Saturday Mar 01, 2008

DTrace Toolkit makes DTrace easier to use

As an OS Ambassador at Sun, I have spoken hundreds of times around the country about the Dynamic Tracing facility built in (no extra charge) to Solaris 10 since 2005 and part of the Open Solaris community.  I've described it as a "CAT Scan" into the system when we previously only used X-Ray.  I've said that this allows us to be good doctors (healing the sick) rather than coroners (diagnosing the dead).

Many customers, however, are put off by the programming language or 400 page manual that describes DTrace, however and therefore never really get started.  They don't always realize that we have enhanced PostgreSQL, Ruby, Java, PHP and other higher level languages to make good use of DTrace.  They haven't felt the power of being able to root cause any problem in their system.

While DTrace will never be an "Easy" or "Go Fast" button for your system, there are a number of tools that make it more palatable to the casual user.

Dtrace Toolkit

This collection of pre-written scripts provide some easy tools for collecting the type of data that  system administrators are starving for.

DExplorer

DExplorer automatically runs a collection of DTrace scripts to examine many areas of the system, and places the output in a meaningful directory structure that is tar'd and gzip'd.

Chime Visualization tool

Chime is a graphical tool for visualizing DTrace aggregations. It provides an alternative to similar CLI-based tools (such as intrstat) that is more visually appealing and potentially more useful. In particular, its ability to display data over time adds a missing dimension to system observability. Among its recent new features is the ability to display moving averages.

DTrace NetBeans GUI Plugin

Graphical User Interface (GUI) for running DTrace scripts that can be installed into the Sun Studio 12 IDE, NetBeans IDE 5.5, NetBeans IDE 5.5.1, and NetBeans IDE 6.0.

DTrace BidAdmin community

Includes a collection of tips, tricks, documentation and discussions on DTrace

Why should you care?

Want to be a hero?  Use DTrace to determine why your system isn't working properly.  Save you boss money.  Get more transaction through your systems.  We've done this at a number of customers on live, production systems and you can to.  Download the free DTrace Toolkit today and get started.

PS.  For those who think that System Tap in the Linux community is "just like DTrace," see Adam's rebuttal.

About

Jim Laurent is an Oracle Sales consultant based in Reston, Virginia. He supports US DoD customers as part of the North American Public Sector hardware organization. With over 17 years experience at Sun and Oracle, he specializes in Solaris and server technologies. Prior to Oracle, Jim worked 11 years for Gould Computer Systems (later known as Encore).

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