A conversation with Sun’s DTrace team

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/07/PID_011802/Podtech_SUN_DTrace.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/scobleshow/technology/1557/for-developers-a-conversation-with-suns-dtrace-team&totalTime=1772000&breadcrumb=91d07af2711249fd933c6645801e4bdd]

For developers. Mostly.

Sun Microsystems’ DTrace lets developers look at Web systems holistically. Across multitudes of machines sitting in random datacenters. Anyway, I kept hearing about it from various developers I trust and on the Web people praise it so I wanted to meet the team who did it.

Here’s the video with the three guys who created DTrace. Hope you enjoy this fun conversation.

You can watch this on your new iPhone, too.

I love this conversation. It’s so nice to meet the geeks behind big-company stuff and just listen to them talk for 30 minutes.

And with this I’m taking off for the Fourth of July, hope you have a good day, see you back on Thursday!

24 thoughts on “A conversation with Sun’s DTrace team

  1. DTrace is part of the kernel, its more than just a syscall tracker/filter, it put a probe just about anywhere in the kernel or user space.

  2. DTrace is part of the kernel, its more than just a syscall tracker/filter, it put a probe just about anywhere in the kernel or user space.

  3. There is nothing like DTrace made by anyone on any platform currently in use today. Some Linux utility can’t compete.

  4. There is nothing like DTrace made by anyone on any platform currently in use today. Some Linux utility can’t compete.

  5. DTrace is a very great piece of software. Without this tool, the world would be different ;-)

    Thank you guys for make the hard work!!

    Now we should write nice D scripts for all!!

    http://docs.sun.com and googling for dtrace pdfs are your best friends.

  6. DTrace is a very great piece of software. Without this tool, the world would be different ;-)

    Thank you guys for make the hard work!!

    Now we should write nice D scripts for all!!

    http://docs.sun.com and googling for dtrace pdfs are your best friends.

  7. DTrace is part of the kernel, its more than just a syscall tracker/filter, it put a probe just about anywhere in the kernel or user space.

    Yes Syscalls are one type of probe, but it can also probe 99.9% of all functions inside the kernel, it can probe 100% of code in user land. It can also probe higher level stuff like, when the kernel flushes a piece of cached data to the harddisk, or when a packet arrives over the network, these last two events are not syscall related.

    You don’t need to recompile your programs or your code to use DTrace, if you want to add probes to your own code, like you want it possible to inform DTrace of a high level event such as your application completed chunk of work, you will need to recompile your code.

    Here are some links that give you more details about DTrace, and what you are missing.

    http://uadmin.blogspot.com/2006/05/what-is-dtrace.html
    http://uadmin.blogspot.com/2005/01/tips-for-dtrace.html
    http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/content/dtrace/

  8. DTrace is part of the kernel, its more than just a syscall tracker/filter, it put a probe just about anywhere in the kernel or user space.

    Yes Syscalls are one type of probe, but it can also probe 99.9% of all functions inside the kernel, it can probe 100% of code in user land. It can also probe higher level stuff like, when the kernel flushes a piece of cached data to the harddisk, or when a packet arrives over the network, these last two events are not syscall related.

    You don’t need to recompile your programs or your code to use DTrace, if you want to add probes to your own code, like you want it possible to inform DTrace of a high level event such as your application completed chunk of work, you will need to recompile your code.

    Here are some links that give you more details about DTrace, and what you are missing.

    http://uadmin.blogspot.com/2006/05/what-is-dtrace.html
    http://uadmin.blogspot.com/2005/01/tips-for-dtrace.html
    http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/content/dtrace/

  9. Chris – are you building that new server yourself from parts (it looks like it’s in bits)?

    How are you costing your time to assemble it, test it for reliability etc? How are you costing your time to support it if you have a hardware failure? How are you factoring in the power and cooling efficiency of your server design, compared to pre-built servers? Does your approach scale for your business? For example, if your business grows and you need twenty servers like this, or fifty, do you have enough spare labour available to build and support the hardware?

    I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with building your own computers (these days, it’s really an easy thing to do). However, buying servers from a large specialist company (Sun, HP etc) often works out cheaper in terms of: a) total direct cost of ownership; and b) opportunity costs – could you spend your time doing something more valuable than assembling hardware?

    In fact, it’s often the case that even buying ready-made servers and then putting them in the rack yourself and wiring them up isn’t worth doing. That is – buying a complete pre-built rack full of servers, and having it delivered, is often the lowest cost route overall.

    Obviously, the next step on from this is buying pre-made data centers, and having those delivered ready to go e.g. Sun’s Project Black Box.

    Enough about hardware though. On a Solaris note, I’m not sure why you conflate Solaris with buying Sun’s hardware. You can run Solaris on lots of hardware… and it often costs less to buy support for Solaris than it costs to buy support for leading Linux distributions. And if you don’t need OS support, Solaris costs zero dollars – it’s a free download.

    Sun is actually a pretty interesting company – they offer huge amounts of value to their customers. Yes, they have problems that they need to address… and yes, some parts of their offering have gaps they need to fill. However, there’s a huge amount of value that businesses can already get from Sun’s substantial R&D budget.

    I’m not saying all this applies to you or your business Chris; but I see a lot of people running start-ups that know the price of almost everything, and the value of almost nothing…

  10. Chris – are you building that new server yourself from parts (it looks like it’s in bits)?

    How are you costing your time to assemble it, test it for reliability etc? How are you costing your time to support it if you have a hardware failure? How are you factoring in the power and cooling efficiency of your server design, compared to pre-built servers? Does your approach scale for your business? For example, if your business grows and you need twenty servers like this, or fifty, do you have enough spare labour available to build and support the hardware?

