What Is My Kernel Doing?

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 from 1:30 – 2:15pm in B202/203


Ever wonder what your kernel is doing? We instrumented kernels on both web servers and personal workstations, and then measured to see what they're doing.


We analyze several Linux servers and workstations to determine their usage of various file system calls while running their normal daily workload. The file system calls used on actual servers and workloads were identified. The kernel was modified to measure parameters such as usage count, transfer size and error rate.

Additional data was gathered about the files actually used on a dynamic basis such as file location, name and operation.

This was done in the hope that kernel designers can use the data to better optimize file system design and algorithm selection. Further we hope that by showing application designers their actual file usage patterns they too can improve their code. Finally, we wanted to show system administrators the different loads they place on their machines.

Speaking experience

I've spoken at the Ottowa Linux Symposium, Linux.conf.au, the UK Linux Users Group, and many places in the United States.


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    Randy Appleton

    Northern Michigan University


    Randy Appleton is a professor of Computer Science in the cold north of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He teaches the networking, operating systems, and system administration courses. He’s been working with Linux since kernel version 0.9.

    In his spare time he pilots a small airplane and rides a motorcycle.