Home > Store

Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud

Register your product to gain access to bonus material or receive a coupon.

Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud

eBook (Watermarked)

  • Your Price: $41.59
  • List Price: $51.99
  • Includes EPUB and PDF
  • About eBook Formats
  • This eBook includes the following formats, accessible from your Account page after purchase:

    ePub EPUB The open industry format known for its reflowable content and usability on supported mobile devices.

    Adobe Reader PDF The popular standard, used most often with the free Adobe® Reader® software.

    This eBook requires no passwords or activation to read. We customize your eBook by discreetly watermarking it with your name, making it uniquely yours.


  • Copyright 2014
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Pages: 784
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-339014-4
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-339014-8

The Complete Guide to Optimizing Systems Performance

Written by the winner of the 2013 LISA Award for Outstanding Achievement in System Administration

Large-scale enterprise, cloud, and virtualized computing systems have introduced serious performance challenges. Now, internationally renowned performance expert Brendan Gregg has brought together proven methodologies, tools, and metrics for analyzing and tuning even the most complex environments. Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud focuses on Linux® and Unix® performance, while illuminating performance issues that are relevant to all operating systems. You’ll gain deep insight into how systems work and perform, and learn methodologies for analyzing and improving system and application performance. Gregg presents examples from bare-metal systems and virtualized cloud tenants running Linux-based Ubuntu®, Fedora®, CentOS, and the illumos-based Joyent® SmartOS™ and OmniTI OmniOS®. He systematically covers modern systems performance, including the “traditional” analysis of CPUs, memory, disks, and networks, and new areas including cloud computing and dynamic tracing. This book also helps you identify and fix the “unknown unknowns” of complex performance: bottlenecks that emerge from elements and interactions you were not aware of. The text concludes with a detailed case study, showing how a real cloud customer issue was analyzed from start to finish.

Coverage includes

• Modern performance analysis and tuning: terminology, concepts, models, methods, and techniques

• Dynamic tracing techniques and tools, including examples of DTrace, SystemTap, and perf

• Kernel internals: uncovering what the OS is doing

• Using system observability tools, interfaces, and frameworks

• Understanding and monitoring application performance

• Optimizing CPUs: processors, cores, hardware threads, caches, interconnects, and kernel scheduling

• Memory optimization: virtual memory, paging, swapping, memory architectures, busses, address spaces, and allocators

• File system I/O, including caching

• Storage devices/controllers, disk I/O workloads, RAID, and kernel I/O

• Network-related performance issues: protocols, sockets, interfaces, and physical connections

• Performance implications of OS and hardware-based virtualization, and new issues encountered with cloud computing

• Benchmarking: getting accurate results and avoiding common mistakes

This guide is indispensable for anyone who operates enterprise or cloud environments: system, network, database, and web admins; developers; and other professionals. For students and others new to optimization, it also provides exercises reflecting Gregg’s extensive instructional experience.

