Table of Contents
Advances in Computer Engineering
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 261094, 8 pages
Research Article

Linux Low-Latency Tracing for Multicore Hard Real-Time Systems

Computer and Software Engineering Department, Polytechnique Montreal, C.P. 6079, Station Downtown, Montréal, QC, Canada H3C 3A7

Received 29 March 2015; Revised 21 July 2015; Accepted 29 July 2015

Academic Editor: Ying-Tung Hsiao

Copyright © 2015 Raphaël Beamonte and Michel R. Dagenais. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Real-time systems have always been difficult to monitor and debug because of the timing constraints which rule out any tool significantly impacting the system latency and performance. Tracing is often the most reliable tool available for studying real-time systems. The real-time behavior of Linux systems has improved recently and it is possible to have latencies in the low microsecond range. Therefore, tracers must ensure that their overhead is within that range and predictable and scales well to multiple cores. The LTTng 2.0 tools have been optimized for multicore performance, scalability, and flexibility. We used and extended the real-time verification tool rteval to study the impact of LTTng on the maximum latency on hard real-time applications. We introduced a new real-time analysis tool to establish the baseline of real-time system performance and then to measure the impact added by tracing the kernel and userspace (UST) with LTTng. We then identified latency problems and accordingly modified LTTng-UST and the procedure to isolate the shielded real-time cores from the RCU interprocess synchronization routines. This work resulted in extended tools to measure the real-time properties of multicore Linux systems, a characterization of the impact of LTTng kernel and UST tracing tools, and improvements to LTTng.