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Operating systems are complex and their behavior depends on many factors. Source code, if available, does not directly help one to understand the OS's behavior, as the behavior depends on actual workloads and external inputs. Runtime profiling is a key technique to prove new concepts, debug problems, and optimize performance. Unfortunately, existing profiling methods are lacking in important areas - they do not provide enough information about the OS's behavior, they require OS modification and therefore are not portable, or they incur high overheads thus perturbing the profiled OS. The authors developed OSprof: a versatile, portable, and efficient OS profiling method based on latency distributions analysis.
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