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xxxiii

About the Author xxxv

Chapter 1: Introduction 1

1.1 Systems Performance 1

1.2 Roles 2

1.3 Activities 3

1.4 Perspectives 4

1.5 Performance Is Challenging 4

1.6 Latency 6

1.7 Dynamic Tracing 7

1.8 Cloud Computing 8

1.9 Case Studies 9

Chapter 2: Methodology 15

2.1 Terminology 16

2.2 Models 17

2.3 Concepts 18

2.4 Perspectives 32

2.5 Methodology 35

2.6 Modeling 57

2.7 Capacity Planning 65

2.8 Statistics 69

2.9 Monitoring 74

2.10 Visualizations 76

2.11 Exercises 82

2.12 References 82

Chapter 3: Operating Systems 85

3.1 Terminology 86

3.2 Background 87

3.3 Kernels 105

3.4 Exercises 113

3.5 References 113

Chapter 4: Observability Tools 115

4.1 Tool Types 116

4.2 Observability Sources 120

4.3 DTrace 133

4.4 SystemTap 144

4.5 perf 149

4.6 Observing Observability 150

4.7 Exercises 151

4.8 References 151

Chapter 5: Applications 153

5.1 Application Basics 153

5.2 Application Performance Techniques 158

5.3 Programming Languages 163

5.4 Methodology and Analysis 167

5.5 Exercises 186

5.6 References 187

Chapter 6: CPUs 189

6.1 Terminology 190

6.2 Models 191

6.3 Concepts 193

6.4 Architecture 199

6.5 Methodology 214

6.6 Analysis 224

6.7 Experimentation 254

6.8 Tuning 256

6.9 Exercises 260

6.10 References 262

Chapter 7: Memory 265

7.1 Terminology 266

7.2 Concepts 267

7.3 Architecture 272

7.4 Methodology 289

7.5 Analysis 295

7.6 Tuning 314

7.7 Exercises 319

7.8 References 320

Chapter 8: File Systems 323

8.1 Terminology 324

8.2 Models 325

8.3 Concepts 326

8.4 Architecture 337

8.5 Methodology 353

8.6 Analysis 362

8.7 Experimentation 383

8.8 Tuning 387

8.9 Exercises 391

8.10 References 392

Chapter 9: Disks 395

9.1 Terminology 396

9.2 Models 397

9.3 Concepts 399

9.4 Architecture 407

9.5 Methodology 421

9.6 Analysis 431

9.7 Experimentation 465

9.8 Tuning 467

9.9 Exercises 470

9.10 References 471

Chapter 10: Network 473

10.1 Terminology 474

10.2 Models 474

10.3 Concepts 476

10.4 Architecture 483

10.5 Methodology 493

10.6 Analysis 503

10.7 Experimentation 535

10.8 Tuning 536

10.9 Exercises 542

10.10 References 543

Chapter 11: Cloud Computing 545

11.1 Background 546

11.2 OS Virtualization 551

11.3 Hardware Virtualization 563

11.4 Comparisons 581

11.5 Exercises 583

11.6 References 584

Chapter 12: Benchmarking 587

12.1 Background 588

12.2 Benchmarking Types 597

12.3 Methodology 602

12.4 Benchmark Questions 613

12.5 Exercises 614

12.6 References 615

Chapter 13: Case Study 617

13.1 Case Study: The Red Whale 617

13.2 Comments 633

13.3 Additional Information 634

13.4 References 634

Appendix A: USE Method: Linux 637

Physical Resources 637

Software Resources 640

Reference 641

Appendix B: USE Method: Solaris 643

Physical Resources 643

Software Resources 646

References 647

Appendix C: sar Summary 649

Linux 649

Solaris 650

Appendix D: DTrace One-Liners 651

syscall Provider 651

proc Provider 655

profile Provider 655

sched Provider 657

fbt Provider 658

pid Provider 659

io Provider 660

sysinfo Provider 660

vminfo Provider 661

ip Provider 661

tcp provider 662

udp provider 663

Appendix E: DTrace to SystemTap 665

Functionality 665

Terminology 666

Probes 666

Built-in Variables 667

Functions 668

Example 1: Listing syscall Entry Probes 668

Example 2: Summarize read() Returned Size 668

Example 3: Count syscalls by Process Name 670

Example 4: Count syscalls by syscall Name, for Process ID 123 671

Example 5: Count syscalls by syscall Name, for "httpd" Processes 672

Example 6: Trace File open()s with Process Name and Path Name 672

Example 7: Summarize read() Latency for "mysqld" Processes 672

Example 8: Trace New Processes with Process Name and Arguments 673

Example 9: Sample Kernel Stacks at 100 Hz 674

References 674

Appendix F: Solutions to Selected Exercises 675

Chapter 2 Methodology 675

Chapter 3 Operating Systems 675

Chapter 6 CPUs 675

Chapter 7 Memory 676

Chapter 8 File Systems 676

Chapter 9 Disks 677

Chapter 11 Cloud Computing 677

Appendix G: Systems Performance Who's Who 679

Glossary 683

Bibliography 689

Index 697


Submit Errata

More Information

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020