cputrack(1) User Commands cputrack(1)
cputrack - monitor process and LWP behavior using CPU performance counters
cputrack -c eventspec [-c eventspec]... [-efntvD] [-N count] [-o pathname] [-T interval] command [args]
cputrack -c eventspec [-c eventspec]... -p pid [-efntvD] [-N count] [-o pathname] [-T interval]
The cputrack utility allows CPU performance counters to be used to monitor the behavior of a process or family of processes running on the
system. If interval is specified with the -T option, cputrack samples activity every interval seconds, repeating forever. If a count is
specified with the -N option, the statistics are repeated count times for each process tracked. If neither are specified, an interval of
one second is used. If command and optional args are specified, cputrack runs the command with the arguments given while monitoring the
specified CPU performance events. Alternatively, the process ID of an existing process can be specified using the -p option.
Because cputrack is an unprivileged program, it is subject to the same restrictions that apply to truss(1). For example, setuid(2) executa-
bles cannot be tracked.
The following options are supported:
-c eventspec Specifies a set of events for the CPU performance counters to monitor. The syntax of these event specifications is:
You can use the -h option to obtain a list of available events and attributes. This causes generation of the usage message.
You can omit an explicit counter assignment, in which case cpustat attempts to choose a capable counter automatically.
Attribute values can be expressed in hexadecimal, octal, or decimal notation, in a format suitable for strtoll(3C). An
attribute present in the event specification without an explicit value receives a default value of 1. An attribute without
a corresponding counter number is applied to all counters in the specification.
The semantics of these event specifications can be determined by reading the CPU manufacturer's documentation for the
Multiple -c options can be specified, in which case cputrack cycles between the different event settings on each sample.
-D Enables debug mode.
-e Follows all exec(2), or execve(2) system calls.
-f Follows all children created by fork(2), fork1(2), or vfork(2) system calls.
-h Prints an extended help message on how to use the utility, how to program the processor-dependent counters, and where to
look for more detailed information.
-n Omits all header output (useful if cputrack is the beginning of a pipeline).
-N count Specifies the maximum number of CPU performance counter samples to take before exiting.
-o outfile Specifies file to be used for the cputrack output.
-p pid Interprets the argument as the process ID of an existing process to which process counter context should be attached and
-t Prints an additional column of processor cycle counts, if available on the current architecture.
-T interval Specifies the interval between CPU performance counter samples in seconds. Very small intervals may cause some samples to
be skipped. See WARNINGS.
-v Enables more verbose output.
The operating system enforces certain restrictions on the tracing of processes. In particular, a command whose object file cannot be read
by a user cannot be tracked by that user; set-uid and set-gid commands can only be tracked by a privileged user. Unless it is run by a
privileged user, cputrack loses control of any process that performs an exec() of a set-id or unreadable object file. Such processes con-
tinue normally, though independently of cputrack, from the point of the exec().
The system may run out of per-user process slots when the -f option is used, since cputrack runs one controlling process for each process
The times printed by cputrack correspond to the wallclock time when the hardware counters were actually sample. The time is derived from
the same timebase as gethrtime(3C).
The cputrack utility attaches performance counter context to each process that it examines. The presence of this context allows the perfor-
mance counters to be multiplexed between different processes on the system, but it cannot be used at the same time as the cpustat(1M) util-
Once an instance of the cpustat utility is running, further attempts to run cputrack will fail until all instances of cpustat terminate.
Sometimes cputrack provides sufficient flexibility and prints sufficient statistics to make adding the observation code to an application
unnecessary. However, more control is occasionally desired. Because the same performance counter context is used by both the application
itself and by the agent LWP injected into the application by cputrack, it is possible for an application to interact with the counter con-
text to achieve some interesting capabilities. See cpc_enable(3CPC).
The processor cycle counts enabled by the -t option always apply to both user and system modes, regardless of the settings applied to the
performance counter registers.
The output of cputrack is designed to be readily parseable by nawk(1) and perl(1), thereby allowing performance tools to be composed by
embedding cputrack in scripts. Alternatively, tools may be constructed directly using the same APIs that cputrack is built upon, using the
facilities of libcpc(3LIB) and libpctx(3LIB). See cpc(3CPC).
