Powerful Linux performance tools that go underutilized

There are some powerful Linux performance tools available to system administrators -- the problem is knowing how to use them.

Many Linux performance tools are underutilized -- a big problem with powerful tools is knowing what to do with...


Are some Linux performance tools undervalued by system administrators?

On Linux, there are some obscure performance tools like pchar -- which characterizes bandwidth, latency and loss of links -- and less obscure but still undervalued ones like pidstat -- which monitors individual tasks that are managed by the Linux kernel.

The most undervalued tool is Linux perf_events, which does static and dynamic tracing. If you browse all the documentation you can find on perf_events, you're probably still only finding 1% of its capabilities.

Other Linux tracing tools are related to perf_events. A very promising one, ktap, is still in development, but may enter the mainline Linux tree.

In Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud, I document new methodologies for approaching performance, which leads to needs and uses of those tools.

This was first published in July 2014

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Brendan Gregg, author, Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud asks:

Have you ever used any of these undervalued Linux tools?

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