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RCU Torture Test Operation
The CONFIG_RCU_TORTURE_TEST config option is available for all RCU
implementations. It creates an rcutorture kernel module that can
be loaded to run a torture test. The test periodically outputs
status messages via printk(), which can be examined via the dmesg
command (perhaps grepping for "torture"). The test is started
when the module is loaded, and stops when the module is unloaded.
This module has the following parameters:
fqs_duration Duration (in microseconds) of artificially induced bursts
of force_quiescent_state() invocations. In RCU
implementations having force_quiescent_state(), these
bursts help force races between forcing a given grace
period and that grace period ending on its own.
fqs_holdoff Holdoff time (in microseconds) between consecutive calls
to force_quiescent_state() within a burst.
fqs_stutter Wait time (in seconds) between consecutive bursts
of calls to force_quiescent_state().
gp_normal Make the fake writers use normal synchronous grace-period
gp_exp Make the fake writers use expedited synchronous grace-period
primitives. If both gp_normal and gp_exp are set, or
if neither gp_normal nor gp_exp are set, then randomly
choose the primitive so that about 50% are normal and
50% expedited. By default, neither are set, which
gives best overall test coverage.
irqreader Says to invoke RCU readers from irq level. This is currently
done via timers. Defaults to "1" for variants of RCU that
permit this. (Or, more accurately, variants of RCU that do
-not- permit this know to ignore this variable.)
n_barrier_cbs If this is nonzero, RCU barrier testing will be conducted,
in which case n_barrier_cbs specifies the number of
RCU callbacks (and corresponding kthreads) to use for
this testing. The value cannot be negative. If you
specify this to be non-zero when torture_type indicates a
synchronous RCU implementation (one for which a member of
the synchronize_rcu() rather than the call_rcu() family is
used -- see the documentation for torture_type below), an
error will be reported and no testing will be carried out.
nfakewriters This is the number of RCU fake writer threads to run. Fake
writer threads repeatedly use the synchronous "wait for
current readers" function of the interface selected by
torture_type, with a delay between calls to allow for various
different numbers of writers running in parallel.
nfakewriters defaults to 4, which provides enough parallelism
to trigger special cases caused by multiple writers, such as
the synchronize_srcu() early return optimization.
nreaders This is the number of RCU reading threads supported.
The default is twice the number of CPUs. Why twice?
To properly exercise RCU implementations with preemptible
read-side critical sections.
The number of seconds between each attempt to execute a
randomly selected CPU-hotplug operation. Defaults to
zero, which disables CPU hotplugging. In HOTPLUG_CPU=n
kernels, rcutorture will silently refuse to do any
CPU-hotplug operations regardless of what value is
specified for onoff_interval.
onoff_holdoff The number of seconds to wait until starting CPU-hotplug
operations. This would normally only be used when
rcutorture was built into the kernel and started
automatically at boot time, in which case it is useful
in order to avoid confusing boot-time code with CPUs
coming and going.
The number of seconds to keep the test threads affinitied
to a particular subset of the CPUs, defaults to 3 seconds.
Used in conjunction with test_no_idle_hz.
shutdown_secs The number of seconds to run the test before terminating
the test and powering off the system. The default is
zero, which disables test termination and system shutdown.
This capability is useful for automated testing.
stall_cpu The number of seconds that a CPU should be stalled while
within both an rcu_read_lock() and a preempt_disable().
This stall happens only once per rcutorture run.
If you need multiple stalls, use modprobe and rmmod to
repeatedly run rcutorture. The default for stall_cpu
is zero, which prevents rcutorture from stalling a CPU.
Note that attempts to rmmod rcutorture while the stall
is ongoing will hang, so be careful what value you
choose for this module parameter! In addition, too-large
values for stall_cpu might well induce failures and
warnings in other parts of the kernel. You have been
The number of seconds to wait after rcutorture starts
before stalling a CPU. Defaults to 10 seconds.
stat_interval The number of seconds between output of torture
statistics (via printk()). Regardless of the interval,
statistics are printed when the module is unloaded.
