ServersTip of the Trade: FileBench

Tip of the Trade: FileBench

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Solaris continues to deliver sophisticated diagnostic and testing utilities. It’s latest tool is a significantly-overhauled FileBench. FileBench is a filesystem testing framework like no other. The comprehensive and customizable framework measures and compares file system performance on Solaris.

Push Solaris filesystem testing to the limit with FileBench, a comprehensive and customizable framework that measures and compares file system performance.

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Need a Definition?

FileBench lets you create realistic profiles, or configurations, that emulate the real-world behavior of your own applications. It enables you to stress-test and realistically benchmark systems. FileBench comes with a batch of prefab profiles for various servers and functions, such as mail, Web, and fileservers, and tasks such as reading, writing, copying and deleting files. For admins on simple setups this may be enough.

The real power of FileBench, however, comes through in its adaptability. One way to use it is to make a few runs using profiles that match a particular server and application set, and create your own custom benchmarks. Then, run those benchmarks on different systems or tweak the profiles to figure out your optimal configuration. You can make direct comparisons of different degrees of caching, tweaking disk I/O, memory management, CPU tuning, application tuning and so forth.

FileBench comes with its own language, .f, for creating profiles. Don’t worry, .f isn’t complex or weird. It is a clean, straightforward language that is easily picked up. Here’s an example from the Quickstart guide:

        runtime = 120;         dir = /tmp;         stats = /tmp;         filesystem = tmpfs;         description = "fileio tmpfs"; } CONFIG seqread1m {
        function = generic;         personality = multistreamread;         filesize = 40g;         iosize = 1m; }

Many things are obvious even when you know nothing about .f, like directories, filesystems and how long to run the test.

When the run is complete, FileBench generates pretty color-coded HTML pages showing the results. Visit FileBench: File System Microbenchmarks for tutorials and help.

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