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Using RCU's CPU Stall Detector
This document first discusses what sorts of issues RCU's CPU stall
detector can locate, and then discusses kernel parameters and Kconfig
options that can be used to fine-tune the detector's operation. Finally,
this document explains the stall detector's "splat" format.
What Causes RCU CPU Stall Warnings?
So your kernel printed an RCU CPU stall warning. The next question is
"What caused it?" The following problems can result in RCU CPU stall
o A CPU looping in an RCU read-side critical section.
o A CPU looping with interrupts disabled.
o A CPU looping with preemption disabled. This condition can
result in RCU-sched stalls and, if ksoftirqd is in use, RCU-bh
o A CPU looping with bottom halves disabled. This condition can
result in RCU-sched and RCU-bh stalls.
o For !CONFIG_PREEMPT kernels, a CPU looping anywhere in the
kernel without invoking schedule(). Note that cond_resched()
does not necessarily prevent RCU CPU stall warnings. Therefore,
if the looping in the kernel is really expected and desirable
behavior, you might need to replace some of the cond_resched()
calls with calls to cond_resched_rcu_qs().
o Booting Linux using a console connection that is too slow to
keep up with the boot-time console-message rate. For example,
a 115Kbaud serial console can be -way- too slow to keep up
with boot-time message rates, and will frequently result in
RCU CPU stall warning messages. Especially if you have added
debug printk()s.
o Anything that prevents RCU's grace-period kthreads from running.
This can result in the "All QSes seen" console-log message.
This message will include information on when the kthread last
ran and how often it should be expected to run.
o A CPU-bound real-time task in a CONFIG_PREEMPT kernel, which might
happen to preempt a low-priority task in the middle of an RCU
read-side critical section. This is especially damaging if
that low-priority task is not permitted to run on any other CPU,
in which case the next RCU grace period can never complete, which
will eventually cause the system to run out of memory and hang.
While the system is in the process of running itself out of
memory, you might see stall-warning messages.
o A CPU-bound real-time task in a CONFIG_PREEMPT_RT kernel that
is running at a higher priority than the RCU softirq threads.
This will prevent RCU callbacks from ever being invoked,
and in a CONFIG_PREEMPT_RCU kernel will further prevent
RCU grace periods from ever completing. Either way, the
system will eventually run out of memory and hang. In the
CONFIG_PREEMPT_RCU case, you might see stall-warning
o A hardware or software issue shuts off the scheduler-clock
interrupt on a CPU that is not in dyntick-idle mode. This
problem really has happened, and seems to be most likely to
result in RCU CPU stall warnings for CONFIG_NO_HZ_COMMON=n kernels.
o A bug in the RCU implementation.
o A hardware failure. This is quite unlikely, but has occurred
at least once in real life. A CPU failed in a running system,
becoming unresponsive, but not causing an immediate crash.
This resulted in a series of RCU CPU stall warnings, eventually
leading the realization that the CPU had failed.
The RCU, RCU-sched, RCU-bh, and RCU-tasks implementations have CPU stall
warning. Note that SRCU does -not- have CPU stall warnings. Please note
that RCU only detects CPU stalls when there is a grace period in progress.
No grace period, no CPU stall warnings.
To diagnose the cause of the stall, inspect the stack traces.
The offending function will usually be near the top of the stack.
If you have a series of stall warnings from a single extended stall,
comparing the stack traces can often help determine where the stall
is occurring, which will usually be in the function nearest the top of
that portion of the stack which remains the same from trace to trace.
If you can reliably trigger the stall, ftrace can be quite helpful.
RCU bugs can often be debugged with the help of CONFIG_RCU_TRACE
and with RCU's event tracing. For information on RCU's event tracing,
see include/trace/events/rcu.h.
Fine-Tuning the RCU CPU Stall Detector
The rcuupdate.rcu_cpu_stall_suppress module parameter disables RCU's
CPU stall detector, which detects conditions that unduly delay RCU grace
periods. This module parameter enables CPU stall detection by default,
but may be overridden via boot-time parameter or at runtime via sysfs.
The stall detector's idea of what constitutes "unduly delayed" is
controlled by a set of kernel configuration variables and cpp macros:
This kernel configuration parameter defines the period of time
that RCU will wait from the beginning of a grace period until it
issues an RCU CPU stall warning. This time period is normally
21 seconds.
This configuration parameter may be changed at runtime via the
/sys/module/rcupdate/parameters/rcu_cpu_stall_timeout, however
this parameter is checked only at the beginning of a cycle.
So if you are 10 seconds into a 40-second stall, setting this
sysfs parameter to (say) five will shorten the timeout for the
-next- stall, or the following warning for the current stall
(assuming the stall lasts long enough). It will not affect the
timing of the next warning for the current stall.
Stall-warning messages may be enabled and disabled completely via
Although the lockdep facility is extremely useful, it does add
some overhead. Therefore, under CONFIG_PROVE_RCU, the
RCU_STALL_DELAY_DELTA macro allows five extra seconds before
giving an RCU CPU stall warning message. (This is a cpp
macro, not a kernel configuration parameter.)
The CPU stall detector tries to make the offending CPU print its
own warnings, as this often gives better-quality stack traces.
However, if the offending CPU does not detect its own stall in
the number of jiffies specified by RCU_STALL_RAT_DELAY, then
some other CPU will complain. This delay is normally set to
two jiffies. (This is a cpp macro, not a kernel configuration
This boot/sysfs parameter controls the RCU-tasks stall warning
interval. A value of zero or less suppresses RCU-tasks stall
warnings. A positive value sets the stall-warning interval
in jiffies. An RCU-tasks stall warning starts with the line:
INFO: rcu_tasks detected stalls on tasks:
And continues with the output of sched_show_task() for each
task stalling the current RCU-tasks grace period.