    I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with building your own computers (these days, it’s really an easy thing to do). However, buying servers from a large specialist company (Sun, HP etc) often works out cheaper in terms of: a) total direct cost of ownership; and b) opportunity costs – could you spend your time doing something more valuable than assembling hardware?

    In fact, it’s often the case that even buying ready-made servers and then putting them in the rack yourself and wiring them up isn’t worth doing. That is – buying a complete pre-built rack full of servers, and having it delivered, is often the lowest cost route overall.

    Obviously, the next step on from this is buying pre-made data centers, and having those delivered ready to go e.g. Sun’s Project Black Box.

    Enough about hardware though. On a Solaris note, I’m not sure why you conflate Solaris with buying Sun’s hardware. You can run Solaris on lots of hardware… and it often costs less to buy support for Solaris than it costs to buy support for leading Linux distributions. And if you don’t need OS support, Solaris costs zero dollars – it’s a free download.

    Sun is actually a pretty interesting company – they offer huge amounts of value to their customers. Yes, they have problems that they need to address… and yes, some parts of their offering have gaps they need to fill. However, there’s a huge amount of value that businesses can already get from Sun’s substantial R&D budget.

    I’m not saying all this applies to you or your business Chris; but I see a lot of people running start-ups that know the price of almost everything, and the value of almost nothing…

  11. I also want to let the dtrace guys know:
    http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/xperts/sessions/13_dtrace/#3

    I was reading through the FAQ on dtrace and noticed a bad typo
    “Q: What will DTrace allow me to do?

    A: Some example usages include: ”

    “rite reusable scripts for common or complex routines”
    “rite” should be “write”

    I guess it says you don’t need to recompile the binaries, so I suppose dtrace was written into the kernel as a call hook. I guess it’s ok, but I’m pretty used to the RH and GNU tools. I honestly didn’t even try dtrace for the whole year I had Solaris 10 on the Netra 20. I prefer Linux 100/1

  12. I also want to let the dtrace guys know:
    http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/xperts/sessions/13_dtrace/#3

    I was reading through the FAQ on dtrace and noticed a bad typo
    “Q: What will DTrace allow me to do?

    A: Some example usages include: ”

    “rite reusable scripts for common or complex routines”
    “rite” should be “write”

    I guess it says you don’t need to recompile the binaries, so I suppose dtrace was written into the kernel as a call hook. I guess it’s ok, but I’m pretty used to the RH and GNU tools. I honestly didn’t even try dtrace for the whole year I had Solaris 10 on the Netra 20. I prefer Linux 100/1

  13. When are we going to see the video interview that you or Gillmor did with Bill Atkinson while waiting for the iPhone ???.

  14. When are we going to see the video interview that you or Gillmor did with Bill Atkinson while waiting for the iPhone ???.

  15. [ot]
    Something wrong with accessing the direct urls of your posts – it keeps redirecting to wordpress.com back and forth to your page and your post does not get loaded. I am seeing it for second time (it happened with your http://tinyurl.com/ypmlra ) am using Firefox, fyi.
    If i directly access scobleizer.com then it is fine.

  16. [ot]
    Something wrong with accessing the direct urls of your posts – it keeps redirecting to wordpress.com back and forth to your page and your post does not get loaded. I am seeing it for second time (it happened with your http://tinyurl.com/ypmlra ) am using Firefox, fyi.
    If i directly access scobleizer.com then it is fine.

  17. I’m familiar with gdb and Linux. I have reluctantly used solaris on a Netra 20, I happily got rid of.

    DTrace looks to me like a syscall filter such as SELinux but instead of preventing stack frame calls according to policies, it simply traces them according to scripted rules.
    http://www.brendangregg.com/DTrace/dtrace_oneliners.txt

    If it’s not then you would have to recompile all the binaries you want to trace to use it as an API against the kernel(something like /usr/lib/dtrace.so), and that would just be a total pain.

    Something like SoftICE for Unix/Linux would be way better.
    Keep trying, and tone down the price on your hardware.

    http://www.beercosoftware.com/newserver/p2.jpg
    1.5TB, 2GB ram, 3.2Ghz Dual Core intel all for under 1k.
    All from TigerDirect.ca and no customs charges because it’s from Toronto Ontario.
    It beats the living crapola out of the Netras for sure.
    http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&viewitem=&item=120105603303
    I hate to blast Sun but my Netra 20 lost 10,000% value in less than a year from 2006 to 2007 sinking from 2k to 300 bucks. I’m leaving Solaris and Sun to the only people who can play at that rate. Telecom.

  18. I’m familiar with gdb and Linux. I have reluctantly used solaris on a Netra 20, I happily got rid of.

    DTrace looks to me like a syscall filter such as SELinux but instead of preventing stack frame calls according to policies, it simply traces them according to scripted rules.
    http://www.brendangregg.com/DTrace/dtrace_oneliners.txt

    If it’s not then you would have to recompile all the binaries you want to trace to use it as an API against the kernel(something like /usr/lib/dtrace.so), and that would just be a total pain.

    Something like SoftICE for Unix/Linux would be way better.
    Keep trying, and tone down the price on your hardware.

    http://www.beercosoftware.com/newserver/p2.jpg
    1.5TB, 2GB ram, 3.2Ghz Dual Core intel all for under 1k.
    All from TigerDirect.ca and no customs charges because it’s from Toronto Ontario.
    It beats the living crapola out of the Netras for sure.
    http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&viewitem=&item=120105603303
    I hate to blast Sun but my Netra 20 lost 10,000% value in less than a year from 2006 to 2007 sinking from 2k to 300 bucks. I’m leaving Solaris and Sun to the only people who can play at that rate. Telecom.

Comments are closed.