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(Configure the linux kernel)
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Note you might have to enable
Note you might have to enable
# General setup -> Configure standard kernel features
* General setup -> Configure standard kernel features
option, which depends on
option, which depends on
# General setup -> Embedded system
* General setup -> Embedded system
(welcome to Kconfig reverse chains hell).
(welcome to Kconfig reverse chains hell).

Revision as of 14:44, 27 December 2011

What CRtools is

CRtools is an utility to checkpoint/restore process tree. Unlike checkpoint/restore implemented completely in kernel space, it tries to achieve the same target operating in user space. Since the tools and overall concept are still under heavy development stage there are some known limitations applied

  1. Only pure x86-64 environment is supported, no IA32 emulation allowed.
  2. There is no way to use cgroups freezer facility yet.
  3. No network or IPC checkpoint/restore supported.

Basic design


The checkpoint procedure relies heavily on /proc file system (it's a general place where crtools takes all the information it needs). Which includes

  • Files descriptors information (via /proc/$pid/fd and /proc/$pid/fdinfo).
  • Pipes parameters.
  • Memory maps (via /proc/$pid/maps).

The process dumper (lets call it a dumper further) does the following steps during checkpoint stage

  1. A $pid of a process group leader is obtained from the command line.
  2. By using this $pid the dumper walks though /proc/$pid/status and gathers children $pids recursively. At the end we will have a process tree.
  3. Then it takes every $pid from a process tree, sends SIGSTOP to every process found, and performs the following steps on each $pid.
    • Collects VMA areas by parsing /proc/$pid/maps.
    • Seizes a task via relatively new ptrace interface. Seizing a task means to put it into a special state when the task have no idea if it's being operated by ptrace.
    • Core parameters of a task (such as registers and friends) are being dumped via ptrace interface and parsing /proc/$pid/stat entry.
    • The dumper injects a parasite code into a task via ptrace interface. This allows us to dump pages of a task right from within the task's address space.
      • An injection procedure is pretty simple - the dumper scans executable VMA areas of a task (which were collected previously) and tests if there a place for syscall call, then (by ptrace as well) it substitutes an original code with syscall instructions and creates a new VMA area inside process address space.
      • Finally parasite code get copied into the new VMA and the former code which was modified during parasite bootstrap procedure get restored.
    • Then (by using a parasite code) the dumper flushes contents of a task's pages to the file. And pulls out parasite code block completely, since we don't need it anymore.
    • Once parasite removed a task get unseized via ptrace call but it remains stopped still.
    • The dumper writes out files and pipes parameter and data.
  4. The procedure continues for every $pid.


The restore procedure (aka restorer) proceed in the following steps

  1. A process tree has been read from a file.
  2. Every process started with saved (i.e. original) $pid via clone() call.
  3. Files and pipes are restored (by restored it's meant - they are opened and positioned).
  4. A new memory map is created, filled with data the program had at checkpoint time.
  5. Finally the program is kicked to start with rt_sigreturn system call.

Download crtools

The crtools utility itself is hosted at github. Clone this repo to test new functionality.

Also crtools requires some additional patches to be applied on the linux kernel (on top of v3.2-rc6 to be precise).

So clone linux-2.6-crtools.git, checkout crtools branch and compile the kernel.

Configure the linux kernel

Make sure you have the following options turned on

  1. General setup -> Checkpoint/restore support
  2. Networking support -> Networking options -> Unix domain sockets -> UNIX: socket monitoring interface
  3. Processor type and features -> Enable generic object ID infrastructure

Note you might have to enable

  • General setup -> Configure standard kernel features

option, which depends on

  • General setup -> Embedded system

(welcome to Kconfig reverse chains hell).