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dtrace-provider - Native DTrace providers for Node.js apps.

This extension allows you to create native DTrace providers for your Node.js applications. That is, to create providers and probes which expose information specific to your application, rather than information about the node runtime.

You could use this to expose high-level information about the inner workings of your application, or to create a specific context in which to look at information from other runtime or system-level providers.

The provider is not created in the usual way, by declaring it and then changing the build process to include it, but instead dynamically at runtime. This is done entirely in-process, and there is no background compiler or dtrace(1) invocation. The process creating the provider need not run as root.


$ npm install dtrace-provider


Here's a simple example of creating a provider:

var d = require('dtrace-provider');

var dtp = d.createDTraceProvider("nodeapp");
var p1 = dtp.addProbe("probe1", "int", "int");
var p2 = dtp.addProbe("probe2", "char *");

Probes may be fired via the provider object:"probe1", function(p) {
    return [1, 2];
});"probe2", function(p) { 
    return ["hello, dtrace via provider", "foo"];

or via the probe objects themselves: {
  return [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6];
}); {
  return ["hello, dtrace via probe", "foo"];

This example creates a provider called "nodeapp", and adds two probes. It then enables the provider, at which point the provider becomes visible to DTrace.

The probes are then fired, which produces this output:

$ sudo dtrace -Z -n 'nodeapp*:::probe1{ trace(arg0); trace(arg1) }'  \
                 -n 'nodeapp*:::probe2{ trace(copyinstr(arg0));  }'
dtrace: description 'nodeapp*:::probe1' matched 0 probes
dtrace: description 'nodeapp*:::probe2' matched 0 probes
CPU     ID                    FUNCTION:NAME
  1 123562                      func:probe1                 1                2
  1 123563                      func:probe2   hello, dtrace                    

Arguments are captured by a callback only executed when the probe is enabled. This means you can do more expensive work to gather arguments.

The maximum number of arguments supported is 32.


This libusdt-based Node.JS module supports 64 and 32 bit processes on Mac OS X and Solaris-like systems such as Illumos or SmartOS. As more platform support is added to libusdt, those platforms will be supported by this module. See libusdt's status at:

FreeBSD is supported in principle but is restricted to only 4 working arguments per probe.

Platforms not supporting DTrace (notably, Linux and Windows) may install this module without building libusdt, with a stub no-op implementation provided for compatibility. This allows cross-platform npm modules to embed probes and include a dependency on this module.


The data types supported are "int" and "char *". Support for structured types is planned, depending on support from the host DTrace implementation for the necessary translators.


There is some overhead to probes, even when disabled. Probes are already using the "is-enabled" feature of DTrace to control execution of the arguments-gathering callback, but some work still needs to be done before that's checked. This overhead should not be a problem unless probes are placed in particularly hot code paths.


The source is available at:

For issues, please use the Github issue tracker linked to the repository. Github pull requests are very welcome.


This node extension is derived from the ruby-dtrace gem, via the Perl module Devel::DTrace::Provider, both of which provide the same functionality to those languages.