Workshop: Mastering Linux Performance Tools



9:00am - 4:00pm


  • experience with Linux development or administration
  • bring a laptop with a modern browser -- hands-on labs will be performed through the browser

All kinds of applications run on Linux, from web servers to distributed database engines and embedded applications. Troubleshooting performance in the field, especially when invasive profilers can't be used, is a delicate art that requires a solid understanding of the system and low-overhead tools. In this workshop, we will visit a spectrum of Linux performance monitoring tools.

We will start with a simple performance checklist based on the USE method, including tools like top, iostat, vmstat, mpstat, sar, and others. Then, once we identify the overloaded resource, we will dig in deeper using perf: tracepoints, hardware events, dynamic probes, and USDT. We will also collect stack traces of heavy events (CPU usage, disk accesses, network) and visualize them using flame graphs.

Finally, we will discuss the emerging superpower for Linux performance monitoring: BPF and BCC. This is a new kernel technology that enables low-overhead, super-efficient monitoring and tracing tools, which perform aggregation closer to the source where the events occur and provide useful information at a fraction of the cost. We will review a performance checklist based on BCC tools, and explore one-liners from the general-purpose trace and argdist tools.


  • Performance metrics and the USE method
  • Performance checklist based on simple, single-purpose monitoring tools
  • Linux performance information sources
  • Linux perf, CPU sampling
  • Resolving stack symbols with debuginfo
  • Visualizing stack samples with flame graphs
  • Kprobes and uprobes for disk, network, and database monitoring
  • Attaching to probe events with perf and perf-tools
  • Introduction to BPF
  • BPF scenarios and the BCC toolkit
  • Dedicated BCC tools
  • General-purpose BCC tools

Speaker: Sasha Goldshtein

CTO of Sela Group, a Microsoft MVP and Regional Director

Sasha Goldshtein is the CTO of Sela Group, a Microsoft MVP and Regional Director, Pluralsight and O'Reilly author, and international consultant and trainer. Sasha is the author of two books and multiple online courses, and a prolific blogger. He is also an active open source contributor to projects focused on system diagnostics, performance monitoring, and tracing -- across multiple operating systems and runtimes. Sasha authored and delivered training courses on Linux performance optimization, event tracing, production debugging, mobile application development, and modern C++. Between his consulting engagements, Sasha speaks at international conferences world-wide.

Find Sasha Goldshtein at

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