Some Comments on the LF End User Summit
By Elena on Nov 17, 2009
On November 9 and 10 I attended the Linux Foundation End User Summit in Jersey City. Ted Tso and I organized a mini session about tracing in Linux. We had Steve Rostedt talking about ftrace, and Subendhu Ghosh from RedHat talk about the perf events subystem. The session was on Tuesday afternoon, and I'd say that aside from Christoph Hellwig talk about KVM it was the most crowded session. It was nice that both Jon Corbet in his Kernel Report talk that morning, and James Bottomley in his panel the day before mentioned tracing and our session as something "hot" to follow. The Ftrace talk consited of an introduction to Ftrace, and a few demos. The audience was mostly of Wall Street type people, who are still using old versions of enterprise products, so the don't really know what has happened in the meantime to the upstream. Ftrace has been around for a while, a couple of years, but perf events is newer, and many people didn't know what it was. There was a little demo of that as well. While talking about perf events, somebody (hch, IIRC) mentioned the new tool that Arjan built on top of perf events, called "timechart". It's a tool that spits out a graphical view of the time your system is spending doing various things. http://blog.fenrus.org/?p=5.
Perf events is in Fedora 12 and so is ftrace. The timechart thing is only in mainline now.
Slides from Steve's talk are on Steve's page: http://people.redhat.com/srostedt
Besides this tracing session there was a talk done by Sergio Leunissen from my same Oracle Linux team, on OLT (Oracle Linux Testkit) and Validated Configurations and how that is helping us stabilize OEL for enterprise loads. The talk went well, the audience asked lots of questions about OLT and VC. Also were happy to see the oracle-validated RPM that we ship.
The other talk I attended on the second day was the filesystem recap by Ric Wheeler. Nothing new here, just a summary of all the things that have happened to the various FS in linux during the last year or so. It was nice that Ric mentioned Oracle and the FS folks by name (thanks Ric! ). So Chris, Martin, Jens, Chuck got honorable mentions. In general the amount of work that Oracle is doing in this space is still a bit unknown, since several people in the audience expressed surprise to see Oracle so involved in Linux.
On the first day there were no deep technical talk or separate sessions. Of the plenary sessions, an interesting one was the one by IDC about the Linux market share. While Windows keeps dominating the server side, Linux is increasing, and apparently Unix is not going away any time soon. The investment in Unix seems to still be fairly solid.
I also attended a session discussing how kernel interfaces should keep up with the times. In particular as examples there was mention of SSDs and SSSs which are going to be mainstream soon. Some complaint about epoll. Also mentioned were the interfaces for sending messages to multiple recipients, with suggestions that the calls there should be vectorized to speed up processing of messages. It's interesting that a very similar debate was going on almost simultaneously on the linux-raid mailing list, here.
Jens Axboe, also in the Oracle Linux Team, has done some work on per-bdi writeback threads, see his slides from the Linux Plumber's conference here.
Another good overview from the NYSE (Brian Clark) talked about what they focus on in their IT infrastructure.
I think this is about it.