Book Review of “Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud” by Brendan Gregg


I have just finished reading Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud by Brendan Gregg.

As expected, this book is primarily for the Linux or Solaris System Administrators. But, I found it very useful in understanding how to measure and diagnose issues with CPU, memory, storage, and networking.

Gregg promotes his USE methodology for investigating performance issues:

  • Utilisation—how much of a resource is being used?
  • Saturation—is the resource fully utilised?
  • Errors—are there errors concerning the resource? Some resource managers fail requests rather than queue them

He provides a whole chapter on how he solved a difficult performance problem through the use of this method.

Gregg also covers benchmarking:

Benchmarking is surprisingly difficult to do well, with many opportunities for mistakes and oversights.

Gregg is a big fan of dtrace and provides numerous scripts throughout the book, and in the appendix.

I will have to read the book again sometime soon in order to pick more ideas about performance tuning and diagnosis.

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