Pivot Tracing Client: Tracepoints

Tracepoints typically correspond to method invocations, and can be uniquely identified by their method signature. For example, the DataNodeMetrics.incrBytesRead tracepoint specifically refers to the method:

void org.apache.hadoop.hdfs.server.datanode.metrics.DataNodeMetrics.incrBytesRead(int delta)

The MethodTracepoint class represents such a tracepoint. To create a tracepoint for this method, we can invoke the static API:

MethodTracepoint hdfs_datanode_incrBytesRead = Tracepoints.method( "org.apache.hadoop.hdfs.server.datanode.metrics.DataNodeMetrics", "incrBytesRead", "int" );

This is shorthand for the following:

MethodTracepoint hdfs_datanode_incrBytesRead = new MethodTracepoint(
    "DataNodeMetrics.incrBytesRead",                                  // name for the tracepoint
    Where.ENTRY,                                                      // where in the method
    "org.apache.hadoop.hdfs.server.datanode.metrics.DataNodeMetrics", // class name
    "incrBytesRead",                                                  // method name
    "int"                                                             // method parameter types

Exporting variables

Suppose we want to write a query that refers to the delta parameter of incrBytesRead. When defining a tracepoint, we must explicitly export any variables that we want to use in a query like this. To do this, we call the addExport method:

hdfs_datanode_incrBytesRead.addExport("delta", "delta");

This defines a query variable called delta, whose value is derived from the Java literal delta.

Default exports

Tracepoints export some variables by default, such as hostname, timestamp, etc. They are equivalent to the following:

hdfs_datanode_incrBytesRead.addExport( "host",       "edu.brown.cs.systems.tracing.Utils.getHost()"        );
hdfs_datanode_incrBytesRead.addExport( "timestamp",  "System.currentTimeMillis()"                          );
hdfs_datanode_incrBytesRead.addExport( "cpu",        "edu.brown.cs.systems.clockcycles.CPUCycles.get()"    );
hdfs_datanode_incrBytesRead.addExport( "threadId",   "Thread.currentThread().getId()"                      );
hdfs_datanode_incrBytesRead.addExport( "procId",     "edu.brown.cs.systems.tracing.Utils.getProcessID()"   );
hdfs_datanode_incrBytesRead.addExport( "procName",   "edu.brown.cs.systems.tracing.Utils.getProcessName()" );

(Be aware that this is research code, and we don't sanitize these Java literals, so as-is this is a serious security vulnerability)

Special Variables

In addition the following Java literals can be used when adding a tracepoint export

  • $0 takes the value of this
  • $1, $2, $3, ... take the values of the corresponding method arguments (and of course, they can also be referenced by name)
  • $_ takes the method return value if the tracepoint uses Where.RETURN.

See this Javassist tutorial for more information on available variables.

Arrays and Collections

Pivot Tracing also provides handling for array and Collection variables. For example, suppose we have the following class:

class Users {
    Collection<String> activeUsers = Lists.newArrayList("Jon", "Jeff", "George");
    public void ping() {

Suppose ping() is called at a regular interval, and activeUsers is changing, and we want a query that keeps track of how often each user is in active users. Consider the following query:

FROM ping in Example.Ping
GROUPBY ping.activeUser
SELECT ping.activeUser, COUNT

Conceptually, each time ping() is invoked, we want to treat the invocation as multiple tuples, one tuple for each activeUser in the activeUsers collection. Pivot Tracing tracepoints provice multi-exports to support collections and arrays:

MethodTracepoint example_ping = Tracepoints.method("Users", "ping");
example_ping.addMultiExport("activeUser", "activeUsers", "String");

Pivot Tracing will interpret the activeUsers variable as a collection or array, and pass each element to the configured query individually.

Hardcoded Tracepoints

Some systems can hard-code tracepoints, rather than relying on dynamic instrumentation. A hardcoded tracepoint has a unique ID, and exports zero or more variables. The following call will get a hardcoded tracepoint called "myMethod_entry".

Tracepoint t = HardcodedTracepoint.get("myMethod_entry", "a", "b");

See Pivot Tracing Agent for more details on hardcoded tracepoints.