Monday Nov 19, 2007

Corestat for UltraSPARC T2/T2+

Corestat for UltraSPARC T2/T2+ :

With the launch of UltraSPARC T2+ processor based servers, corestat needs an upgradation. Updated version of corestat is now available off the link from this blog. Also note that the same version (V1.2.3) should work on T5220, T5240 and T5240 servers.

Understanding processor utilization is important for performance analysis and capacity planning. With the launch of UltraSPARC T2 based servers I would like to revisit the topic of core utilization.

As we have seen earlier, for a Chip Multi Threaded (CMT) processor, like UltraSPARC T1, CPU utilization reported by conventional tools like mpstat/vmstat and core utilization reported using hardware performance counters in the processor are different metrics and both are equally important in performance analysis and tuning.

Before discussing the details about core utilization of UltraSPARC T2 and the details about corestat let us take a quick look at what does a core on UltraSPARC T2 look like. UltraSPARC T2 extends the CMT architecture of T1. It consists of eight cores where each core has eight hardware threads. Hardware threads within a core are grouped into two sets of four threads each. There are two integer pipelines within a core and each set of four threads share one integer pipeline. In this sense, the resources available for computation within a core are doubled from that in UltraSPARC T1. It is worth understanding that threads within a core do not switch pipelines and the assignment of threads to a pipeline is fixed and hardwired.

One more important addition to the compute resources within a core is a Floating Point Unit (FPU). Each core of T2, includes a FPU shared by all eight threads from that core. Other shared resources within a core include Level-1 Instruction (I) and Data (D) cache and Translation Look aside Buffers (TLBs) like I-TLB and D-TLB. All cores share a 4 MB Level-2 (L2) cache. Including these there are key features why both single thread and multi thread performance of UltraSPARC T2 is better than T1.

A quick look at the UltraSPARC T2 architecture features shows following enhancements which benefit single thread performance :
  • Increased frequency - 1400 MHz
  • Lower instruction latencies
  • Better Floating Point performance
  • Hardware TLB miss handling for I-TLB and D-TLB
  • Larger D-TLB size (128 entries v/s 64 entries)
  • Larger L2 cache (4 MB v/s 3 MB)
  • Full support of VIS 2.0 instruction set. No kernel emulation
Similarly following are some of the features of UltraSPARC T2 that benefit multi thread performance :
  • Two integer pipelines per core
  • Twice the number of hardware threads (64 v/s 32)
  • Higher L2 cache set associativity. 16 way compared to 12 way
  • Instruction cache being 8 way associative compared to 4 way
  • Dedicated Floating point unit per core shared by all 8 strands, improved FP throughput
  • Memory interface supports FBDIMMs for higher capacity and bandwidth
  • Support for shared context feature where multiple contexts share the same entry in the TLB for mappings to the same address segment
  • Streaming Processing Unit (SPU) per core for on chip encryption/decryption support
Now, let us look at the topic of core utilization. All the important concepts like thread scheduling, idle hardware thread, stalled thread etc. have been introduced in my earlier blog on T1. All those concepts generally hold good for T2 however there are subtle differences such as on T2 an integer pipeline remaining idle doesn't mean a full core remains idle. Both the pipelines within a core can concurrently execute one instruction per cycle hence at 1417 MHz frequency, a core can execute maximum of 2x1417x1000x1000 instructions/second.

Considering these differences, corestat for UltraSPARC T2/T2+ has been enhanced and can be downloaded from here . The main enhancements are :
  1. It now reports the utilization of each pipeline separately. By default only the integer pipe utilization is reported.
  2. There is a new command line option "-g" added to report the FPU utilization along with integer utilization.
  3. Corestat detects frequency of the target system at run time.

While the usage remains same, corestat for UltraSPARC T2 can be used in two modes :
  1. For online monitoring purpose, it requires root privileges. This is the default mode of operation. Default reporting interval is 10 sec and it assumes the frequency of 1417 MHz.
  2. It can be used to report core utilization by post processing already sampled cpustat data using following command line :
cpustat -n -c pic0=Instr_cnt,pic1=Instr_FGU_arithmetic
                   -c pic0=Instr_cnt,pic1=Instr_FGU_arithmetic,
                                 nouser,sys 1

$ corestat
   Frequency = 1050 MHz
             corestat : Permission denied. Needs root privilege...

Usage : corestat [-g] [-v] [[-f <infile>] [-i <interval>] [-r <freq>]]

                  Default mode : Report Integer Pipeline Utilization
                  -g                     : Report FPU usage
                  -v                     : Report version number
                  -f infile            : Filename containing sampled cpustat data
                  -i interval       : Reporting interval in sec (default = 10 sec)
                  -r freq             : Processor frequency in MHz (default = 1417 MHz)

        # corestat -g

           Core Utilization for Integer pipeline
     Core,Int-pipe     %Usr     %Sys     %Usr+Sys
     -------------             -----         -----        --------
         0,0                   0.00          0.19      0.20
         0,1                   0.00          0.01      0.01
         1,0                   0.00          0.03      0.03
         1,1                   0.00          0.01      0.01
         2,0                   1.15          0.02      1.16
         2,1                   0.00          0.01      0.01
         3,0                   0.02          0.02      0.04
         3,1                   0.00          0.01      0.01
         4,0                   0.00          0.02      0.03
         4,1                   0.00          0.01      0.01
         5,0                   0.02          0.01      0.03
         5,1                   0.00          0.01      0.01
         6,0                   0.05          0.03      0.08
         6,1                   0.00          0.01      0.01
         7,0                   0.00          0.03      0.03
         7,1                   0.00          0.01      0.01
     -------------             -----         -----    ------
         Avg                   0.08          0.03      0.10

                      FPU Utilization
              Core         %Usr     %Sys     %Usr+Sys
         -------------         -----         -----     --------
              0                0.02          0.01      0.03
              1                0.02          0.01      0.03
              2                0.01          0.01      0.03
              3                0.01          0.01      0.03
              4                0.02         0.01      0.04
              5                0.02          0.02      0.04
              6                0.02          0.02      0.04
              7                0.02          0.02      0.04
         -------------         -----         -----    ------
             Avg           0.02          0.02      0.04

As far as interpretation of corestat data is concerned, all the points mentioned in an earlier blog with respect to T1, hold good. Since core saturation (measured using corestat) and virtual CPU saturation (measured using vmstat/mpstat) are two different aspects, we need to monitor both simultaneously in order to determine whether an application is likely to saturate the core by using fewer application threads. In such cases, increasing workload (e.g. by increasing the number of threads) may not yield any more performance. On the other hand, most often we will see applications having high Cycles Per Instructions (CPI) and thereby not being able to saturate the cores fully before achieving 100% CPU utilization.

While I make this new version of corestat available here.. we are already looking at a number of RFEs received as comments on my earlier blog and via e-mails to me. Some of the points being considered. Stay tuned !!


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