Although cputrack uses performance counter context to maintain separate performance counter values for each LWP, some of the events that
can be counted will inevitably be impacted by other activities occurring on the system, particularly for limited resources that are shared
between processes (for example, cache miss rates). For such events, it may also be interesting to observe overall system behavior with cpu-
For the -T interval option, if interval is specified as zero, no periodic sampling is performed. The performance counters are only sampled
when the process creates or destroys an LWP, or it invokes fork(2), exec(2), or exit(2).
Example 1: Using Performance Counters to Count Clock Cycles
In this example, the utility is being used on a machine containing an UltraSPARC-III+ processor. The counters are set to count processor
clock cycles and instructions dispatched in user mode while running the sleep(1) command.
example% cputrack -c pic0=Cycle_cnt,pic1=Instr_cnt sleep 10
time lwp event pic0 pic1
1.007 1 tick 765308 219233
2.007 1 tick 0 0
4.017 1 tick 0 0
6.007 1 tick 0 0
8.007 1 tick 0 0
10.007 1 tick 0 0
10.017 1 exit 844703 228058
Example 2: Counting External Cache References and Misses
This example shows more verbose output while following the fork() and exec() of a simple shell script on an UltraSPARC machine. The coun-
ters are measuring the number of external cache references and external cache misses. Notice that the explicit pic0 and pic1 names can be
omitted where there are no ambiguities.
example% cputrack -fev -c EC_ref,EC_hit /bin/ulimit -c
time pid lwp event pic0 pic1
0.007 101142 1 init_lwp 805286 20023
0.023 101142 1 fork # 101143
0.026 101143 1 init_lwp 1015382 24461
0.029 101143 1 fini_lwp 1025546 25074
0.029 101143 1 exec 1025546 25074
0.000 101143 1 exec
# '/usr/bin/sh /usr/bin/basename
0.039 101143 1 init_lwp 1025546 25074
0.050 101143 1 fini_lwp 1140482 27806
0.050 101143 1 exec 1140482 27806
0.000 101143 1 exec # '/usr/bin/expr
//bin/ulimit : .*[^/]/*$ : .*/..* : .*$ | //bin/ulimi'
0.059 101143 1 init_lwp 1140482 27806
0.075 101143 1 fini_lwp 1237647 30207
0.075 101143 1 exit 1237647 30207
0.081 101142 1 fini_lwp 953383 23814
0.081 101142 1 exit 953383 23814
Example 3: Counting Instructions
This example shows how many instructions were executed in the application and in the kernel to print the date on a Pentium III machine:
example% cputrack -c inst_retired,inst_retired,nouser1,sys1 date
time lwp event pic0 pic1
Fri Aug 20 20:03:08 PDT 1999
0.072 1 exit 246725 339666
Example 4: Counting TLB Hits
This example shows how to use processor-specific attributes to count TLB hits on a Pentium 4 machine:
example% cputrack -c ITLB_reference,emask=1 date
time lwp event pic0
Fri Aug 20 20:03:08 PDT 1999
0.072 1 exit 246725
By running any instance of the cpustat(1M) utility, all existing performance counter context is forcibly invalidated across the machine.
This may in turn cause all invocations of the cputrack command to exit prematurely with unspecified errors.
If cpustat is invoked on a system that has CPU performance counters which are not supported by Solaris, the following message appears:
cputrack: cannot access performance counters - Operation not applicable
This error message implies that cpc_open() has failed and is documented in cpc_open(3CPC). Review this documentation for more information
about the problem and possible solutions.
If a short interval is requested, cputrack may not be able to keep up with the desired sample rate. In this case, some samples may be
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:
| ATTRIBUTE TYPE | ATTRIBUTE VALUE |
|Availability |SUNWcpcu |
|Interface Stability |Evolving |
nawk(1), perl(1), proc(1), truss(1), prstat(1M), cpustat(1M), exec(2), exit(2), fork(2), setuid(2), vfork(2), gethrtime(3C), strtoll(3C),
cpc(3CPC), cpc_bind_pctx(3CPC), cpc_enable(3CPC), cpc_open(3CPC), libcpc(3LIB), libpctx(3LIB), proc(4), attributes(5)
SunOS 5.10 19 Apr 2004 cputrack(1)