Interpreting RCU's CPU Stall-Detector "Splats"
For non-RCU-tasks flavors of RCU, when a CPU detects that it is stalling,
it will print a message similar to the following:
INFO: rcu_sched_state detected stall on CPU 5 (t=2500 jiffies)
This message indicates that CPU 5 detected that it was causing a stall,
and that the stall was affecting RCU-sched. This message will normally be
followed by a stack dump of the offending CPU. On TREE_RCU kernel builds,
RCU and RCU-sched are implemented by the same underlying mechanism,
while on PREEMPT_RCU kernel builds, RCU is instead implemented
by rcu_preempt_state.
On the other hand, if the offending CPU fails to print out a stall-warning
message quickly enough, some other CPU will print a message similar to
the following:
INFO: rcu_bh_state detected stalls on CPUs/tasks: { 3 5 } (detected by 2, 2502 jiffies)
This message indicates that CPU 2 detected that CPUs 3 and 5 were both
causing stalls, and that the stall was affecting RCU-bh. This message
will normally be followed by stack dumps for each CPU. Please note that
PREEMPT_RCU builds can be stalled by tasks as well as by CPUs,
and that the tasks will be indicated by PID, for example, "P3421".
It is even possible for a rcu_preempt_state stall to be caused by both
CPUs -and- tasks, in which case the offending CPUs and tasks will all
be called out in the list.
Finally, if the grace period ends just as the stall warning starts
printing, there will be a spurious stall-warning message:
INFO: rcu_bh_state detected stalls on CPUs/tasks: { } (detected by 4, 2502 jiffies)
This is rare, but does happen from time to time in real life. It is also
possible for a zero-jiffy stall to be flagged in this case, depending
on how the stall warning and the grace-period initialization happen to
interact. Please note that it is not possible to entirely eliminate this
sort of false positive without resorting to things like stop_machine(),
which is overkill for this sort of problem.
Recent kernels will print a long form of the stall-warning message:
INFO: rcu_preempt detected stall on CPU
0: (63959 ticks this GP) idle=241/3fffffffffffffff/0 softirq=82/543
(t=65000 jiffies)
In kernels with CONFIG_RCU_FAST_NO_HZ, more information is printed:
INFO: rcu_preempt detected stall on CPU
0: (64628 ticks this GP) idle=dd5/3fffffffffffffff/0 softirq=82/543 last_accelerate: a345/d342 nonlazy_posted: 25 .D
(t=65000 jiffies)
The "(64628 ticks this GP)" indicates that this CPU has taken more
than 64,000 scheduling-clock interrupts during the current stalled
grace period. If the CPU was not yet aware of the current grace
period (for example, if it was offline), then this part of the message
indicates how many grace periods behind the CPU is.
The "idle=" portion of the message prints the dyntick-idle state.
The hex number before the first "/" is the low-order 12 bits of the
dynticks counter, which will have an even-numbered value if the CPU is
in dyntick-idle mode and an odd-numbered value otherwise. The hex
number between the two "/"s is the value of the nesting, which will
be a small positive number if in the idle loop and a very large positive
number (as shown above) otherwise.
The "softirq=" portion of the message tracks the number of RCU softirq
handlers that the stalled CPU has executed. The number before the "/"
is the number that had executed since boot at the time that this CPU
last noted the beginning of a grace period, which might be the current
(stalled) grace period, or it might be some earlier grace period (for
example, if the CPU might have been in dyntick-idle mode for an extended
time period. The number after the "/" is the number that have executed
since boot until the current time. If this latter number stays constant
across repeated stall-warning messages, it is possible that RCU's softirq
handlers are no longer able to execute on this CPU. This can happen if
the stalled CPU is spinning with interrupts are disabled, or, in -rt
kernels, if a high-priority process is starving RCU's softirq handler.
For CONFIG_RCU_FAST_NO_HZ kernels, the "last_accelerate:" prints the
low-order 16 bits (in hex) of the jiffies counter when this CPU last
invoked rcu_try_advance_all_cbs() from rcu_needs_cpu() or last invoked
rcu_accelerate_cbs() from rcu_prepare_for_idle(). The "nonlazy_posted:"
prints the number of non-lazy callbacks posted since the last call to
rcu_needs_cpu(). Finally, an "L" indicates that there are currently
no non-lazy callbacks ("." is printed otherwise, as shown above) and
"D" indicates that dyntick-idle processing is enabled ("." is printed
otherwise, for example, if disabled via the "nohz=" kernel boot parameter).
If the relevant grace-period kthread has been unable to run prior to
the stall warning, the following additional line is printed:
rcu_preempt kthread starved for 2023 jiffies!
Starving the grace-period kthreads of CPU time can of course result in
RCU CPU stall warnings even when all CPUs and tasks have passed through
the required quiescent states.
Multiple Warnings From One Stall
If a stall lasts long enough, multiple stall-warning messages will be
printed for it. The second and subsequent messages are printed at
longer intervals, so that the time between (say) the first and second
message will be about three times the interval between the beginning
of the stall and the first message.
Stall Warnings for Expedited Grace Periods
If an expedited grace period detects a stall, it will place a message
like the following in dmesg:
INFO: rcu_sched detected expedited stalls on CPUs: { 1 2 6 } 26009 jiffies s: 1043
This indicates that CPUs 1, 2, and 6 have failed to respond to a
reschedule IPI, that the expedited grace period has been going on for
26,009 jiffies, and that the expedited grace-period sequence counter is
1043. The fact that this last value is odd indicates that an expedited
grace period is in flight.
It is entirely possible to see stall warnings from normal and from
expedited grace periods at about the same time from the same run.