An application using the Performance Metrics Application Programming
Interface (PMAPI) may manipulate several concurrent contexts, each
associated with a source of performance metrics, e.g. pmcd(1) on some
host, or a set of archive logs of performance metrics as created by
pmlogger(1), or a standalone connection on the local host that does
not involve pmcd(1).
pmNewContext may be used to establish a new context. The source of
the metrics is identified by name, and may be either a host name
(type is PM_CONTEXT_HOST), or a comma-separated list of names
referring to a set of archive logs (type is PM_CONTEXT_ARCHIVE).
Each element of the list may either be the base name common to all of
the physical files of an archive log or the name of a directory
containing archive logs.
For a type of PM_CONTEXT_HOST, in addition to identifying a host the
name may also be used to encode additional optional information in
the form of a pmcd(1) port number, a pmproxy(1) hostname and a proxy
port number. For example the name
"app23:14321,email@example.com:11111" specifies a connection
on port 14321 (or port 4321 if 14321 is unavailable) to pmcd(1) on
the host app23 via port 11111 to pmproxy(1) on the host
For a type of PM_CONTEXT_ARCHIVE, each element of the list of names
in name may also be the name of any of the physical files of an
archive, e.g. myarchive.meta (the metadata file) or myarchive.index
(the temporal index) or myarchive.0 (the first data volume of the
archive) or myarchive.0.bz2 or myarchive.0.bz (the first data volume
compressed with bzip2(1)) or myarchive.0.gz or myarchive.0.Z or
myarchive.0.z (the first data volume compressed with gzip(1)),
myarchive.1 or myarchive.3.bz2 or myarchive.42.gz etc.
If more than one archive is specified for a type of
PM_CONTEXT_ARCHIVE, there are some restrictions on the archives
within the set:
· The archives must all have been generated on the same host.
· The archives must not overlap in time.
· The archives must all have been created using the same time zone.
· The PMID of each metric should be the same in all of the archives.
Multiple PMIDs are currently tolerated by using the first PMID
defined for each metric and ignoring subsequent PMIDs.
· The type of each metric must be the same in all of the archives.
· The semantics of each metric must be the same in all of the
· The units of each metric must be the same in all of the archives.
· The instance domain of each metric must be the same in all of the
In the case where type is PM_CONTEXT_LOCAL, name is ignored, and the
context uses a standalone connection to the PMDA methods used by
pmcd(1). When this type of context is used, the range of accessible
performance metrics is constrained to those from the operating
system, and optionally the ``proc'', ``sample'' and ``ib'' PMDAs.
In the case where type is PM_CONTEXT_HOST, additional flags can be
added to the type to indicate if the connection to pmcd(1) should be
encrypted (PM_CTXFLAG_SECURE), deferred (PM_CTXFLAG_SHALLOW) and if
the file descriptor used to communicate with pmcd(1), should not be
shared across contexts (PM_CTXFLAG_EXCLUSIVE). The
PM_CTXFLAG_SHALLOW flag is now deprecated and ignored.
The initial instance profile is set up to select all instances in all
instance domains. In the case of a set of archives, the initial
collection time is also set to zero, so that an initial pmFetch(3)
will result in the earliest set of metrics being returned from the
set of archives.
Once established, the association between a context and a source of
metrics is fixed for the life of the context, however routines are
provided to independently manipulate both the instance profile (see
pmAddProfile(3) and pmDelProfile(3)) and the collection time for
archives (see pmSetMode(3)).
pmNewContext returns a handle that may be used with subsequent calls
The new context remains the current PMAPI context for all subsequent
calls across the PMAPI, until another call to pmNewContext(3) is
made, or the context is explicitly changed with a call to
pmDupContext(3) or pmUseContext(3), or destroyed using
When attempting to connect to a remote pmcd(1) on a machine that is
booting, pmNewContext could potentially block for a long time until
the remote machine finishes its initialization. pmNewContext will
abort and return an error if the connection has not been established
after some specified interval has elapsed. The default interval is 5
seconds. This may be modified by setting PMCD_CONNECT_TIMEOUT in the
environment to a real number of seconds for the desired timeout.
This is most useful in cases where the remote host is at the end of a
slow network, requiring longer latencies to establish the connection
Timeout period (in seconds) for pmcd(1) connection attempts.
TCP/IP port(s) for connecting to pmcd(1), historically was
4321 and more recently the officially registered port 44321;
in the current release, pmcd listens on both these ports as a
transitional arrangement. If used, should be set to a comma-
separated list of numerical port numbers.
When searching for PMDAs to be loaded when type is
PM_CONTEXT_LOCAL, the PMDA_PATH environment variable may be
used to define a search path of directories to be used to
locate the PMDA executables. The default search path is
When using a type of PM_CONTEXT_LOCAL, the operating system PMDA may
export data structures directly from the kernel, which means that the
pmNewContext caller should be an executable program compiled for the
same object code format as the booted kernel.
In addition, applications using a PM_CONTEXT_LOCAL context must be
single-threaded because the various DSO PMDAs may not be thread-safe.
This restriction is enforced at the PMAPI(3), where routines may
return the error code PM_ERR_THREAD if the library detects calls from
more than one thread.
Applications that use gethostbyname(3) should exercise caution
because the static fields in struct hostent may not be preserved
across some PMAPI(3) calls. In particular, pmNewContext(3) and
pmReconnectContext(3) both may call gethostbyname(3) internally.
No permission to perform requested operation
PMCD connection limit for this host exceeded
Requested context type was not PM_CONTEXT_LOCAL,
PM_CONTEXT_HOST or PM_CONTEXT_ARCHIVE.
Archives overlap in time
Archives differ by host
Archives differ by time zone.
The type of a metric differs among archives
The semantics of a metric differs among archives
The instance domain of a metric differs among archives
The units of a metric differs among archives
This page is part of the PCP (Performance Co-Pilot) project.
Information about the project can be found at ⟨http://www.pcp.io/⟩.
If you have a bug report for this manual page, send it to
firstname.lastname@example.org. This page was obtained from the project's upstream
Git repository ⟨git://git.pcp.io/pcp⟩ on 2017-03-13. If you discover
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you have corrections or improvements to the information in this
COLOPHON (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail
Performance Co-Pilot PCP PMNEWCONTEXT(3)