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What is Pack and where to Go?

VTune ?help? defines ?Pack & Go? in a following way:

The VTune? Performance Environment enables you to bundle all the different files related to a project in one step and later unpack and view the bundled files on any machine that has the VTune Performance Environment installed. This process is called Pack and Go.

But what stands under this statement? Weather the unpacked project on any other machine is fully functional? Can I see all possible views? Will I need any additional files to copy manual to this machine? Can I rerun activities?

In this article I?d like to discuss with you this very powerful VTune feature and share some details you probably would like to know.

What files are packed?
VTune packs mainly files that it has produced. Try to pack of a particular project (or select a particular activity result inside the project). In the output window one can see the list of files packed. These files include:
- special files that contain the results of the collection
-?.jit? files, which persist ?just in time? compilation produced by ?managed? code running like Java or .NET.
-?.ism? files, which persist symbol information for binary modules at the time of the collection.

Why VTune persists symbols?
Well, the answer is quite easy. VTune challenges the environment where binary modules are changing all the time. VTune users optimize their applications by changing and recompiling and repeating the measurements. Thus VTune persists symbols for binary modules along with files containing the results of the collections in order to produce correct views (with symbols) for collected results.

What is not packed?
VTune does not pack files that it has not created. For example, binary modules and source files are not packed!

What is the result of the pack operation?
A file with ?.vxp? extension, ready to ?go?. I recommend to zip it before going anywhere.

Where to Go?
Take it with you to another machine, running same or more updated version of VTune. Send it to your friends by e-mail. Attach it to the bug report when you submit one to Intel. Or unpack it inside another project on the same machine(see below).

How to unpack?
Double click on the ?.vxp? file will open VTune and unpack the project. Or use ?File->Unpack? command from the menu and chose the ?.vxp? file. Here you can choose weather to create a new project for the unpacked project or to unpack it to the existing one.

Why to unpack a project into the existing one?
VTune has another powerful feature ? to view several results in one view. Very useful for comparing results!!! Just drag-and-drop some activity result from the navigation tree to some already open view for another activity result. Most likely you?ll be able to see 2 or more activity results ?side-by-side?. But this is possible inside the same project only(!)

What can I do with the unpacked project on other machine?
You?ll be able to view and analyze unpacked activity results. Most views will contain proper symbol information. The problem can appear when drilling into the source view.

What?s wrong with ?Source View??
?Source View? ? needs the source file to show. It can be ?.cpp? file or/and binary module, which probably can be missed (or have another path) on the particular machine. You?ll be prompted to find ?source? files. In this case you can either to map a remote or network drive with source files, or copy them manually to this machine, or just ?skip? this step. As you remember, VTune does not pack the file it has not created.

Can I rerun existing activities?
Most likely you can. But I do not recommend. The activity can miss some configurations done before the pack. As well, the activity configuration can be not suitable for the current machine (think of different CPU or different file paths). So the preferable way is to create new activities and run them.

Why do I need this feature?
Well, personally I use Pack & Go all the time.
-For me it is the most suitable way to share my results with other people. (Like bug submission to Intel support :-) )
-Usually, results are collected on test machines in the Lab. So I pack projects keep and analyze them on my personal computer.
-As well I store my packed results in zipped format for future use which significantly saves disk space.
-I compare activity results from different projects in one view (see ?Why to unpack a project into the existing one?? above)
-I enjoy rich graphical environment of VTune running on Windows; to view and analyze the results, collected with VTune for Linux (1.0) running with command line interface.

What did I miss?
Replay and tell me.
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