Where Did All These Cycles Go?

Modern systems are large, and complicated, and it is often difficult to account precisely where CPU cycles are spent in production. Once you begin measuring, you will find all sorts of strange surprises – like cleaning out strange objects from an attic that has accumulated stuff for decades. This talk discusses surprising places where we found CPU waste in real-world production environments: From Kubelet consuming multiple percent of whole-cluster CPU, via popular machine learning libraries spending their time juggling exceptions instead of classifying, to EC2 time sources being much slower than necessary. CPU cycles are being lost in surprising places, and often it isn’t in your own code.

17 Minutes
Thomas Dullien

Thomas Dullien, CEO of optimyze.cloud Inc.

Thomas spent 20+ years in computer security (under the pseudonym ""Halvar Flake""); he built a company around low-level code analysis tools for analyzing security patches and malware which was acquired by Google in 2011. He also worked in various realms of security research, among other things into bad DRAM (RowHammer). At some point, he realized that performance work is very similar to security work: In security, you analyze legacy systems, find issues, and then everybody is angry -- but in performance, you can analyze legacy systems, find problems, and then everybody is happy because you made it faster. As a consequence, he co-founded optimyze.cloud in 2018, where he works on building large-scale performance observability and optimization tooling.

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