Oracle Solaris Modular Debugger Guide

Finding References to Data

When trying to diagnose a memory corruption problem, you should know what other kernel entities hold a copy of a particular pointer. This is important because it can reveal which thread accessed a data structure after it was freed. It can also make it easier to understand what kernel entities are sharing knowledge of a particular (valid) data item. The ::whatis and ::kgrep dcmds can be used to answer these questions. You can apply ::whatis to a value of interest:

> 0x705d8640::whatis
705d8640 is 705d8640+0, allocated from streams_mblk

In this case, 0x705d8640 is revealed to be a pointer to a STREAMS mblk structure. To see the entire allocation tree, use ::whatis -a instead:

> 0x705d8640::whatis -a
705d8640 is 705d8640+0, allocated from streams_mblk
705d8640 is 705d8000+640, allocated from kmem_va_8192
705d8640 is 705d8000+640 from kmem_default vmem arena
705d8640 is 705d2000+2640 from kmem_va vmem arena
705d8640 is 705d2000+2640 from heap vmem arena

This reveals that the allocation also appears in the kmem_va_8192 cache. The kmem_va_8192 cache is a kmem cache that is fronting the kmem_va vmem arena. It also shows the full stack of vmem allocations.

The complete list of kmem caches and vmem arenas is displayed by the ::kmastat dcmd. You can use ::kgrep to locate other kernel addresses that contain a pointer to this mblk. This illustrates the hierarchical nature of memory allocations in the system; in general, you can determine the type of object referred to by the given address from the name of the most specific kmem cache.

> 0x705d8640::kgrep

and investigate them by applying ::whatis again:

> 400a3720::whatis
400a3720 is in thread 7095b240's stack

> 706add34::whatis
706add34 is 706add20+14, allocated from streams_dblk_120

Here one pointer is located on the stack of a known kernel thread, and another is the mblk pointer inside of the corresponding STREAMS dblk structure.