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softirqs(8) System Manager's Manual softirqs(8)


softirqs - Measure soft IRQ (soft interrupt) event time. Uses Linux eBPF/bcc.


softirqs [-h] [-T] [-N] [-C] [-d] [-c CPU] [interval] [count]


This summarizes the time spent servicing soft IRQs (soft interrupts), and can show this time as either totals or histogram distributions. A system-wide summary of this time is shown by the %soft column of mpstat(1), and soft IRQ event counts (but not times) are available in /proc/softirqs.

This tool uses the irq:softirq_enter and irq:softirq_exit kernel tracepoints, which is a stable tracing mechanism. BPF programs can attach to tracepoints from Linux 4.7 only. An older version of this tool is available in tools/old, and uses kprobes instead of tracepoints.

Since this uses BPF, only the root user can use this tool.


CONFIG_BPF and bcc.


Print usage message.
Include timestamps on output.
Output in nanoseconds.
Show the number of soft irq events.
Show IRQ time distribution as histograms.
Trace on this CPU only.


# softirqs
# softirqs -C
# softirqs -d
# softirqs 1 10
1 second summaries, printed in nanoseconds, with timestamps:
# softirqs -NT 1
# softirqs -c 1


The kernel function name that performs the soft IRQ action.
Total time spent in this soft IRQ function in microseconds.
Total time spent in this soft IRQ function in nanoseconds.
Range of microseconds for this bucket.
Range of nanoseconds for this bucket.
Number of soft IRQs in this time range.
ASCII representation of the distribution (the count column).


This traces kernel functions and maintains in-kernel counts, which are asynchronously copied to user-space. While the rate of interrupts be very high (>1M/sec), this is a relatively efficient way to trace these events, and so the overhead is expected to be small for normal workloads, but could become noticeable for heavy workloads. Measure in a test environment before use.


This is from bcc.

Also look in the bcc distribution for a companion _examples.txt file containing example usage, output, and commentary for this tool.




Unstable - in development.


Brendan Gregg, Sasha Goldshtein, Rocky Xing



2015-10-20 USER COMMANDS