SPO600 Baseline Builds and Benchmarking Lab

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Purpose of this Lab
In this lab, you will do a baseline build of a software package and benchmark its performance.
This lab is not used in the current semester.
Please refer to the other labs in the SPO600 Labs category.

Lab 2


You must have working accounts on the SPO600 Servers or your own Fedora system.

As a Group

Work in a Group of 2-6
This part of the lab should be performed in class in a group of 2-6 students. Use one of the ALC screens and set up one person as the "driver" (person using the keyboard and screen), working on your choice of Australia or Red or the Fedora system of one of the group members. The rest of the group can then discuss the project and give instructions to the driver. You should rearrange the POD tables and chairs into the most convenient arrangement for your group. You may switch drivers (and/or device being used) if agreed by the group. Take advantage of the different skills present in your group - for example, you may have someone with system administration skills, another with scripting skills, another with strong C programming skills, and yet another with good analysis skills.
  1. Set up your pod (see note above).
  2. Select one of these software packages:
    • Apache httpd
    • Nginx http server
    • MySQL server
    • Python
    • Perl
    • PHP
  3. Obtain the software (via git or other version control system if necessary, or by downloading the appropriate archive/tarball).
  4. Do a baseline build. You may need to install build dependencies.
  5. Decide what you're going to benchmark and how you're going to do the benchmarking. Some programs may come with test suites, test harnesses, or exercisers (dummy clients) that are appropriate for benchmarking, while in other cases you may need to create your own test harness or exerciser program/script. In some cases, you will want to measure execution time, in other cases, some measure of performance (e.g., throughput). Make sure you control the appropriate factors, test for repeatability, and document the benchmark conditions so that the results can be reliably reproduced in the future. Most of these programs are complex, and different aspects or features of the program could be benchmarked (e.g., static content via http, static content via https, or CGI content under Apache httpd) - select one clear area for examination.
  6. Execute your benchmarking plan and record the results. With your results, include everything that may affect the benchmark results: the version of the operating system, libraries, and toolchain (compiler, linker, etc); the system specifications and configuration; the version of the software you built and benchmarked; and so forth. These commands may be useful:
cat /proc/cpuinfo
cat /etc/*release*
rpm -qa
cat /proc/mdstat
Share the Wealth
Make sure that each member of the group has access to the files the group was working on before the end of class (e.g., put them in a folder with world-readable permissions, post them on a public URL, or mail them to each member of the group). It would also be a good idea to share contact information within the group.

Individual Work

  1. Complete any of the tasks not completed by the group during the class.
  2. Analyze the results. Look for repeatabile, consistent results. Understand the limitations of the benchmark results you obtained.
  3. Blog your benchmark configuration (system, build options, toolchain versions), your results, your analysis of the results, and your experience doing this lab, including things that you learned and unanswered questions that have come up.