[v8,12/12] drm/i915: Add a kerneldoc summary for i915_perf.c
diff mbox

Message ID 20161028021430.2177-13-robert@sixbynine.org
State New
Headers show

Commit Message

Robert Bragg Oct. 28, 2016, 2:14 a.m. UTC
In particular this tries to capture for posterity some of the early
challenges we had with using the core perf infrastructure in case we
ever want to revisit adapting perf for device metrics.

Cc: Chris Wilson <chris@chris-wilson.co.uk>
Signed-off-by: Robert Bragg <robert@sixbynine.org>
Reviewed-by: Matthew Auld <matthew.auld@intel.com>
---
 drivers/gpu/drm/i915/i915_perf.c | 163 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 1 file changed, 163 insertions(+)

Patch
diff mbox

diff --git a/drivers/gpu/drm/i915/i915_perf.c b/drivers/gpu/drm/i915/i915_perf.c
index e3c6f51..621b3aa 100644
--- a/drivers/gpu/drm/i915/i915_perf.c
+++ b/drivers/gpu/drm/i915/i915_perf.c
@@ -24,6 +24,169 @@ 
  *   Robert Bragg <robert@sixbynine.org>
  */
 
+
+/**
+ * DOC: i915 Perf, streaming API for GPU metrics
+ *
+ * Gen graphics supports a large number of performance counters that can help
+ * driver and application developers understand and optimize their use of the
+ * GPU.
+ *
+ * This i915 perf interface enables userspace to configure and open a file
+ * descriptor representing a stream of GPU metrics which can then be read() as
+ * a stream of sample records.
+ *
+ * The interface is particularly suited to exposing buffered metrics that are
+ * captured by DMA from the GPU, unsynchronized with and unrelated to the CPU.
+ *
+ * Streams representing a single context are accessible to applications with a
+ * corresponding drm file descriptor, such that OpenGL can use the interface
+ * without special privileges. Access to system-wide metrics requires root
+ * privileges by default, unless changed via the dev.i915.perf_event_paranoid
+ * sysctl option.
+ *
+ *
+ * The interface was initially inspired by the core Perf infrastructure but
+ * some notable differences are:
+ *
+ * i915 perf file descriptors represent a "stream" instead of an "event"; where
+ * a perf event primarily corresponds to a single 64bit value, while a stream
+ * might sample sets of tightly-coupled counters, depending on the
+ * configuration.  For example the Gen OA unit isn't designed to support
+ * orthogonal configurations of individual counters; it's configured for a set
+ * of related counters. Samples for an i915 perf stream capturing OA metrics
+ * will include a set of counter values packed in a compact HW specific format.
+ * The OA unit supports a number of different packing formats which can be
+ * selected by the user opening the stream. Perf has support for grouping
+ * events, but each event in the group is configured, validated and
+ * authenticated individually with separate system calls.
+ *
+ * i915 perf stream configurations are provided as an array of u64 (key,value)
+ * pairs, instead of a fixed struct with multiple miscellaneous config members,
+ * interleaved with event-type specific members.
+ *
+ * i915 perf doesn't support exposing metrics via an mmap'd circular buffer.
+ * The supported metrics are being written to memory by the GPU unsynchronized
+ * with the CPU, using HW specific packing formats for counter sets. Sometimes
+ * the constraints on HW configuration require reports to be filtered before it
+ * would be acceptable to expose them to unprivileged applications - to hide
+ * the metrics of other processes/contexts. For these use cases a read() based
+ * interface is a good fit, and provides an opportunity to filter data as it
+ * gets copied from the GPU mapped buffers to userspace buffers.
+ *
+ *
+ * Some notes regarding Linux Perf:
+ * --------------------------------
+ *
+ * The first prototype of this driver was based on the core perf
+ * infrastructure, and while we did make that mostly work, with some changes to
+ * perf, we found we were breaking or working around too many assumptions baked
+ * into perf's currently cpu centric design.
+ *
+ * In the end we didn't see a clear benefit to making perf's implementation and
+ * interface more complex by changing design assumptions while we knew we still
+ * wouldn't be able to use any existing perf based userspace tools.
+ *
+ * Also considering the Gen specific nature of the Observability hardware and
+ * how userspace will sometimes need to combine i915 perf OA metrics with
+ * side-band OA data captured via MI_REPORT_PERF_COUNT commands; we're
+ * expecting the interface to be used by a platform specific userspace such as
+ * OpenGL or tools. This is to say; we aren't inherently missing out on having
+ * a standard vendor/architecture agnostic interface by not using perf.
+ *
+ *
+ * For posterity, in case we might re-visit trying to adapt core perf to be
+ * better suited to exposing i915 metrics these were the main pain points we
+ * hit:
+ *
+ * - The perf based OA PMU driver broke some significant design assumptions:
+ *
+ *   Existing perf pmus are used for profiling work on a cpu and we were
+ *   introducing the idea of _IS_DEVICE pmus with different security
+ *   implications, the need to fake cpu-related data (such as user/kernel
+ *   registers) to fit with perf's current design, and adding _DEVICE records
