Linux Performance


sar, benchmarking, tuning:

Images license: creative commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0.

This page links to various Linux performance material I've created, including the tools maps on the right. These show: Linux observability tools, Linux benchmarking tools, Linux tuning tools, and Linux sar. For more diagrams, see my slide decks below.




Previous talks on Linux performance.

LinuxCon Europe 2014

At LinuxCon Europe I gave a talk on Linux performance tools, summarizing the tool landscape in 50 minutes. My aim was to provide exposure to what exists: it isn't necessary to remember how (you can look that up later), but it is necessary to know that you can.

A video of the talk is on youtube, and the slides are on slideshare or as a PDF.

This was similar to my SCaLE11x talk, but this time I included benchmarking, tuning, and static tools for a more complete summary. I also updated my summary of the tracing tools, and my recent work with ftrace.

This was an updated version of the talk I gave at LinuxCon North America 2014 (blog post). This time I included rdmsr, pcstat, and static tools. That post links to the blank diagram for you to fill out.

LISA 2014

At USENIX LISA 2014, I gave a talk on the new ftrace and perf_events tools I've been developing: the perf-tools collection on github.

A video of the talk is on youtube, and the slides are on slideshare or as a PDF.

The perf-tools collection, inspired by my earlier DTraceToolkit, provides advanced system performance analysis tools for Linux. Each tool has a man page and example file. They are unstable and unsupported, and they currently use shell scripting, hacks, and the ftrace and perf_events kernel tracing frameworks. They should be developed (and improved) as the Linux kernel acquires more tracing capabilities (eg, eBPF).


At SCaLE 12x (Southern California Linux Expo, 2014) I gave the keynote on What Linux can learn from Solaris performance and vice-versa. This drew on my experience analyzing Linux vs SmartOS performance, and my work for the Systems Performance book. SmartOS is an OS based on the illumos kernel, which is the active fork of the OpenSolaris kernel.

The slides are on slideshare and as a PDF:

I've never seen a good talk comparing performance features of both, I suspect in part because it's hard to know them both in enough depth, and also hard to choose from the many differences which should be highlighted.

This presentation also contains ponies. Lots of ponies. These are the unofficial mascots for DTrace, perf_events, SystemTap, ktap, and LTTng, and were designed by the same person (Deirdré) who designed the original (and popular) DTrace ponycorn.


At SCaLE 11x (2013) I gave a talk on Linux performance analysis and tools, and described over twenty observability tools, and then methodologies for using them. During this talk I introduced the Linux performance tools diagram, which I've put at the top of this page (an updated version).

A video of the talk is on youtube, and the slides are available on slideshare and as a PDF.

I've used pretty much everything for solving performance issues, including advanced tools like perf, DTrace, and SystemTap, and I explained their role and how they fit together. It was pretty dense: you can treat this as a 60 minute crash course into Linux performance analysis and tools.

Thanks Deirdré Straughan for filming it and then spreading the word afterwards.

Last updated: 23-Jan-2015