Intel Preparing Platform Monitoring Technology - Hardware Telemetry With Tiger Lake

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 5 May 2020 at 08:49 AM EDT. 26 Comments
Intel developers are working on a new Linux feature and technology called "Intel Platform Monitoring Technology" as amounting to a hardware telemetry framework that can also be used by other hardware vendors. This appears to be a new feature Intel will be supporting on the hardware side starting with Tiger Lake.

The kernel patches volleyed overnight I believe are the first time seeing "Intel Platform Monitoring Technology" and Google hasn't turned up many other hits besides these new patches. Which makes sense as the patches confirm this PMT feature is premiering with Tiger Lake. Intel Platform Monitoring Technology is for enumerating and accessing hardware monitoring capabilities for a device. Intel developer David Box says this is coming as a result of customers interested in hardware telemetry and making the data collection more discoverable and easier to manage.

This is a hardware agnostic framework for collecting monitoring data. Intel PMT makes use of the PCIe Designated Vendor Extended Capability (DVSEC) bit for each instance/device. Box explained in the announcement, "The current capabilities defined by PMT are Telemetry, Watcher, and Crashlog. The Telemetry capability provides access to a continuous block of read only data. The Watcher capability provides access to hardware sampling and tracing features. Crashlog provides access to device crash dumps. While there is some relationship between capabilities (Watcher can be configured to sample from the Telemetry data set) each exists as stand alone features with no dependency on any other."

The collected monitoring data is exposed to user-space via a new XML format for interested tools to parse.

While Intel Platform Monitoring Technology is designed to be hardware agnostic, Intel is beginning to make use of it starting with upcoming Tiger Lake platforms. It will be interesting to see how the adoption moves going forward for better hardware metrics/counters collection and if it gets wired up nicely into Linux's perf and other tooling.

For now the patches are out for review on the kernel mailing list but could be mainlined as soon as Linux 5.8.
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