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Performance Analysis Tools for Linux Developers: Part 1

Oct 20, 2009, 22:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mark Gray, Julien Carreno)

"In Part 1 of this article, we summarize some of the performance tools available to Linux developers on Intel architecture. In Part 2 we cover a set of standard performance profiling and analysis goals and scenarios that demonstrate what tool or combination of tools to select for each scenario. In some scenarios, the depth of analysis is also a determining factor in selecting the tool required. With increasingly deeper levels of investigation, we need to change tools to get the increased level of detail and focus from them. This is similar to using a microscope with different magnification lenses. We start from the smallest magnification and gradually increase magnification as we focus on a specific area. top and ps

"The top and ps commands are freely available on all Linux distributions and are generally installed by default. The ps command provides an instantaneous snapshot of system activity on a per-thread basis, whereas the top command provides mostly the same information as ps updated at defined intervals, which can be as small as hundredths of a second. They are frequently overlooked as tools for understanding process performance at a system level. For example, most users tend to use the ps -ef command only to check which processes are currently executing. However, ps can also print useful information such as resident set size or number of page faults for a process. A thorough examination of the ps man pages reveals these options. Likewise, top can also display all this information in various formats while updating it in real-time. The top command window also displays summary information at the top of the window on a per-CPU basis."

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