Analyzing & Optimizing The Performance Of Modern Linux Systems
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 3 September 2015 at 09:37 PM EDT. 5 Comments
HARDWARE --
If you've found yourself in need of fully analyzing the performance and power of modern Linux systems, there's a great new resource, assuming you have some time on your hands for some reading.

Jim Kukunas, a performance optimization engineer with Intel's Open-Source Technology Center, has written a book entitled Power and Performance: Software Analysis and Optimization. The paperback and e-book aim to cover everything you need to know to properly analyze and optimize the performance of today's Linux systems, while of course catering to Intel x86 systems on Linux, although this is a book Kukunas has written in his spare time outside of Intel.

The book covers topics from Linux perf events and performance monitoring to helpful tools for different hardware subsystems. Within the "designing experiments" chapter is also an entire section devoted to using the Phoronix Test Suite. (Yes, that's what led me to discover this book in the first place.) Jim was one of the Intel OTC developers involved in the PTS test profiles they open-sourced a few years ago.

About the Phoronix Test Suite, Jim Kukunas commented, "Leveraging the Phoronix Test Suite provides a significant number of advantages over writing a custom benchmark manager. One of these advantages is the presence of advanced benchmarking features, such as the ability to automatically rerun test runs with a high variance or the ability to leverage Git bisection in order to automatically pinpoint the source of performance regressions. Another one of these advantages is the ability to generate publication-ready graphs for plotting results and displaying system information. These graphs are of considerable quality, highlighting not only the results, but also the relevant test and system configurations, as well as clearly labeling the metrics."

While I've just started reviewing his book, that was obviously the first section I went to and I must say I'm impressed: his Phoronix Test Suite documentation is admittedly very good; his guide to writing of custom tests is better than I've written myself, as the lead developer behind the Phoronix Test Suite. Going through his guide should make it easier to understand the test profile writing process for the Phoronix Test Suite / OpenBenchmarking.org. Upstream is currently this documentation page and the PDF information, if only I had more time/resources on my hands to write more documentation... Separate from the information in the book, for those writing their own tests, I'm happy to answer questions via email/forums or write the test profiles themselves via commercial services or would even welcome sponsorship of coming up with better documentation and examples within the open-source project.

If Jim's entire book is as detailed as the Phoronix Test Suite section, this should be a very enjoyable and technical book for those interested in analyzing and optimizing Linux system performance. You can find this book for sale via paperback and electronic forms on Amazon.com. I'll likely post more thoughts on the book once I've had more time to look it over.
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About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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