Oracle Solaris Modular Debugger Guide

Finding Corrupt Buffers With ::kmem_verify

MDB's ::kmem_verify dcmd implements most of the same checks that the kmem allocator does at runtime. ::kmem_verify can be invoked in order to scan every kmem cache with appropriate kmem_flags, or to examine a particular cache.

Here is an example of using ::kmem_verify to isolate a problem:

> ::kmem_verify
Cache Name                      Addr     Cache Integrity
kmem_alloc_8                    70039428 clean
kmem_alloc_16                   700396a8 clean
kmem_alloc_24                   70039928 1 corrupt buffer
kmem_alloc_32                   70039ba8 clean
kmem_alloc_40                   7003a028 clean
kmem_alloc_48                   7003a2a8 clean

It is easy to see here that the kmem_alloc_24 cache contains what ::kmem_verify believes to be a problem. With an explicit cache argument, the ::kmem_verify dcmd provides more detailed information about the problem:

> 70039928::kmem_verify
Summary for cache 'kmem_alloc_24'
  buffer 702babc0 (free) seems corrupted, at 702babc0

The next step is to examine the buffer which ::kmem_verify believes to be corrupt:

> 0x702babc0,5/KKn
0x702babc0:     0               deadbeef
                deadbeef        deadbeef
                deadbeef        deadbeef
                feedface        feedface
                703785a0        84d9714e

The reason that ::kmem_verify flagged this buffer is now clear: The first word in the buffer (at 0x702babc0) should probably be filled with the 0xdeadbeef pattern, not with a 0. At this point, examining the bufctl_audit for this buffer might yield clues about what code recently wrote to the buffer, indicating where and when it was freed.

Another useful technique in this situation is to use ::kgrep to search the address space for references to address 0x702babc0, in order to discover what threads or data structures are still holding references to this freed data.