Research by Daniel Bristot de Oliveira leads to a real-time analysis toolset for Linux 5.17

May 16, 2022 | News

Over the last decade, Red Hat Research’s Dr. Daniel Bristot de Oliveira has been exploring methods to improve the analysis of the real-time properties of Linux. His research explores the tracing features of Linux to derive fine-grained properties of the kernel, overcoming a known limitation of the usage of black-box testing by developers while increasing confidence in Linux usage on safety-critical real-time systems. Daniel’s research was featured in RHRQ in October 2020, February 2021, and May 2021.

This research line resulted in one of the most significant changes to the newly released Linux 5.17: the addition of the Real-Time Linux Analysis toolset (RTLA).

The RTLA is a user-space tool that is part of the Linux kernel toolset. It provides a benchmark-like interface for in-kernel tracers that, by simulating typical real-time workloads, extract meaningful information about the timing capabilities of the system. RTLA also facilitates root-cause analysis of timing failures via tracing, automating the most common setup while enabling advanced tracing features in a single tool.

Such analysis tools are becoming essential to the development of Linux as a whole as PREEMPT_RT becomes an integral part of the operating system, meaning that more new users—or busy developers—will have to dedicate time to the analysis of Linux as a real-time operating system (RTOS).

The initial implementation was substantial enough to place Daniel among the top 20 contributors of the 5.17 kernel release, and further developments are expected. RTLA was designed with extensibility in mind. It is expected to be extended with other theoretical analysis tools, serving as the starting point for researchers and practitioners to develop tracing-based analysis tools. Red Hat Research’s Dr. Daniel is the maintainer of RTLA in the Linux kernel and actively participates in the real-time academic community, helping to fill the gap between theory and practice with collaboration from both communities.

Daniel will also be a keynote speaker at the 17th Workshop on Virtualization in High-Performance Cloud Computing, held in Hamburg, Germany on May 29-June 2, 2022.

Watch the Red Hat Research website for more theoretical and practical developments on real-time related topics.

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