System Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: February 2002
Pages: 352

System Performance Tuning answers one of the most fundamental questions you can ask about your computer: How can I get it to do more work without buying more hardware? In the current economic downturn, performance tuning takes on a new importance. It allows system administrators to make the best use of existing systems and minimize the purchase of new equipment. Well-tuned systems save money and time that would otherwise be wasted dealing with slowdowns and errors. Performance tuning always involves compromises; unless system administrators know what the compromises are, they can't make intelligent decisions.

Tuning is an essential skill for system administrators who face the problem of adapting the speed of a computer system to the speed requirements imposed by the real world. It requires a detailed understanding of the inner workings of the computer and its architecture. System Performance Tuning covers two distinct areas: performance tuning, or the art of increasing performance for a specific application, and capacity planning, or deciding what hardware best fulfills a given role. Underpinning both subjects is the science of computer architecture. This book focuses on the operating system, the underlying hardware, and their interactions. Topics covered include:

  • Real and perceived performance problems, introducing capacity planning and performance monitoring (highlighting their strengths and weaknesses).
  • An integrated description of all the major tools at a system administrator's disposal for tracking down system performance problems.
  • Background on modern memory handling techniques, including the memory-caching filesystem implementations in Solaris and AIX. Updated sections on memory conservation and computing memory requirements.
  • In depth discussion of disk interfaces, bandwidth capacity considerations, and RAID systems.
  • Comprehensive discussion of NFS and greatly expanded discussion of networking.
  • Workload management and code tuning.
  • Special topics such as tuning Web servers for various types of content delivery and developments in cross-machine parallel computing

For system administrators who want a hands-on introduction to system performance, this is the book to recommend.

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O'Reilly MediaSystem Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition
 
4.5

(based on 4 reviews)

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

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By Geoff

from Pasadena, CA

Verified Reviewer

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      Comments about O'Reilly Media System Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition:

      This is an excellent book, but, ten years later, it's now woefully out-of-date. It has a heavy emphasis on Solaris, whose use is in steep decline. Many of the technologies (SCSI, SBus) are obsolete. Other technologies (SSD, SATA, SAS) were not practicable at the time. There are still useful sections, but it's up to the reader to work out what parts are no longer applicable.

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      System Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition Review

      By Jean-Paul Monier

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about O'Reilly Media System Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition:

      This book is again one of the "must have" from O'Reilly.

      The title should have been something like "Understanding your system to tune it" because a contrary to many tuning books it does not only gives you some solutions but also (and this is where this book is really above average)makes you understand why your system behaves like it does.

      As written on the back cover most of the discussion here concerns Solaris/Sparc although most of the principles can be applied to other unix flavours [One noticeable exception concerns the Solaris Kernel tunables, but perhaps the third editions will cover Solaris, Linux, HP-UX, FreeBSD, NetBSD ;-) ]

      If you want an in depth coverage of memory/disk/cpu/network behaviour buy this book, you will not regret it.

      (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      System Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition Review

      By Benny

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about O'Reilly Media System Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition:

      Well, I've read many an O'reilly book but this one is truly amongst the best of the best.

      If Solaris is your flavour of Unix and your hardware is SPARC then this book is for you (even if you're not after Performance Tuning as such but just want to learn more about the internals of the hardware and the OS).

      If you only use Linux on Intel then this book may disappoint because it truly is written for real sysadmins using a real OS on real hardware ;-)

      (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      System Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition Review

      By Adrian Lawson

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about O'Reilly Media System Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition:

      This book saved my bacon (cookies?) at a Solaris site.

      As it says on the cover, it's biased towards Solaris(8) and Linux. It tells you how to configure the various critical resources (i.e. processors, memory, page and swap, disk, RAID etc.) and most importantly, it tells you why you're doing it. The authors also encourage you to use the book as a start point and and experiment with resource configuration to find out what works best for a given workload. There is also a lot of underlying information about processors, memory and interfaces (IDE and SCSI) that is very useful. The Linux info is good too but this edition doesn't cover Solaris 9. This isn't a problem because for performance/tuning purposes, there isn't much difference between Sol 8 and 9).

      I haven't given it a definitive rating because with performance tuning, there is no such thing as definitive. But it's close.

      A great book and highly recommended. Many thanks to the authors.

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