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DTrace: Dynamic Tracing in Oracle Solaris, Mac OS X and FreeBSD (Oracle Solaris Series) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0132091510 ISBN-10: 0132091518 Edition: 1st

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DTrace: Dynamic Tracing in Oracle Solaris, Mac OS X and FreeBSD (Oracle Solaris Series) + Solaris Performance and Tools: DTrace and MDB Techniques for Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris + Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud
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Product Details

  • Series: Oracle Solaris Series
  • Paperback: 1152 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (April 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132091518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132091510
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brendan Gregg is a performance specialist at Joyent and is known worldwide in the field of DTrace. Brendan created and developed the DTraceToolkit and is the coauthor of SolarisTM Performance and Tools (Prentice Hall, 2006) as well as numerous articles about DTrace. Many of Brendan's DTrace scripts are shipped by default in Mac OS X.


Jim Mauro is a senior software engineer for Oracle Corporation, working in the Systems group with a primary focus on systems performance. Jim has 30 years of experience in the computer industry and coauthored SolarisTM Performance and Tools and the first and second editions of SolarisTM Internals (Sun Microsystems Press, 2000, and Prentice Hall, 2006).

More About the Author

Brendan Gregg is the lead performance engineer at Joyent, where he analyzes performance and scalability for small to large cloud computing environments, at any level of the software stack, down to metal. He is the author of the upcoming book "Systems Performance" (Prentice Hall, 2013), the primary author of "DTrace" (Prentice Hall, 2011), and co-author of "Solaris Performance and Tools" (Prentice Hall, 2006), and well as numerous articles about systems performance. He was previously a performance lead and kernel engineer at Sun Microsystems and later Oracle, and led the performance efforts for the world's frst ZFS-based storage appliance, helping make it the fastest product of its class. This work included performance analysis and tuning while working with Sun's top performance experts and kernel engineers to improve the performance of the product and the Solaris kernel. He previously worked as a performance consultant and instructor, and has taught classes worldwide including authoring and delivering his own workshops. He has invented and developed numerous advanced performance analysis tools, methodologies, and visualizations. Many of his tools, especially DTrace scripts, are shipped by default in Mac OS X, Oracle Solaris 11, and are used by other performance analysis products. He also created and developed the DTraceToolkit, and developed the ZFS L2ARC - a pioneering performance technology which uses flash memory as a second level cache, after main memory. His recent work has included new performance methodologies and visualizations for illumos and Linux kernel analysis. Born in Australia and later working in the Asia Pacific region, he has lived in the US since 2006.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This is a must-read book if you plan to use DTrace for your needs.
The book includes several valuable appendices on Dtrace Tunable Variables, D Language Reference, Provider Arguments, etc.
Darrin Johnson
It is brisk and every concept has an example making it extremely accessable.
B. Rockwood

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By B. Rockwood on April 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
Its finally here, the great masterpiece. This books completes what "Solaris Performance & Tools" started. This new book focuses entirely on DTrace and is really several books rolled into one.

Part I gives you a complete DTrace Textbook. It breaks down the language and introduces you all the foundational concepts. It is brisk and every concept has an example making it extremely accessable.

Part II is the combination of several runbooks and a collection of cookbooks. For CPU, I/O, network, etc there is the same methodical systematic approach to exposing problems that we got in "Performance & Tools" but vastly expanded. After hitting all the fundamental resources it breaks down into various programming languages, databases, applications and daemons.

The true value of this book is here in Part II. You may know that you have a certain kind of problem, and you know that DTrace can probly find it for you, but you don't know where to start and in what order to proceed. If you do it on your own you may quickly find yourself overwhelmed and lost in the labyrinth that is the Solaris kernel. This is why the methodical approach Jim and Brendan take is so important, you really don't need to know anything more than you need to dig into some broad problem and the text leads you down the path of elimination and analysis step-by-step.

Part III hits tools, tips, and security. Learn how to spy on users, audit activity, use Apple Instruments or DTrace in NetBeans and lots more. Chapter 13 on tools is a great way to learn about all those tools out there that you may have heard of but aren't familiar with, or even introduce you to new toys you didn't know existed.

But thats not all...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peter B. Galvin on September 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
B Rockwood provides an excellent review of the book and there is not much to add beyond that. If you are interested in the state-of-the-art of system analysis / performance analysis and the DTrace tool that provides unprecedented levels of information available in these areas, then this is a must-have book. Highly recommended!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By MR DOMINIC A KAY on April 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
Any jobbing performance analyst, system administrator or developer who wishes to move to the next level should get this book and write their name on it in thick marker - or else it will walk.
Although the book is aimed at the professional, the student and teacher of operating systems are also firmly in its sights. Expect this book to appear on CS courses, twinned with the appropriate - MacOS X, BSD or Solaris, Internals book. The latter not un-coincidentally comes from the hand of one of the co-authors of this work.
There is sufficient introductory material in here that the reader can grasp the language of Dtrace without Reading The Fine Manuals but the real value of this text lies in the examples and especially the one-liners. Anyone who has read the original AWK book - an old masterpiece that crescendos from workaday one-line tools to complete compilers and graph generators - will have the flavor of this work. Each OS subsystem is examined in turn by way of one-liner triage and then subjected to more involved analysis.
The other great strength of the book is that it dispels the myth that Dtrace is just for systems folks and not application developers. There are several chapters dealing with the inspection of running applications - both those for which you have the source and those you don't. The words "hackers bible" never passed my lips ;-)
Its evident from reading it that this book was a work of passion for its authors, distilled from their daily concerns as systems performance experts and evangelists. I am grateful they have spread the Good News.
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18 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Michael Ernest on July 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
The last book I tried to use while at my computer was the first edition of the O'Reilly behemoth UNIX Power Tools, a small phone book in both page count and page quality. Working through a very large book of very many items front to back, as I did, might seem like a fool's errand. But Power Tools was, and in its third edition must still be, a tirelessly, relentlessly cross-referenced work. I was impressed by the vigor and care its contributors applied to relate so many points of information to each other. Moreover, I was struck by the implication that I could follow suit. It was a breath of encouragement I was grateful to receive, as I wanted to grow into power user status myself. It was also a gift I think about paying forward when I teach. Like when someone again runs off with my current copy, but in a way that doesn't stress the trust I place in my colleagues.

This book on DTrace, a technology for tracing process and operating system behavior, is also quite thick, and filled with many bits of information, hard-won from examining many dark areas of system and process code. The book is, in turns, a meandering journal, a breathless mash-up of contributions, a collection of clipped, man page-style narratives, and a dry series of code and output blocks the authors sometimes deem self-evident. Some clues, such as an oft-repeated warning that the fbt provider is unstable, suggest the book was built by force of compilation alone, with little interest in supporting a read-through, much less a systematic view of the content.

It is however a formidable cache, quite possibly including every DTrace program of general consequence written in the last few years.
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