[racket-dev] Performance Lab

From: Curtis Dutton (curtdutt at gmail.com)
Date: Tue Jan 22 00:25:02 EST 2013

I've been using racket now for about 4 years now. I use it for everything
that I can and I love it. It is really an awesome system, and I just can't
say "THANKS" enough to all of you for racket.

That being said, I'd like to become more active with the development
process. In a past life, I worked for Microsoft as a development tools
engineer. Most of what I did was develop and operate large scale automated
testing systems for very large teams. I once had a room full of 500 or so
machines at my disposal, which I tried hard to keep busy. I've maintained
rolling build systems, that included acceptance tests, a performance
testing system, a stress testing system and a security fuzzing system.

I'm not sure how people feel about automated systems like this, part of
this email is just to see what people think. But used in the right way they
can be used to shape and control the directions that a project evolves in.

An example of the type of system that I'd like to see for racket, would be
a performance measuring system that would work in principle like so...

I have an exampled I'll use. I'm concerned about the racket/openssl
transfer speeds.

The test:

   1.  Create 2 places. 1 with a client. 1 with a server.
   2.  Establish an ssl session.
   3.  Output a "start time event".
   4.  transfer 1MB of random data.
   5.  output an "end time event"

Now once I write that test, and commit it, the performance system picks it
up from the repository. And it runs that test for every commit that is made
there after. That establishes a "baseline" for the performance of that
test. If a commit is made, and suddenly that test takes longer, it
generates an alert. At which point, we either investigate to find out why
the test slowed down and fix it, or due to circumstances we can't control
(which does happen) we tell the system that its acceptable and to accept it
as a new baseline. Now of course if there is a marked improvement, we sound
out a pat on the back too!

Now as a user of this system, I can monitor the performance characteristics
of racket that I care about. People can write "tests" just to track
racket's performance over time, and catch unexpected regressions. They can
also add these tests before they begin on a campaign of improving their pet

That is the gist of the type of system I wish I had with racket.

I can go more into how a stress test works, and perhaps fuzzing tests,

Now I'm willing to build it and I'm willing to host it with a number of
machines. I have pieces and parts of code lying around and I already have a
decent harness implementation that collects statistics about a racket
process as it runs.

What do you think? If could have something like this, would you want it?
(Does something like this exist already?) What would it look like? How
would it work, etc....

I'd like to collect a list of desired "tests" that this system would
monitor for us. If you already have code that you run on your own, even
better! Detailed examples would be welcome, as I need to gather some ideas
about what people would want to do with this thing.

Racket is so awesome! I'd like to help improve it, and I think this is
something that I can offer to help get us there.

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