Systems Performance 2nd Ed.

BPF Performance Tools book

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dtrace.conf 2012 videos

08 May 2012

I originally posted this at

Last month was dtrace.conf 2012, the 2nd DTrace unconference. This is a meetup of DTrace practitioners and developers, where we discuss the latest uses, developments and future directions of the technology. It was great to see old friends of DTrace, and to put new faces to names. See the video list for the sessions, which, for fun, includes all the attendees riding a carousel.

I gave a short talk on DTrace-based visualizations, which is on youtube:

The visualizations I discussed included:

  • Visualizing System Latency as heat maps: which included X Marks the Spot and the Rainbow Pterodactyl. These use DTrace to trace start and end events, associate timestamps, and populate lquantize() aggregations so that the full distribution can be efficiently captured and examined.
  • Subsecond Offset Heat Maps, which use DTrace to either sample on-CPU thread execution, or trace events such as system calls, to show the timing of these events within a second.
  • Visualizing Process Execution, which uses DTrace to trace process creation and destruction events.
  • Flame Graphs, which uses DTrace to sample full stack traces, either user-land, kernel or both. These are then visualized as an interactive SVG.

My talk was followed by a couple more on DTrace-based visualizations: Theo Schlossnagle on Visualizations and USDT, and Richard Elling.

The conference ran very well, and was attended by engineers working on DTrace with a variety of operating systems, including FreeBSD, Mac OS X, Sony PlayStation, and Linux. Thanks to all who helped, especially Deirdré Straughan for organizing it and videoing the sessions.

For more about the conference, see Adam's wrap-up.