Setting the interval to zero causes the statistics to
be printed -only- when the module is unloaded, and this
is the default.
stutter The length of time to run the test before pausing for this
same period of time. Defaults to "stutter=5", so as
to run and pause for (roughly) five-second intervals.
Specifying "stutter=0" causes the test to run continuously
without pausing, which is the old default behavior.
test_boost Whether or not to test the ability of RCU to do priority
boosting. Defaults to "test_boost=1", which performs
RCU priority-inversion testing only if the selected
RCU implementation supports priority boosting. Specifying
"test_boost=0" never performs RCU priority-inversion
testing. Specifying "test_boost=2" performs RCU
priority-inversion testing even if the selected RCU
implementation does not support RCU priority boosting,
which can be used to test rcutorture's ability to
carry out RCU priority-inversion testing.
The number of seconds in an RCU priority-inversion test
cycle. Defaults to "test_boost_interval=7". It is
usually wise for this value to be relatively prime to
the value selected for "stutter".
The number of seconds to do RCU priority-inversion testing
within any given "test_boost_interval". Defaults to
test_no_idle_hz Whether or not to test the ability of RCU to operate in
a kernel that disables the scheduling-clock interrupt to
idle CPUs. Boolean parameter, "1" to test, "0" otherwise.
Defaults to omitting this test.
torture_type The type of RCU to test, with string values as follows:
"rcu": rcu_read_lock(), rcu_read_unlock() and call_rcu(),
along with expedited, synchronous, and polling
"rcu_bh": rcu_read_lock_bh(), rcu_read_unlock_bh(), and
call_rcu_bh(), along with expedited and synchronous
"rcu_busted": This tests an intentionally incorrect version
of RCU in order to help test rcutorture itself.
"srcu": srcu_read_lock(), srcu_read_unlock() and
call_srcu(), along with expedited and
synchronous variants.
"sched": preempt_disable(), preempt_enable(), and
call_rcu_sched(), along with expedited,
synchronous, and polling variants.
"tasks": voluntary context switch and call_rcu_tasks(),
along with expedited and synchronous variants.
Defaults to "rcu".
verbose Enable debug printk()s. Default is disabled.
The statistics output is as follows:
rcu-torture:--- Start of test: nreaders=16 nfakewriters=4 stat_interval=30 verbose=0 test_no_idle_hz=1 shuffle_interval=3 stutter=5 irqreader=1 fqs_duration=0 fqs_holdoff=0 fqs_stutter=3 test_boost=1/0 test_boost_interval=7 test_boost_duration=4
rcu-torture: rtc: (null) ver: 155441 tfle: 0 rta: 155441 rtaf: 8884 rtf: 155440 rtmbe: 0 rtbe: 0 rtbke: 0 rtbre: 0 rtbf: 0 rtb: 0 nt: 3055767
rcu-torture: Reader Pipe: 727860534 34213 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
rcu-torture: Reader Batch: 727877838 17003 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
rcu-torture: Free-Block Circulation: 155440 155440 155440 155440 155440 155440 155440 155440 155440 155440 0
rcu-torture:--- End of test: SUCCESS: nreaders=16 nfakewriters=4 stat_interval=30 verbose=0 test_no_idle_hz=1 shuffle_interval=3 stutter=5 irqreader=1 fqs_duration=0 fqs_holdoff=0 fqs_stutter=3 test_boost=1/0 test_boost_interval=7 test_boost_duration=4
The command "dmesg | grep torture:" will extract this information on
most systems. On more esoteric configurations, it may be necessary to
use other commands to access the output of the printk()s used by
the RCU torture test. The printk()s use KERN_ALERT, so they should
be evident. ;-)
The first and last lines show the rcutorture module parameters, and the
last line shows either "SUCCESS" or "FAILURE", based on rcutorture's
automatic determination as to whether RCU operated correctly.
The entries are as follows:
o "rtc": The hexadecimal address of the structure currently visible
to readers.
o "ver": The number of times since boot that the RCU writer task
has changed the structure visible to readers.
o "tfle": If non-zero, indicates that the "torture freelist"
containing structures to be placed into the "rtc" area is empty.
