How to Make an Application Easy to Diagnose

Cary Millsap (cary.millsap@hotsos.com) Hotsos Enterprises, Ltd.
Hotsos Symposium 2005 3:00pm–4:00pm Wednesday 9 March 2005

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Slide 1

Agenda

• Motives • Instrumenting your Oracle db calls • Instrumenting everything else

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Slide 2

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” —Peter Drucker
• Software performance is measured by its speed • Speed = Result ÷ Time

• If you canÊt measure the time it takes for an application to produce a result, then you canÊt manage its performance.

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Slide 3

Software developers use profilers and tracers to determine how long their code runs. And why.
• Example: GNU gprof
% cumulative time seconds 60.37 0.49 39.63 0.82 self seconds calls 0.49 62135400 0.33 499999 self us/call 0.01 0.65 total us/call 0.01 1.64 name step nseq

• Example: GNU strace
times(NULL) = 53821310 gettimeofday({1105483456, 234638}, NULL) = 0 _llseek(11, 6971392, [6971392], SEEK_SET) = 0 readv(11, [{"\6\242\0\0S\3@\0\247\274\0\0\0"..., 8192}], 6) = 49152 gettimeofday({1105483456, 253209}, NULL) = 0 times(NULL) = 53821312 write(5, "WAIT #5: nam=\'db file scattered read\' ela="..., 65) = 65 write(5, "\n", 1) = 1

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Slide 4

But you can do much more if you instrument your application
• There are things a developer knows that an OS tool cannot – Aggregate by unit of business work – Reveal context-specific application information • With instrumentation inside your application – Better, faster code – Easier to diagnose and repair

The result: happier customers, lower support costs.

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Slide 5

Instrumenting your Oracle db calls

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Slide 6

Oracle has provided profiler-ready timing instrumentation for the database kernel since version 6.
• Oracle kernel instrumentation – Version 6: database call timings – Version 7: non-dbcall timed events – Versions 8–10: enhanced code path coverage

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Slide 7

The design of your application largely determines how easy or difficult it is to collect Oracle trace files.
• Conceptually, data collection is simple – DBMS_SUPPORT (v7,8,9) – DBMS_MONITOR (v10) • Practically, data collection can be quite difficult – Business task to Oracle trace file is not 1-to-1

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Slide 8

Instrumenting your Oracle application is pretty easy.

• Instrumentation is minimal extra work
➊exec dbms_monitor.session_trace_enable(null,null,true,true); ➋exec dbms_application_info.set_module('demo','greeting'); select 'hello world' from dual; ➌exec dbms_application_info.set_module('demo','real business'); select count(*) from dba_objects where owner='SYSTEM'; disconnect;

• Difficulty comes when it’s not your application – How do you instrument someone else’s compiled code?

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Slide 9

This kind of instrumentation gives you what you need to profile the response time of a business task.
• DBMS_MONITOR call enables the trace • DBMS_APPLICATION_INFO calls identify business tasks
… BEGIN dbms_application_info.set_module('demo','greeting'); END; … *** ACTION NAME:(greeting) 2005-02-03 15:23:47.189 *** MODULE NAME:(demo) 2005-02-03 15:23:47.189 … select 'hello world' from dual … *** ACTION NAME:(real business) 2005-02-03 15:23:47.193 *** MODULE NAME:(demo) 2005-02-03 15:23:47.193 … select count(*) from dba_objects where owner='SYSTEM' …

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Slide 10

Instrumenting everything else

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Slide 11

So, what if most of your user’s response time is spent outside the Oracle tier?
• It happens a lot more these days – Fancier user interfaces – Fancier post-retrieval processing – More tiers

Your custom application probably has a lot more bad code in it than your Oracle kernel does.

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Slide 12

My ideas about how to design trace data are influenced by having studied Oracle trace files for so many years.
• Oracle’s trace diagnostics are tremendous! • But… – Difficult to understand – Very difficult to profile • You can do it better – Some proposed requirements…

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Slide 13

Requirement: files and file identification…

• Trace data must be written to a file. • The application user gets to decide where this file should be written and what its name shall be. • The application user gets to decide whether to run a program with tracing turned on, or with tracing turned off. • The file has a version number in it and whatever additional information is required (such as a field key) so the application user (and his profiler software) can understand how to interpret the particular version of the data he’s looking at. This allows the format of trace to improve over time without breaking older profilers.

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Slide 14

An example trace file…
version=1.1 key=time ela usr sys dep caller callee p1 p2 1107275831.899634=2005/02/01/10:37:11.899634 1107275831.899634 0.000472 0.000000 0.000000 1107275833.456488 1.556308 1.520000 0.000000 1107275833.456690 1.556574 1.520000 0.000000 1107275833.673210 0.216378 0.000000 0.000000 1107275835.307857 1.634442 1.500000 0.000000 1107275836.901840 1.593879 1.510000 0.000000 1107275836.902033 3.228636 3.010000 0.000000

p3 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 <> open-trace STDOUT dad randomer TX 4 <> dad 1 <> sleeper 0.202584 dad randomer TX 4 dad randomer TX 4 <> dad 2

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Slide 15

Requirement: vendor support…

• The application vendor must fully support the application’s trace data. The vendor must fully document the format of the trace file and the meaning of its content.

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Slide 16

Requirement: business task orientation…

A trace file “event” line maps to a logical unit of work—usually a subroutine. The unit of work must be small enough that the reader of the trace data doesn’t require more detail about the unit of work than is rendered in the trace file. The unit of work must be large enough to minimize the measurement intrusion effect of the instrumentation. Every time a business-level task begins or ends, the application must emit information to the trace file to signify the business task boundary.

