Performance, measurement and evaluation of time-shared operating systems
Time-shared, virtual memory systems are very complex and changes in their performance may be caused by many factors - by variations in the workload as well as changes in system configuration. The evaluation of these systems can thus best be carried out by linking results obtained from a planned programme of measurements, taken on the system, to some model of it. Such a programme of measurements is best carried out under conditions in which all the parameters likely to affect the system's performance are reproducible, and under the control of the experimenter. In order that this be possible the workload used must be simulated and presented to the target system through some form of automatic workload driver. A case study of such a methodology is presented in which the system (in this case the Edinburgh Multi-Access System) is monitored during a controlled experiment (designed and analysed using standard techniques in common use in many other branches of experimental science) and the results so obtained used to calibrate and validate a simple simulation model of the system. This model is then used in further investigation of the effect of certain system parameters upon the system performance. The factors covered by this exercise include the effect of varying: main memory size, process loading algorithm and secondary memory characteristics.