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Activity of the ZFS ARC

Disk I/O is still a common source of performance issues, despite modern cloud environments, modern file systems and huge amounts of main memory serving as file system cache. Understanding how well that cache is working is a key task while investigating disk I/O issues. In this post, I’ll show the activity of the ZFS file system Adaptive Replacement Cache (ARC).

There are often more statistics available than you realize (or have been documented), which may certainly be true with the ARC. Apart from showing these statistics, I’ll also show how to extend observability using dynamic tracing (DTrace). These tracing techniques are also applicable to any kernel subsystem. This is an advanced topic, where I’ll sometimes dip into kernel code.


For background on the ZFS ARC, see the paper ARC: A Self-Tuning, Low Overhead …

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