PMNS(5) — Linux manual page


PMNS(5)                      File Formats Manual                     PMNS(5)

NAME         top

       PMNS - the performance metrics name space

SYNOPSIS         top


DESCRIPTION         top

       When using the Performance Metrics Programming Interface (PMAPI) of
       the Performance Co-Pilot (PCP), performance metrics are identified by
       an external name in a hierarchic Performance Metrics Name Space
       (PMNS), and an internal identifier, the Performance Metric Identifier

       A PMNS specifies the association between a metric's name and its

       A PMNS is defined on one or more ASCII source files.

       Loading of a PMNS is done by calling pmLoadNameSpace(3) or

       As of Version 3.10.3 of PCP, by default duplicate names for the same
       PMID are allowed in the PMNS, although pmLoadASCIINameSpace(3)
       provides an alternative interface with user-defined control over the
       processing of duplicate names in the PMNS.  The external format for a
       PMNS conforms to the syntax and semantics described in the following

       There is one default PMNS in the files below $PCP_VAR_DIR/pmns,
       although users and application developers are free to create and use
       alternate PMNS's.  For an example of this, see the PCP Tutorial in

       Although an application can call pmLoadNameSpace(3), normally this is
       only done directly for the -n command line option where an explicit
       root PMNS file is specified.  Since PCP version 2 uses a distributed
       PMNS (see below), an application can extract PMNS information from a
       host's PMCD or an archive.  If the PMNS source is a version 1 archive
       (see PCPIntro(1)), however, then the local PMNS will be loaded using
       the path specified by the environment variable PMNS_DEFAULT.


       In PCP version 1, the PMNS functions in the API all operated on a
       PMNS loaded locally from a file. Since PCP version 2, however, PMNS
       functions may get the PMNS information remotely from a PMCD or
       directly from the meta data of an archive.


       The PMNS specification is initially passed through pmcpp(1).  This
       means the following facilities may be used in the specification

       +  C-style comments

       +  #include directives

       +  #define directives and macro substitution

       +  conditional processing via #ifdef ...  #endif, etc.

       When pmcpp(1) is executed, the ``standard'' include directories are
       the current directory and $PCP_VAR_DIR/pmns.

       The pre-processing with pmcpp(1) may be omitted in some cases where
       the PMNS is known to not contain any C-style comments, preprocessor
       directives or macros.  Refer to the descriptions of
       pmLoadASCIINameSpace(3) and pmLoadNameSpace(3) for details.

SYNTAX         top

       The general syntax for a non-leaf node in the PMNS is as follows

       pathname {
               name      [pmid]

       Where pathname is the full pathname from the root of the PMNS to this
       non-leaf node, with each component in the pathname separated by a
       ``.''.  The root node for the PMNS must have the special name
       ``root'', but the common prefix ``root.'' must be omitted from all
       pathnames.  Each component in the pathname must begin with an
       alphabetic character, and be followed by zero or more characters
       drawn from the alphabetics, the digits and the underscore ``_'')
       character.  For alphabetic characters in a pathname component, upper
       and lower case are distinguished.

       Non-leaf nodes in the PMNS may be defined in any order.

       The descendent nodes are defined by the set of names, relative to the
       pathname of their parent non-leaf node.  For the descendent nodes,
       leaf nodes have a pmid specification, non-leaf nodes do not.  The
       syntax for the pmid specification has been chosen to help manage the
       allocation of PMIDs across disjoint and autonomous domains of
       administration and implementation.  Each pmid consists of 3 integer
       parts, separated by colons, e.g. 14:27:11.  This hierarchic numbering
       scheme is intended to mirror the implementation hierarchy of
       performance metric domain, metrics cluster (data structure or
       operational similarity) and individual metric.  In practice, the two
       leading components are likely to be macros in the PMNS specification
       source, and pmcpp(1) will convert the macros to integers.  These
       macros for the initial components of the pmid are likely to be
       defined either in a standard include file, e.g.
       $PCP_VAR_DIR/pmns/stdpmid, or in the current source file.

       To support dynamic metrics, where the existence of a metric is known
       to a PMDA, but not visible in the PMNS, a variant syntax for the pmid
       is supported, namely a domain number followed by asterisks for the
       other components of the pmid, e.g. 14:*:*.  The corresponding metric
       name forms the root of a subtree of dynamic metric names defined in
       the corresponding PMDA as identified by the domain number.

       The current allocation of the high-order (PMD or domain) component of
       PMIDs is as follows.

              │ Range  │                 Allocation                 │
              │      0 │ reserved                                   │
              │  1-384 │ production PMDAs from PCP packages         │
              │385-510 │ end-user PMDAs (allocate from high to low) │
              │    511 │ reserved for dynamic PMNS entries          │

EXAMPLE         top

       #define KERNEL 1
       #define FOO 387
       root {
           dynamic     FOO:*:*

       #define NETWORK 26
       network {
           intrate     KERNEL:NETWORK:1

       network.packetrate {
           in          KERNEL:NETWORK:35
           out         KERNEL:NETWORK:36

       #define CPU 10
       cpu {
           syscallrate KERNEL:CPU:10

       #define USER 20
       #define SYSTEM 21
       #define IDLE 22

       cpu.util {
           user        KERNEL:CPU:USER
           sys         KERNEL:CPU:SYSTEM
           idle        KERNEL:CPU:IDLE

SEE ALSO         top

       PCPIntro(1), pmcd(1), pmcpp(1), PCPIntro(3), PMAPI(3), pmErrStr(3),
       pmGetConfig(3), pmLoadASCIINameSpace(3), pmLoadNameSpace(3),
       pcp.conf(5) and pcp.env(5).

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the PCP (Performance Co-Pilot) project.
       Information about the project can be found at ⟨⟩.
       If you have a bug report for this manual page, send it to  This page was obtained from the project's upstream
       Git repository ⟨⟩ on
       2020-09-18.  (At that time, the date of the most recent commit that
       was found in the repository was 2020-09-18.)  If you discover any
       rendering problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe
       there is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
       corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

Performance Co-Pilot                 PCP                             PMNS(5)

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