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perf.plugin collects system-wide CPU performance statistics from Performance Monitoring Units (PMU) using the perf_event_open() system call.

Important Notes#

Accessing hardware PMUs requires root permissions, so the plugin is setuid to root.

Keep in mind that the number of PMUs in a system is usually quite limited and every hardware monitoring event for every CPU core needs a separate file descriptor to be opened.


The plugin provides statistics for general hardware and software performance monitoring events:

Hardware events:

  1. CPU cycles
  2. Instructions
  3. Branch instructions
  4. Cache operations
  5. BUS cycles
  6. Stalled frontend and backend cycles

Software events:

  1. CPU migrations
  2. Alignment faults
  3. Emulation faults

Hardware cache events:

  1. L1D cache operations
  2. L1D prefetch cache operations
  3. L1I cache operations
  4. LL cache operations
  5. DTLB cache operations
  6. ITLB cache operations
  7. PBU cache operations


The plugin is disabled by default because the number of PMUs is usually quite limited and it is not desired to allow Netdata to struggle silently for PMUs, interfering with other performance monitoring software. If you need to enable the perf plugin, edit /etc/netdata/netdata.conf and set:

perf = yes
update every = 1
command options = all

You can use the command options parameter to pick what data should be collected and which charts should be displayed. If all is used, all general performance monitoring counters are probed and corresponding charts are enabled for the available counters. You can also define a particular set of enabled charts using the following keywords: cycles, instructions, branch, cache, bus, stalled, migrations, alignment, emulation, L1D, L1D-prefetch, L1I, LL, DTLB, ITLB, PBU.


You can run the plugin by hand:

sudo /usr/libexec/netdata/plugins.d/perf.plugin 1 all debug

You will get verbose output on what the plugin does.

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