Wednesday Dec 01, 2010


So the spot user's guide has been added to the Solaris Studio 12.2 documentation. There's also another collection of older articles.

Wednesday Mar 18, 2009

Sun Studio 12 Update 1 Early Access programme

We've just released Sun Studio Express 03/09. We're also using this release to start the Sun Studio 12 Update 1 Early Access Programme.

There are a bunch of new features in Sun Studio 12 Update 1 - you should be familiar with these if you've already been using the Express releases, but if you're coming from Sun Studio 12, there's much to recommend the new release. Top of my list are the following:

  • spot is finally integrated into the suite - please try it out and let me know how it works out for you.
  • The Performance Analyzer has support for MPI profiling
  • Full support for OpenMP 3.0

If you join the Early Access programme, we'll be listening out in case you hit any bugs, or have any suggestions for improvements. There's a forum for posting questions for the duration of the EA programme.

There's also a number of incentives for registering.

Wednesday Jul 30, 2008

Sun Studio Express release

I don't normally talk about Sun Studio Express releases, but this release is important for two reasons.

First of all it's the first release that includes spot. It's a really good feeling to finally get spot into the compiler suite, I've been using it and working on it for probably about six years. Over that time it's proved to be incredibly useful both in terms of productivity (it's easy to gather a spot report and then view it through a browser from home), and in terms of catching performance issues that we might otherwise have missed. Distributing it as a cooltool has been very successful, quite a large number of people have downloaded it, but it's going to be so much more accessible to people when available as part of Sun Studio.

The other really big event is the support of OpenMP 3.0. I believe that Sun Studio is the first compiler to support the new standard! OpenMP 3.0 should make it very easy to parallelise a wide range of applications - no longer just loop based apps. Yuan Lin has put up a wiki page to help get people started with tasks.

There's actually a significant number of other features in this release, it's a pretty major rev.

Monday Jun 23, 2008

SPOT user guide up on

The spot user guide is now up on the Sun Studio technical articles collection. It's available as both html and pdf. This is of course in addition to the pdf version up on the cooltools site.

Monday Jan 28, 2008

Sample chapter from Solaris Application Programming available

There's a sample chapter from my book up on

It's chapter 4 which is the chapter which discusses the tools that come with Solaris and Sun Studio. The chapter exists because I find that there are some tools that I use every day, and some tools that I might touch once a month, and some that I use even more rarely. The problems I hit are:

  • What was the name of the tool which ....?
  • What are the command line options to ...?
  • Is there a tool to ....?

Obviously I hit the third problem very infrequently, but I'm sometimes surprised when I discover a tool which I'd previously never heard of which just happens to do exactly what I need. Anyway I hope you find the chapter useful. It's one of my two solutions to this problem.

The other solution is spot which attempts to collect all the data that you routinely need for performance analysis of an application. So it calls the other tools - so you don't need to know the commandlines, or the names of the tools. One of the things that should be noticeable with spot is that it has few commandline options. I was hoping that we'd end up with none, but some are inevitable; but those are really house-keeping options (where to put the report, what to call it). There's only -X which generates an extended report, given the time it can take to get the data, it seemed appropriate to do the high value stuff quickly with an option for the tool to take a longer time when the user specified that it was ok.

Wednesday Nov 28, 2007

CMT Developer Tools webcast

I've just had another webcast posted. This time it's discussing the CMT Developer Tools. The tools are add-ons for both Sun Studio 11 and Sun Studio 12. Of particular excitement was getting two of the tools ported to x64. There's a bit more information on the individual tools on my post back in July when we released them.

The CMT Developer Tools webcast covers installing and using the tools. The presentation is part slideware and part demo.

Thursday Nov 08, 2007

Cool Tools platform matrix

A matrix showing the platforms that the various cool tools are available on.

GCC for SPARC SystemsYES
Sun Studio 12YESYESYES
Sun Application Porting AssistantYESYES
Thread AnalyzerYESYESYES
Cool TunerYES
Cool StackYESYES
Consolidation ToolYESYESYES

Tuesday Jul 24, 2007

CMT Developer Tools

We've just released the CMT Developer Tools for Sun Studio 12. The tools are available for both SPARC and x64 systems, although not all tools are on the x64 platform. The list of tools is as follows:

  • ATS - Automatic Tuning and Troubleshooting System. Automatically finds the best compiler flags or locates optimisation bugs in an application without access to the source code. (SPARC and x64)
  • SPOT - Simple Performance Optimisation Tool. Generates an html report detailing where the application is spending time, and information about why it might be spending time there.(SPARC and x64)
  • BIT - Binary Improvement Tool. Reports information about application coverage also produces instruction execution counts, branch taken data etc. (SPARC only)
  • Discover - Sun Memory Error Discovery Tool. Detects memory access issues such in an application. Examples are accesses to uninitialised memory, accesses beyond array bounds, memory leaks, etc. (SPARC only)

Darryl Gove is a senior engineer in the Solaris Studio team, working on optimising applications and benchmarks for current and future processors. He is also the author of the books:
Multicore Application Programming
Solaris Application Programming
The Developer's Edge
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The Developer's Edge
Solaris Application Programming
OpenSPARC Book
Multicore Application Programming