This condition is important, since it can fool you into thinking
that RCU is working when it is not. :-/
o "rta": Number of structures allocated from the torture freelist.
o "rtaf": Number of allocations from the torture freelist that have
failed due to the list being empty. It is not unusual for this
to be non-zero, but it is bad for it to be a large fraction of
the value indicated by "rta".
o "rtf": Number of frees into the torture freelist.
o "rtmbe": A non-zero value indicates that rcutorture believes that
rcu_assign_pointer() and rcu_dereference() are not working
correctly. This value should be zero.
o "rtbe": A non-zero value indicates that one of the rcu_barrier()
family of functions is not working correctly.
o "rtbke": rcutorture was unable to create the real-time kthreads
used to force RCU priority inversion. This value should be zero.
o "rtbre": Although rcutorture successfully created the kthreads
used to force RCU priority inversion, it was unable to set them
to the real-time priority level of 1. This value should be zero.
o "rtbf": The number of times that RCU priority boosting failed
to resolve RCU priority inversion.
o "rtb": The number of times that rcutorture attempted to force
an RCU priority inversion condition. If you are testing RCU
priority boosting via the "test_boost" module parameter, this
value should be non-zero.
o "nt": The number of times rcutorture ran RCU read-side code from
within a timer handler. This value should be non-zero only
if you specified the "irqreader" module parameter.
o "Reader Pipe": Histogram of "ages" of structures seen by readers.
If any entries past the first two are non-zero, RCU is broken.
And rcutorture prints the error flag string "!!!" to make sure
you notice. The age of a newly allocated structure is zero,
it becomes one when removed from reader visibility, and is
incremented once per grace period subsequently -- and is freed
after passing through (RCU_TORTURE_PIPE_LEN-2) grace periods.
The output displayed above was taken from a correctly working
RCU. If you want to see what it looks like when broken, break
it yourself. ;-)
o "Reader Batch": Another histogram of "ages" of structures seen
by readers, but in terms of counter flips (or batches) rather
than in terms of grace periods. The legal number of non-zero
entries is again two. The reason for this separate view is that
it is sometimes easier to get the third entry to show up in the
"Reader Batch" list than in the "Reader Pipe" list.
o "Free-Block Circulation": Shows the number of torture structures
that have reached a given point in the pipeline. The first element
should closely correspond to the number of structures allocated,
the second to the number that have been removed from reader view,
and all but the last remaining to the corresponding number of
passes through a grace period. The last entry should be zero,
as it is only incremented if a torture structure's counter
somehow gets incremented farther than it should.
Different implementations of RCU can provide implementation-specific
additional information. For example, Tree SRCU provides the following
additional line:
srcud-torture: Tree SRCU per-CPU(idx=0): 0(35,-21) 1(-4,24) 2(1,1) 3(-26,20) 4(28,-47) 5(-9,4) 6(-10,14) 7(-14,11) T(1,6)
This line shows the per-CPU counter state, in this case for Tree SRCU
using a dynamically allocated srcu_struct (hence "srcud-" rather than
"srcu-"). The numbers in parentheses are the values of the "old" and
"current" counters for the corresponding CPU. The "idx" value maps the
"old" and "current" values to the underlying array, and is useful for
debugging. The final "T" entry contains the totals of the counters.
The following script may be used to torture RCU:
modprobe rcutorture
sleep 3600
rmmod rcutorture
dmesg | grep torture:
The output can be manually inspected for the error flag of "!!!".
One could of course create a more elaborate script that automatically
checked for such errors. The "rmmod" command forces a "SUCCESS",
"FAILURE", or "RCU_HOTPLUG" indication to be printk()ed. The first
two are self-explanatory, while the last indicates that while there
were no RCU failures, CPU-hotplug problems were detected.
However, the tools/testing/selftests/rcutorture/bin/ script
provides better automation, including automatic failure analysis.
It assumes a qemu/kvm-enabled platform, and runs guest OSes out of initrd.
See tools/testing/selftests/rcutorture/doc/initrd.txt for instructions
on setting up such an initrd.