce this still non-negligible impact, the use of dedicated hardware resources is promising. In this paper, we propose complementary methods for tracing that rely on hardware modules to assist software tracing. We designed solutions to take advantage of CoreSight STM, CoreSight ETM, and Intel BTS, which are present on most newer ARM-based systems-on-chip and Intel x86 processors. Our results show that the time overhead for tracing can be reduced by up to 10 times when assisted by hardware, as compared to software tracing with LTTng, a high-performance tracer for Linux. We also propose a modification to the Perf tool to speed BTS execution tracing up to 65%.

Uncontrolled Keywords

ARM CoreSight; debugging; dedicated hardware; event tracing; Intel BTS; LTTng

Subjects: 2700 Information technology > 2700 Information technology
Department: Department of Computer Engineering and Software Engineering
Grant number: CRDPJ468687-14
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/2981/
Journal Title: Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience (vol. 29, no. 10)
Publisher: Wiley
DOI: 10.1002/cpe.4069
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/cpe.4069
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2018 17:10
Last Modified: 13 May 2023 10:02
Cite in APA 7: Vergé, A., Ezzati-Jivan, N., & Dagenais, M. (2017). Hardware-assisted software event tracing. Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience, 29(10), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpe.4069


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