As the time for development of new hard- and software decreases, the variety of available system components for HPC and advanced server systems increases. The result is a wide variety of available computer systems. This variety does, however, make the choice of which system will fit to a given application more difficult.
Common benchmarks provide a useful set of approaches symplifying the choice to a set of scores. Multi-experiment approaches, often as part of complex system analysis and system tuning tools, extend this view significantly. Parameter studies offer the possibility to separate different system characteristics.
The BenchIT-project approaches a performance analysis of a given computer system in the following way: It runs an extendable set of small measurements (kernels) to produce expressive results in a short period of time. The measurement environment is prepared to deal with time-based measurements and measurements based on the evaluation of built-in hardware performance counters. It is possible to correlate a set of peculiarities with respect to one variable parameter in one measurement run.
One major design goal for the BenchIT measurement suite is a high portability among the different UNIX derivates. The system detection and measurement setup (available compilers and libraries) is done mostly automatically using a set of shell scripts. The only prompt requiring user input regards information about the system architecture to include it in the generated result files enabling the results to be explainable. The compilation, linking and execution of the measurement kernels is also handled automatically using shell scripts and the previously generated system setup. This process can be interrupted after the linking stage to allow for cross-compilation platforms. The produced binaries can then be transferred to the target system where the measurements will be run. The execution of the various measurement kernels is driven by one main program providing an interface to the kernels. It is possible to execute all kernels, a subset of kernels or just a single kernel. Furthermore it is possible to reduce the amount of time available for one measurement kernel as well as the degree of reliability of the measurement to produce results faster.
BenchIT is designed to be extendable by measurement kernels contributed by external users.
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