Platform Monitoring Basics


This is an organic document, meaning, that it will expand as need and request dictate. The purpose is to help establish a baseline understanding of terms used in Platform Monitoring, concepts described, and utilizations or capabilities comprehended.

Performance Monitoring Terminology


  • The percentage of time that a device is busy servicing requests
Utilization = Device Busy Time * 100
Total Time

  • The remaining percentage of time is idle time.
Idle time = (100 – Device Busy)


  • The fraction of time that is actually spent doing useful work
  • A system may incur a lot of overhead and other inefficiencies during the course of servicing requests
  • A high Utilization does not necessarily imply good efficiency

Latency (may also be referred to as Response Time)

  • Total time required to complete an action
  • Can be viewed as a cumulative sum of several latencies of subtasks


  • The amount of work that can be completed by the system per unit of time
  • There is usually an upper bound on how much work a system can complete per unit of time
  • Observed bandwidth is one measure of throughput


  • The number of work items that can be completed simultaneously such as threads, executables, etc.
  • Concurrency can be used to reduce effective latency and/or increase observed total throughput


  • Points of serialization that exist when work must wait for other work to be finished
  • It is the slowest parts of the system
  • The bottleneck eventually determines how much work a system can do per unit of time

Performance Concepts


  • The ability to execute multiple processes or programs on a single system
  • On systems with multiple processor, multi-processing will improve throughput


  • The number of execution paths in a program that can execute simultaneously
  • Systems that support multi-threading can improve individual application performance by overlapping high latency requests with execution


  • The relative improvement in performance that is obtained through a performance enhancement
  • Typically measured as a ration between a baseline measurement and an optimized measurement
Speed-Up = _Baseline Time_
Optimized Time

Speed-Up = Optimized Throughput
Baseline Throughput


  • The ability to increase performance by increasing numbers of resources (i.e., CPUs)
  • Commonly used with SMP systems to indicate the ability to take advantage of the multiple CPUs
  • Two possible metrics:
    • On a fixed workload, the relative improvements in performance with increasing CPUs
    • With a scalable workload, the ability to maintain performance with increasing workload and CPUs

Amdahl’s Law

  • The performance that can be gained by using a faster mode of execution is limited by the fraction of time that does not execute faster
Speed-Up = _1__ __
Sequential Time

  • Amdahl’s Law is used to determine the maximum potential speedups.
Speed-Up =  ______1_______
(1-Fraction Enhanced) + ____Fraction Enhanced______
Speed-Up of Fraction Enhanced

Little’s Equation

  • For a system in equilibrium, there is a relationship between # of tasks, arrival time and response time

# of Tasks in Service Queue = Arrival Rate * Response Time

  • # of Tasks = number of tasks in the system
  • Arrival Rate indicates the rate at which requests arrive at the system

When the rate at which requests leave a system is greater than the rate at which they arrive, the system is said to be stable, or at equilibrium, or at steady state.

  • Response Time is the mean time to complete task. It includes the time requests spent waiting for service, as well as time spent receiving service.
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