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Fine-Grained Dynamic Instrumentation of Commodity Operating System Kernels



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Fine Grained Dynamic Instrumentation of Commodity Operating System Kernels1 Ariel Tamches and Barton P Miller Computer Sciences Department University of Wisconsin Madison WI 53706 1685 tamches bart cs wisc edu Abstract We have developed a technology fine grained dynamic instrumentation of commodity kernels which can splice insert dynamically generated code before almost any machine code instruction of a completely unmodified running commodity operating system kernel This technology is well suited to performance profiling debugging code coverage security auditing runtime code optimizations and kernel extensions We have designed and implemented a tool called KernInst that performs dynamic instrumentation on a stock production Solaris kernel running on an UltraSPARC On top of KernInst we have implemented a kernel performance profiling tool and used it to understand kernel and application performance under a Web proxy server workload We used this information to make two changes one to the kernel one to the proxy that cumulatively reduce the percentage of elapsed time that the proxy spends opening disk cache files from 40 to 7 1 Introduction Operating system kernels are complex entities whose internals often are difficult to understand much less measure and optimize Recently extensible kernels such as SPIN Exokernel and VINO have been designed to allow applications to extend functionality and specify kernel policies 4 6 17 Synthetix allows specialized versions of certain kernel functions to be installed at runtime providing dynamic optimization 16 A design has even been proposed for a self measuring and self adapting extensible kernel 18 All of the above work has been performed on customized kernels so it is difficult to evaluate or use with real world programs and workloads This paper introduces finegrained dynamic kernel instrumentation a low level technology that allows arbitrary code to be spliced inserted at almost any kernel machine code location during runtime



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