Benchmarks, Performance, Scalability, and Capacity: What's Behind the Numbers?

Baron Schwartz (VividCortex)
Operations Ballroom ABCD
Please note: to attend, your registration must include Tutorials.
Average rating: ***..
(3.53, 19 ratings)

If you’ve read “How to Lie with Statistics,” are you immune to numerical tricks? Not a session for math geeks, this tutorial is instead about how to determine what matters and what doesn’t, how to see what’s missing as well as what you’re shown, and how to turn numbers into knowledge. Topics include:

  • Linear scalability: is it really? What does linear mean, anyway?
  • What’s wrong with how most benchmarks are reported, and what vital information are you not given?
  • What’s the relationship between storage fragmentation and Amdahl’s Law?
  • Your database is slow; what’s the fix? Faster disks? More memory? SSDs? A different database?
  • What’s your system’s maximum capacity? (Hint: what does capacity mean?)
  • Which is faster: a RAID10 with 10 EBS volumes, or one with 20 disks?

It turns out that we fool ourselves all the time, even when nobody is trying to fool us. This session explains how to think clearly about performance-related decisions when numbers and charts start to proliferate.

Photo of Baron Schwartz

Baron Schwartz


Baron Schwartz is the founder and CTO of VividCortex, the best way to see what your production database servers are doing. Baron has written a lot of open source software and several books, including High Performance MySQL. He’s focused his career on learning and teaching about performance and observability of systems generally, including the view that teams are systems and culture influences their performance, and databases specifically.


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