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A Python DTrace consumer using libdtrace - Now Python can be used as DTrace Provider and Consumer...

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README.md

Python as a DTrace consumer

This is a first shot into looking at getting something up and running like https://github.com/bcantrill/node-libdtrace for Python.

Note: This is far from ready - documentation on writing own DTrace consumers is very rare :-

The codes in the examples folder should give an overview of how to use Python as a DTrace consumer.

Currently this package provides two modules: one wraps libdtrace using ctypes. The other one uses cython. Should you not have cython installed the ctypes wrapper can still be used.

The Python DTrace consumer can be installed via source here on GitHub, or using pypi.

Cython based wrapper

The Cython wrapper is more sophisticated and generally easier to use. Initializing the Python based DTrace consumer is as simple as:

from dtrace import DTraceConsumer
consumer = DTraceConsumer(walk_func=my_walk [...])
consumer.run_script(SCRIPT, runtime=3)

The simple DTraceConsumer can be initialized with self written callbacks which will allow you to get the output from DTrace, the chewing of the probes as well as walking the aggregate at the end of the DTrace run. The signatures looks like this:

def simple_chew(cpu):
    pass

def simple_chewrec(action):
    pass

def simple_out(value):
    pass

def simple_walk(action, identifier, keys, value):
    pass

Those functions can also be part of a class. Simply add the self parameter as the first one:

def simple_chew(self, cpu):
    pass

The DTraceConsumer has a run_script function which will run a provided DTrace script for some time or till it is finished. The time on how long it is run can be provided as parameter just like the script. During the DTrace chew, chewrec and the out callbacks are called. When the run is finished the aggregation will be walked - Thus you can aggregate for 3 seconds and than see the results.

There also exists and DTraceConsumerThread which can be used to continuously run DTrace in the background. This might come in handy when you want to continuously aggregate data for e.g. an GUI. The chew, chewrec, out and walk callbacks are now called as the snapshot function of DTrace is called.

The DTraceConsumerThread has an parameter sleep which defaults to 0. This means that the Thread will wait for DTrace for new aggregation data to arrive. This has a major drawback since during the wait the wait the Python GIL is acquired and your program will stop if it needs to wait for DTrace to get new data. Setting the parameter to 1 (or higher) will let the Thread snapshot the DTrace aggregate every second instead of waiting for new data. Both usages might make sense - Set the sleep parameter if you know data will arrive sporadically or simple let it default to 0 if you know data comes in all the time - so nothing will be blocked.

thr = DTraceConsumerThread(SCRIPT)
thr.start()

# we will stop the thread after 5 sec...
time.sleep(5)

# stop and wait for join...
thr.stop()
thr.join()

Examples for both ways of handling the Python DTrace consumer can be found in the examples folder.

Ctypes based wrapper

Both the DTraceConsumer and the DTraceConsumerThread can be initialized with self written chew, chewrec, buffered out and walk functions just like in the cython approach. See the examples on how to do this. Also note that the out, walk, chew and chewrec are currently limited in their functionality and require you to understand how ctypes work. For examples on how to implement those functions please review the consumer module in the dtrace_ctypes package. The functions are named: simple_chew, simple_chewrec, simple_walk and simple_buffered_out_writer function.

The examples for using this libdtrace wrapper can be found in the examples/ctypes folder.

(c) 2011-2012 Thijs Metsch (c) 2013 engjoy UG (haftungsbeschraenkt)

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