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Solaris Performance Primer

Solaris Performance Primer

This chapter describes some freely available Solaris performance monitoring tools from the Tools CD and the DTrace toolkit.

This chapter will help the impatient ones who want to solve 90% of the day-to-day performance issues without long studies by using some key tools like perfbar or netbar. Being able to scale quickly is pivotal in the web age where the load can grow by an order of magnitude overnight. This chapter is organized as follows:

  • Explore Your System – What are the features and limits of your system? How to analyze your Solaris installation, patches, and so on. Quantify the abilities of your hardware: How many processors, disks, memory, etc. do you have?

  • System Utilization – What is your system actually doing? Checking out your processes, top users, resource consumption. Understanding your system utilization.

  • Process Introspection – What is your process doing? Tools for process introspection. Learn which files are being used, which libraries are being loaded, which call stacks you're currently using, etc.

  • Process Monitoring With prstat – Monitoring the processes and threads in projects and zones with prstat.

  • Understanding I/O – Understand your IO: Who is writing how to where? How is the disk subsystem doing?

  • Understanding the Network – Understanding network traffic: Which network interface is working how hard? Is your interface overloaded? And so on.

  • Tracing Running Applications – Tracing at large: How to get information about current system call. How to use DTrace to answer common questions like: Who is writing to which file right now?

These sections will hopefully answer the most common performance questions with standard tools available for the Solaris OS.

Other sites which have Solaris Performance related information are:

  • The ones who are interested in a more complete (and professional) resource may want to consider Darryl Gove's book Solaris Application Programming. A great chapter detailing the system tools is available for free online.

  • Solaris Internals wiki : A comprehensive wiki with available tools and best practise documents.

  • Solaris Performance and Tools: a book by Richard McDougall, Jim Mauro and Brendan Gregg from July 2006.

    This chapter was created by Thomas Bastian, a performance tuning specialist who gained his knowledge through many performance projects with the key software partners in EMEA from Sun Microsystems


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