+ *   as a way to forward device-specific status records.
+ *
+ *   The OA unit writes reports of counters into a circular buffer, without
+ *   involvement from the CPU, making our PMU driver the first of a kind.
+ *
+ *   Given the way we were periodically forward data from the GPU-mapped, OA
+ *   buffer to perf's buffer, those bursts of sample writes looked to perf like
+ *   we were sampling too fast and so we had to subvert its throttling checks.
+ *
+ *   Perf supports groups of counters and allows those to be read via
+ *   transactions internally but transactions currently seem designed to be
+ *   explicitly initiated from the cpu (say in response to a userspace read())
+ *   and while we could pull a report out of the OA buffer we can't
+ *   trigger a report from the cpu on demand.
+ *
+ *   Related to being report based; the OA counters are configured in HW as a
+ *   set while perf generally expects counter configurations to be orthogonal.
+ *   Although counters can be associated with a group leader as they are
+ *   opened, there's no clear precedent for being able to provide group-wide
+ *   configuration attributes (for example we want to let userspace choose the
+ *   OA unit report format used to capture all counters in a set, or specify a
+ *   GPU context to filter metrics on). We avoided using perf's grouping
+ *   feature and forwarded OA reports to userspace via perf's 'raw' sample
+ *   field. This suited our userspace well considering how coupled the counters
+ *   are when dealing with normalizing. It would be inconvenient to split
+ *   counters up into separate events, only to require userspace to recombine
+ *   them. For Mesa it's also convenient to be forwarded raw, periodic reports
+ *   for combining with the side-band raw reports it captures using
+ *   MI_REPORT_PERF_COUNT commands.
+ *
+ *   _ As a side note on perf's grouping feature; there was also some concern
+ *     that using PERF_FORMAT_GROUP as a way to pack together counter values
+ *     would quite drastically inflate our sample sizes, which would likely
+ *     lower the effective sampling resolutions we could use when the available
+ *     memory bandwidth is limited.
+ *
+ *     With the OA unit's report formats, counters are packed together as 32
+ *     or 40bit values, with the largest report size being 256 bytes.
+ *
+ *     PERF_FORMAT_GROUP values are 64bit, but there doesn't appear to be a
+ *     documented ordering to the values, implying PERF_FORMAT_ID must also be
+ *     used to add a 64bit ID before each value; giving 16 bytes per counter.
+ *
+ *   Related to counter orthogonality; we can't time share the OA unit, while
+ *   event scheduling is a central design idea within perf for allowing
+ *   userspace to open + enable more events than can be configured in HW at any
+ *   one time.  The OA unit is not designed to allow re-configuration while in
+ *   use. We can't reconfigure the OA unit without losing internal OA unit
+ *   state which we can't access explicitly to save and restore. Reconfiguring
+ *   the OA unit is also relatively slow, involving ~100 register writes. From
+ *   userspace Mesa also depends on a stable OA configuration when emitting
+ *   MI_REPORT_PERF_COUNT commands and importantly the OA unit can't be
+ *   disabled while there are outstanding MI_RPC commands lest we hang the
+ *   command streamer.
+ *
+ *   The contents of sample records aren't extensible by device drivers (i.e.
+ *   the sample_type bits). As an example; Sourab Gupta had been looking to
+ *   attach GPU timestamps to our OA samples. We were shoehorning OA reports
+ *   into sample records by using the 'raw' field, but it's tricky to pack more
+ *   than one thing into this field because events/core.c currently only lets a
+ *   pmu give a single raw data pointer plus len which will be copied into the
+ *   ring buffer. To include more than the OA report we'd have to copy the
+ *   report into an intermediate larger buffer. I'd been considering allowing a
+ *   vector of data+len values to be specified for copying the raw data, but
+ *   it felt like a kludge to being using the raw field for this purpose.
+ *
+ * - It felt like our perf based PMU was making some technical compromises
+ *   just for the sake of using perf:
+ *
+ *   perf_event_open() requires events to either relate to a pid or a specific
+ *   cpu core, while our device pmu related to neither.  Events opened with a
+ *   pid will be automatically enabled/disabled according to the scheduling of
+ *   that process - so not appropriate for us. When an event is related to a
+ *   cpu id, perf ensures pmu methods will be invoked via an inter process
+ *   interrupt on that core. To avoid invasive changes our userspace opened OA
+ *   perf events for a specific cpu. This was workable but it meant the
+ *   majority of the OA driver ran in atomic context, including all OA report
+ *   forwarding, which wasn't really necessary in our case and seems to make
+ *   our locking requirements somewhat complex as we handled the interaction
+ *   with the rest of the i915 driver.
+ */
+
 #include <linux/anon_inodes.h>
 #include <linux/sizes.h>