Locating System Problems Using Dynamic Instrumentation

Diagnosing complex performance or kernel debugging problems often requires kernel modifications with multiple rebuilds and reboots. This is tedious, time-consuming work that most developers would prefer to minimize.

Systemtap uses the kprobes infrastructure to dynamically instrument the kernel and user applications. Systemtap instrumentation incurs low overhead when enabled, and zero overhead when disabled. SystemTap provides facilities to define instrumentation points in a high-level language, and to aggregate and analyze the instrumentation data. Details of the SystemTap architecture and implementation are presented, along with an example of its application.

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