Kdump, A Kexec-­based Kernel Crash Dumping Mechanism

Kdump is a kexec based kernel crash dumping mechanism, which is being perceived as a reliable crash dumping solution for Linux. This paper begins with brief description of what kexec is and what it can do in general case, and then details how kexec has been modified to boot a new kernel even in a system crash event.

Kexec enables booting into a new kernel while preserving the memory contents in a crash scenario, and kdump uses this feature to capture the kernel crash dump. Physical memory layout and processor state are encoded in ELF core format, and these headers are stored in a reserved section of memory. Upon a crash, new kernel boots up from reserved memory and provides a platform to retrieve stored ELF headers and capture the crash dump. Also detailed are ELF core header creation, dump capture mechanism, and how to configure and use the kdump feature.

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