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Slide 17

An example trace file…
version=1.1 key=time ela usr sys dep caller callee p1 p2 1107275831.899634=2005/02/01/10:37:11.899634 1107275831.899634 0.000472 0.000000 0.000000 1107275833.456488 1.556308 1.520000 0.000000 1107275833.456690 1.556574 1.520000 0.000000 1107275833.673210 0.216378 0.000000 0.000000 1107275835.307857 1.634442 1.500000 0.000000 1107275836.901840 1.593879 1.510000 0.000000 1107275836.902033 3.228636 3.010000 0.000000

p3 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 <> open-trace STDOUT dad randomer TX 4 <> dad 1 <> sleeper 0.202584 dad randomer TX 4 dad randomer TX 4 <> dad 2

Note that my example doesnÊt yet demonstrate the second point (task begin/end markers).

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Slide 18

Requirement: coverage…

• The collection of “event” lines in the trace file must provide complete coverage of the application’s code path. • If a business task is permitted to execute piecewise across two or more OS processes, then the trace data must contain markers sufficient to assemble the relevant fragments of trace data into one contiguous time-sequential description of the task’s response time. • Each tier must be instrumented so that a user can compute endto-end response time for the measured task.

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Slide 19

Requirement: timestamps...

• Each “event” line must have a timestamp. The trace documentation must explain to what event that timestamp refers. (Typically, it’s the time of the event’s conclusion.) • If the trace file’s timestamp values aren’t human-readable, then the trace file must provide information that allows for easy conversion of timestamps into human-readable wall-clock values.

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Slide 20

An example trace file…
version=1.1 key=time ela usr sys dep caller callee p1 p2 1107275831.899634=2005/02/01/10:37:11.899634 1107275831.899634 0.000472 0.000000 0.000000 1107275833.456488 1.556308 1.520000 0.000000 1107275833.456690 1.556574 1.520000 0.000000 1107275833.673210 0.216378 0.000000 0.000000 1107275835.307857 1.634442 1.500000 0.000000 1107275836.901840 1.593879 1.510000 0.000000 1107275836.902033 3.228636 3.010000 0.000000

p3 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 <> open-trace STDOUT dad randomer TX 4 <> dad 1 <> sleeper 0.202584 dad randomer TX 4 dad randomer TX 4 <> dad 2

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Slide 21

Requirement: event attributes…

• Each “event” line must show an elapsed time consumption. • Each “event” line must show resource consumption for both kernel mode and user mode CPU usage. • Each “event” line must show the name of the “event,” its call stack depth, and the name of its caller. • Each “event” line must have the provision for displaying contextsensitive values about the instrumented event.

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Slide 22

An example trace file…
version=1.1 key=time ela usr sys dep caller callee p1 p2 1107275831.899634=2005/02/01/10:37:11.899634 1107275831.899634 0.000472 0.000000 0.000000 1107275833.456488 1.556308 1.520000 0.000000 1107275833.456690 1.556574 1.520000 0.000000 1107275833.673210 0.216378 0.000000 0.000000 1107275835.307857 1.634442 1.500000 0.000000 1107275836.901840 1.593879 1.510000 0.000000 1107275836.902033 3.228636 3.010000 0.000000

p3 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 <> open-trace STDOUT dad randomer TX 4 <> dad 1 <> sleeper 0.202584 dad randomer TX 4 dad randomer TX 4 <> dad 2

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Slide 23

Requirement: un-buffered output...

• The application must flush trace lines to the trace file as events complete. If the application can buffer its trace emissions, then there must exist a user-selectable option to produce un-buffered output.

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Slide 24

Requirement: conservation of storage...

• Trace data should be reasonably conservative about space consumption (and the time it takes to write the trace data). For example, a single key defining the meaning of delimiterseparated fields is more efficient than using a name=value style syntax for every field throughout the trace file.

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Slide 25

Requirement: minimized invasiveness…

• The application instrumentation must be minimally invasive upon the response time of the application. • The application instrumentation must be minimally invasive upon the author of the application code.

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Slide 26

Wrap-up
• You can’t manage what you can’t measure • Instrumented code is faster, better code that’s easier and cheaper to support • You can learn a lot about instrumentation by watching how Oracle does it • The “requirements” proposed in my paper will help you create trace files that are easier to use than Oracle’s

If you will ever be responsible for the performance of your application, then youÊll thank yourself later if you instrument it today. So will your support staff.
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Slide 27

Hotsos: Come see us…
• Thought leadership – Optimizing Oracle Performance – Oracle Insights – Method R • Products – Hotsos Profiler – Laredo – Interceptor technologies

• Services – 1-week performance assessment – On-site consulting and education – Remote consulting

• Education – Oracle performance curriculum – Hotsos Symposium

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Slide 28

References
Finnigan, P. 2004. “How to set trace for others’ sessions, for your own session, and at instance level.” www.petefinnigan.com Millsap, C. 2005. “Profiling Oracle: how it works.” Hotsos Symposium 2005 Millsap, C. 2004. “How to activate extended SQL trace.” www.hotsos.com Millsap, C.; Holt, J. 2003. Optimizing Oracle Performance. Sebastopol CA: O’Reilly & Associates Norgaard, M.; et al. 2004. Oracle Insights: Tales of the Oak Table. Berkeley CA: Apress A collection of stories about experiences with Oracle performance, including a history of Oracle’s extended SQL trace mechanism. The Open Group 1988. ARM 2.0 Technical Standard. www.opengroup.org/tech/management/arm/ A description of the “Application Response Measurement (ARM) API,” an application measurement system implemented in C and Java.

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Slide 29

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