Capacity Planning and Performance Enhancement with Page Reference Sampling

Wednesday, December 09, 2020 - 1:25 pm2:05 pm

Danny Chen, Bloomberg LP


Page reference sampling provides an important view into the intersection of an operating system's memory management subsystem and program behavior. Historically, page reference sampling has involved modifications to kernel code. Solaris provides a little known/advertised interface for doing page reference sampling without kernel changes.

We will show how to use this interface to get data that can be useful for capacity planning and for tweaking some of the memory management knobs that the system provides. We'll also compare this with what we can get on Linux systems.

Danny Chen, Bloomberg LP

Danny Chen started his career 40 years ago as a UNIX performance engineer at Bell Laboratories where he was a co-developer of one of first general purpose UNIX kernel tracing facilities (USENIX/1988: CASPER the Friendly Daemon). He also contributed performance improvements to the SVR4 virtual memory implementation (USENIX/1990: "Insuring Improved VM Performance - Some No-Fault Policies). He has worked on low latency market data systems, messaging systems, distributed transaction management, capacity planning, and enterprise systems monitoring.

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@inproceedings {262202,
author = {Danny Chen},
title = {Capacity Planning and Performance Enhancement with Page Reference Sampling},
booktitle = {SREcon20 Americas (SREcon20 Americas)},
year = {2020},
url = {},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = dec,

Presentation Video