To program is human, to instrument is divine. Complex systems that will support a heavy workload will eventually have to be tuned for it. There are two prerequisites for tuning: tunability, and measurability.
Tunability generally means configuration settings. Adding configuration settings is a sign of a humble and wise programmer. It means that the programmer acknowledges “I don’t understand how this system will be used, what environment it will run in, or even what my code really does.” Sometimes things are hard-coded. InnoDB is notorious for this, although don’t take that to mean that I think Heikki Tuuri isn’t humble and wise — nobody’s perfect. Sometimes programmers set out to create systems that are self-tuning. I’m not aware of any success stories I can point to in this regard, but I can point to[Read more...]