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Documentation / lockup-watchdogs.txt




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Based on kernel version 3.15.4. Page generated on 2014-07-07 09:03 EST.

1	===============================================================
2	Softlockup detector and hardlockup detector (aka nmi_watchdog)
3	===============================================================
4	
5	The Linux kernel can act as a watchdog to detect both soft and hard
6	lockups.
7	
8	A 'softlockup' is defined as a bug that causes the kernel to loop in
9	kernel mode for more than 20 seconds (see "Implementation" below for
10	details), without giving other tasks a chance to run. The current
11	stack trace is displayed upon detection and, by default, the system
12	will stay locked up. Alternatively, the kernel can be configured to
13	panic; a sysctl, "kernel.softlockup_panic", a kernel parameter,
14	"softlockup_panic" (see "Documentation/kernel-parameters.txt" for
15	details), and a compile option, "BOOTPARAM_HARDLOCKUP_PANIC", are
16	provided for this.
17	
18	A 'hardlockup' is defined as a bug that causes the CPU to loop in
19	kernel mode for more than 10 seconds (see "Implementation" below for
20	details), without letting other interrupts have a chance to run.
21	Similarly to the softlockup case, the current stack trace is displayed
22	upon detection and the system will stay locked up unless the default
23	behavior is changed, which can be done through a compile time knob,
24	"BOOTPARAM_HARDLOCKUP_PANIC", and a kernel parameter, "nmi_watchdog"
25	(see "Documentation/kernel-parameters.txt" for details).
26	
27	The panic option can be used in combination with panic_timeout (this
28	timeout is set through the confusingly named "kernel.panic" sysctl),
29	to cause the system to reboot automatically after a specified amount
30	of time.
31	
32	=== Implementation ===
33	
34	The soft and hard lockup detectors are built on top of the hrtimer and
35	perf subsystems, respectively. A direct consequence of this is that,
36	in principle, they should work in any architecture where these
37	subsystems are present.
38	
39	A periodic hrtimer runs to generate interrupts and kick the watchdog
40	task. An NMI perf event is generated every "watchdog_thresh"
41	(compile-time initialized to 10 and configurable through sysctl of the
42	same name) seconds to check for hardlockups. If any CPU in the system
43	does not receive any hrtimer interrupt during that time the
44	'hardlockup detector' (the handler for the NMI perf event) will
45	generate a kernel warning or call panic, depending on the
46	configuration.
47	
48	The watchdog task is a high priority kernel thread that updates a
49	timestamp every time it is scheduled. If that timestamp is not updated
50	for 2*watchdog_thresh seconds (the softlockup threshold) the
51	'softlockup detector' (coded inside the hrtimer callback function)
52	will dump useful debug information to the system log, after which it
53	will call panic if it was instructed to do so or resume execution of
54	other kernel code.
55	
56	The period of the hrtimer is 2*watchdog_thresh/5, which means it has
57	two or three chances to generate an interrupt before the hardlockup
58	detector kicks in.
59	
60	As explained above, a kernel knob is provided that allows
61	administrators to configure the period of the hrtimer and the perf
62	event. The right value for a particular environment is a trade-off
63	between fast response to lockups and detection overhead.
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