Profiling Linux* and QNX* System Boot Time

This recipe illustrates how to integrate performance analysis to the Linux and QNX operating system boot flow. This analysis helps find activities executing unexpectedly long on CPU cores during the OS boot for further boot order inspection.

Content experts: Vitaly Slobodskoy, Kirill Uhanov, Dmitry Obrezchikov


This section lists the software used for the performance analysis scenario.

  • Operating system:

    • Linux with the systemd system initialization type. Root access is enabled.

    • QNX

  • Tools:

    • QNX* Momentics* Tool Suite

    • QNX 7.0 SDK

    • Intel® VTune™ Amplifier 2019 (or higher)

Profile Linux System Boot Time via systemd


  • Install VTune Amplifier on your target Linux system.

  • Check the type of system initialization. To confirm the system is using systemd, enter:

    systemctl | grep "\-\.mount"

    The following output is expected if systemd is used:

    -.mount  loaded  active  mounted  /

To profile Linux system boot time:

  1. Create a /boot_profile file and configure it to run any VTune Amplifier's hardware analysis (Hotspots, I/O Analysis, and others).

    For example, to execute the Hotspots analysis system-wide for 30 seconds using a low sampling interval for higher data precision, use:

    /opt/intel/vtune_amplifier/bin64/amplxe-cl -c hotspots -knob sampling-mode=hw -knob sampling-interval=0.1 -d 30 -finalization-mode=none -r /tmp/boot_profile &


    • Make sure the path in the file correctly specifies the VTune Amplifier installation directory. By default, the installation directory on Linux is /opt/intel/vtune_amplifier.

    • The path to the boot_profile script can be any local path available at early boot stages, for example: /tmp.

  2. Change the permission for the data collection startup script:

    chmod 755 /boot_profile

  3. Create a /etc/systemd/system/vtune_boot.service file with the following content:

    Description=VTune Amplifier boot profile service

  4. Enable the service:

    systemctl enable vtune_boot

  5. Reboot your system to start a VTune Amplifier data collection during the OS boot process.

When the data collection is completed, the result directory will be located in /tmp/boot_profile. This directory is created under the root user. If you need to open a result under a regular user, change the folder permissions:

sudo chmod -R a+w /tmp/boot_profile

Additional useful commands:

  • To disable the service:

    systemctl disable vtune_boot

  • To analyze VTune Amplifier collector output during the OS boot process in case of any failures:

    sudo journalctl -u vtune_boot

Profile QNX System Boot Time


  • Install QNX* Momentics* Tool Suite on your host.

  • Install QNX 7.0 SDK.

  • Import a BSP to your QNX Momentics workspace via File > Import > QNX > QNX Source Package and BSP.

  • Install VTune Amplifier on your host system.

To profile QNX system boot time:

  1. Copy the target profiling agent ( sep binary) from <vtune-install-dir>/target/qnx_x86_64 to <qnx-sdk-path>\qnx700\target\qnx7\x86_64\usr\bin.

  2. Modify a *.build file of your QNX image.

    1. Find a string /usr/bin/gzip=gzip and add /usr/bin/sep=sep after it.

    2. Find a startup script section and add sep -p1 &.

      [+script] startup-script = {
          # NOTE: Temporary enable for UART devices on OCP bridge
          # will be able to removed once ABL is fixed
          ocp_init -d 0:24:0 0x200=0xffff04b5 0x204=7
          ocp_init -d 0:24:1 0x200=0xffff04b5 0x204=7
          ocp_init -d 0:24:2 0x200=0xffff04b5 0x204=7 # console
          ocp_init -d 0:24:3 0x200=0xffff04b5 0x204=7
          # the sep run before this could move system to unstable
          # state and crash it
          sep -p1 -d 10 &

      The sep target profiling agent options are:

      • -p<mode> configures the collection mode:

        0 sets regular default mode. The profiling agent waits for the connection from the host over TCP/IP.

        1 enables the agent to start a preconfigured collection without stacks. Collected samples are stored in the target memory. To transfer the data to the host, TCP/IP connection is required.

        2 enables the agent to start a preconfigured collection with sample call stacks. Collected samples are stored in the target memory. To transfer the data to the host, TCP/IP connection is required.

      • -d <sec> sets the maximum duration of a collection (in seconds). The collection stops after the specified time or when the memory buffer is full.

      • -s <sec> defers the start of a collection by the specified time.

      • -b <size_ratio> sets the collection buffer size (1 ^ size_ratio bytes); for a single CPU core, for example, specify -b 23 for 8Mb buffer size. The agent uses a double-buffer schema for switching buffers so that the amount of target memory consumption per a CPU core would be 16Mb. In case of 4 CPU cores, the overall memory consumption by the agent would be 64Mb. The default value is 19 (0.5Mb).

  3. Rebuild and flash QNX image.

  4. Reboot your system to start a VTune Amplifier data collection during OS boot process.

  5. Propagate the collection results to the host.

    In the preconfigured collection mode (-p1 or -p2), the target agent profiles the workload for the specified duration inside the memory buffer and switches to the listening mode sending a message like this: 'sep5_0: Waiting for control connection from host on port XXXX...' to console. After this, you can launch the sep utility on the host to copy the collected data from the target over the network. Make sure the host command line options you use correspond to the target agent options. For example, for the -p1 mode, the host command looks like this:

    <vtune-install-dir>/bin64/sep -start -target-ip <target-system-ip-address> -target-port 9321 -out /tmp/qnx_boot.tb7

    For the -p2 mode:

    <vtune-install-dir>/bin64/sep -start -target-ip <target-system-ip-address> -target-port 9321 -lbr call_stack -out /tmp/qnx_boot.tb7

Import the Result to a VTune Amplifier Project

  1. Launch the VTune Amplifier standalone GUI on the host system to pick up proper binary files during result finalization.

    For example, to launch the VTune Amplifier on Windows OS, enter:


  2. Create a new VTune Amplifier project and configure binary/symbol search directories to include paths for the debug files of the kernel and/or drivers.

    On a Linux host, you can change the kptr_restrict value to 0 to enable resolving kernel function names.

  3. Import your result to the project:

    • To import a Linux result, use the Import a result into the current project option. For example:

    • To import a QNX result, use the Import raw data option and click the browse button to select the required *.tb7 file:

Analyze Process Execution

Open the result and click the Bottom-up tab to identify which processes occupied most of CPU resources:

Switch to the Platform tab and analyze a sequence of processes/services execution. To do this:

  1. Change the Timeline grouping to Process/Thread.

  2. Right-click to open the context menu and sort the rows by Row Start Time in the Ascending order:

  3. Analyze a process execution order:

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.
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