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Managing NFS and NIS, 2nd Edition by Hal Stern, Ricardo Labiaga, Mike Eisler

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Chapter 16. Server-Side Performance Tuning

Performance analysis and tuning, particularly when it involves NFS and NIS, is a topic subject to heated debate. The focus of the next three chapters is on the analysis techniques and configuration options used to identify performance bottlenecks and improve overall system response time. Tuning a network and its servers is similar to optimizing a piece of user-written code. Finding the obvious flaws and correcting poor programming habits generally leads to marked improvements in performance. Similarly, there is a definite and noticeable difference between networked systems with abysmal performance and those that run reasonably well; those with poor response generally suffer from "poor habits" in network resource use or configuration. It's easy to justify spending the time to eliminate major flaws when the return on your time investment is so large.

However, all tuning processes are subject to a law of diminishing returns. Getting the last 5-10% out of an application usually means hand-rolling loops or reading assembly language listings. Fine-tuning a network server to an "optimum" configuration may yield that last bit of performance, but the next network change or new client added to the system may make performance of the finely tuned system worse than that of an untuned system. If other aspects of the computing environment are neglected as a result of the incremental server tuning, then the benefits of fine-tuning certainly do not justify ...

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