EZIOTracer: Unifying Kernel and User Space I/O Tracing for Data-Intensive Applications

Mohammed Islam Naas, François Trahay, Alexis Colin, Pierre Olivier, Stéphane Rubini, Frank Singhoff, Jalil Boukhobza

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Tracing is a popular method for evaluating, investigating, and modeling the performance of today’s storage systems. Tracing has become crucial with the increase in complexity of modern storage applications/systems, that are manipulating an ever-increasing amount of data and are subject to extreme performance requirements. There exists many tracing tools focusing either on the user-level or the kernel-level, however we observe the lack of a unified tracer targeting both levels: this prevents a comprehensive understanding of modern applications’ storage performance profiles. In this paper, we present EZIOTracer, a unified I/O tracer for both (Linux) kernel and user spaces, targeting data intensive applications.
EZIOTracer is composed of a userland as well as a kernel space tracer, complemented with a trace analysis framework able to merge the output of the two tracers, and in particular to relate user-level events to kernel-level ones, and vice-versa. On the kernel side, EZIOTracer relies on eBPF to
offer safe, low-overhead, low memory footprint, and flexible tracing capabilities. We demonstrate using FIO benchmark the ability of EZIOTracer to track down I/O performance issues by relating events recorded at both the kernel and user levels. We show that this can be achieved with a relatively low overhead that ranges from 2% to 26% depending on the I/O intensity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88–98
JournalOperating Systems Review (ACM)
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021
EventEurosys’21: CHEOPS workshop -
Duration: 26 Apr 202128 Apr 2021


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