Review of Solaris System Resource Manager: All I Ever Wanted Was My Unfair Advantage (And Why You Can't Get It) by Dr. Neil J. Gunther

Essay by kalexanderUniversity, Master'sA+, December 2003

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Dr. Neil J. Gunther is a recognized expert on performance management and capacity planning. He founded Performance Dynamics Company in 1994 and has provided consulting services to a long list of important clients such as Federal Express, Tandem Computers, and Sun Microsystems [1]. Dr. Gunther provides training courses in distributed systems performance management and capacity planning. He lectures worldwide, has taught performance analysis courses at UCLA and Stanford University and has written over 100 articles on computer performance analysis. Dr. Gunther was awarded Best Technical Paper at the Computer Measurement Group (CMG) Conference in 1996. He is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), American Mathematical Society (AMS), CMG, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Advanced Computing Systems Association (USENIX). In 1999, at the CMG Conference in Reno, Nevada, Dr. Gunther presented a paper entitled Solaris System Resource Manager: All I Ever Wanted Was My Unfair Advantage (And Why You Can't Get It) [2].

The paper discusses modifications to the UNIX system scheduler that allocates fair shares of system resources to users and groups. This review summarizes the ideas illustrated in Dr. Gunther's paper, compares them to alternate methods and presents opinions.

The traditional UNIX time-share (TS) schedulers have implemented a round-robin algorithm. While this algorithm ensures responsiveness to multiple interactive users, it favors users that run many jobs with short CPU usage. The Solaris System Resource Manager (SRM) is a software tool that enables the allocation and control of major system resources such as CPU, physical memory, virtual memory and number of processes [3]. The system administrator can allocate CPU resources according to predefined shares as opposed to fixed percentages, which allows the system to dynamically apportion all available resources according to the relative proportion of shares of any current user. The SRM...