Adrian Cockroft on “Capability Utilization”

Performance Information and Tools

My observation is that utilization is useless as a metric and should be abandoned. It has been useless in virtualized disk subsystems for some time, and is now useless for CPU measurement as well. There used to be a clear relationship between response time and utilization, but systems are now so complex that those relationships no longer hold. Instead, you need to directly measure response time and relate it to throughput. Utilization is properly defined as busy time as a proportion of elapsed time. The replacement for utilization is headroom which is defined as the unused proportion of the maximum possible throughput.

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