Wireshark-dev: Re: [Wireshark-dev] multiple parsing of the same packets
From: Evan Huus <[email protected]>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 18:12:34 -0400
On Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 5:56 PM, Matthieu Patou <[email protected]> wrote:
> On 10/30/2013 12:07 PM, Evan Huus wrote:
>>
>> On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 2:20 PM, Matthieu Patou <[email protected]> wrote:
>>>
>>> On 10/30/2013 07:31 AM, Evan Huus wrote:
>>>>
>>>> On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 4:14 AM, Matthieu Patou <[email protected]> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> Hello,
>>>>>
>>>>> I noticed long time ago that wireshark is parsing the same packet at
>>>>> least 3
>>>>> tree times.
>>>>>
>>>>> To make it worse if I go back and forth to the same packet it will be
>>>>> dissected one more time.
>>>>> With complex protocols like DRS (directory replication for Active
>>>>> directory)
>>>>> it's really a problem as the UI freeze for a while.
>>>>
>>>> Is the protocol really so complex that dissecting a single packet of
>>>> it takes a user-visible amount of time? That seems suspect to me.
>>>
>>> So what I did is that I'm dissecting the deferred RPC pointers only if
>>> tree
>>> != NULL the dissection of pointers takes a while because there is ~ 1700
>>> top
>>> level pointers and each of them have a lot inner pointers, DRS is a very
>>> complicated protocol.
>>
>> Fair enough, that's quite a bit of data to process. The packets must
>> be enormous.
>
> The reassembled packet payload is 300K but it's compressed, after
> decompression it's 2MB of data.
>
>> Putting null-tree checks in can lead to huge improvements. Just be
>> careful that things like column data and expert info are added even if
>> tree==NULL.
>
> I already added the tree==NULL  checks so that instead of doing the
> dissection of deferred pointers 3 time we only do it 2 times.

tree should be NULL on the initial pass and on the column-triggered
pass. It should only be non-NULL on at most one of the three passes,
so perhaps there is an issue there.

>>
>>>>> First thing, why 3 dissections initially, is there a way to reduce this
>>>>> to
>>>>> 2, I more or less understand why 2 pass are needed but 3 ...
>>>>
>>>> It is in theory possible, the third pass is usually either to fill in
>>>> the column or tree information. We could in theory pull that straight
>>>> from the second pass, but we would have to calculate in advance which
>>>> packets are visible, which may or may not be easy.
>>>
>>> Pardon my wireshark ignorance but it really look like the 2nd and the 3rd
>>> pass are recreating the thing from scratch.
>>
>> Every time we do a dissection it is more-or-less "from scratch". The
>> only data that reliably persists is minimal metadata about
>> conversations, request/response matching and that sort of thing.
>> Again, this was a decision made to trade off time for memory.
>>
>> When loading a file, each packet is dissected once in order to set up
>> this metadata. Then any packet that is visible in the summary pane is
>> dissected again in order to calculate the column text to display. Then
>> the selected packet is dissected again to calculate the details tree
>> to show.
>
> So if I get it right the second pass is to display the packet in the list
> and the third one to actually construct the tree.
> Is there a way to understand that we are just interested for the columns ?

In theory you can tell because pinfo->cinfo will be non-NULL
(indicating we care about columns) and tree will be NULL (indicating
we don't care about much else). If tree is non-NULL for some reason
that might be fixable.

> Because at the level were the dissection where we are there is no point
> adding info to the columns.
>
>>
>> Usually the number of packets visible and/or selected is small (well
>> under 50) and so this extra dissection takes virtually no time at all.
>>
>>>>> Also is it possible to remember the dissection of packet so that we
>>>>> don't
>>>>> do
>>>>> it again and again ?
>>>>
>>>> It is quite possible, it just takes an enormous amount of memory. I
>>>> actually hacked together a patch for this a few weeks ago while doing
>>>> some performance tests [1].
>>>>
>>>> [1]
>>>> http://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg29107.html
>>>
>>>
>>> Well memory is not limitless neither ...
>>
>> In the vast majority of cases dissecting a single packet (of any
>> protocol) is effectively instantaneous, so Wireshark saves as little
>> state as it possibly can. It has to redissect individual packets a lot
>> (pretty much any GUI action leads to at least one packet being
>> redissected) but this permits us to open substantially larger captures
>> (tens of thousands of packets) than we would be able to open
>> otherwise.
>>
>> Given the number of tree items a DRS packet apparently produces,
>> storing the dissection data for every packet would require megabytes
>> of data per packet.
>
> The thing is that you don't have those massive DRS packets very often, most
> of the time it's small but if you are doing the initial replication then
> it's huge.
> In real life you won't look too much at the initial replication (I'm looking
> at it because I'm tunning the dissector) but having to redissect everytime
> (for the columns) the big sync when you might only be interested with the
> successive ones is quite annoying.
>
>>   On a machine with 4GB of ram you probably wouldn't
>> be able to load more than a few thousand packets without forcing out
>> into swap. A saturated network can produce that many packets in
>> seconds (though maybe not that many DRS packets?), so Wireshark would
>> be pretty useless in that case.
>
>
> This kind of massive DRS is spread on ~300 1500 bytes TCP packets.
>
>
> Matthieu.
>
> --
> Matthieu Patou
> Samba Team
> http://samba.org
>