Michael Sun shows how the Apache Solr team found and fixed a performance issue in their code:
Based on this testing, lock contention, which usually results in a performance bottleneck and underutilized resources, was our first “suspect.” We knew that using a commercial Java profiler, such as Yourkit, JProfiler and Java Flight Recorder, would help easily identify locks and determine how much time threads spend waiting on them. Meanwhile, the team had built custom infrastructure that allows one to run experiments with a profiler attached via a single command-line parameter.
In my own testing, the profiler data indeed revealed some contention particularly related to
HdfsUpdateLog locks, leading to long thread wait time. Although promisingly, this result corresponded somewhat to the description in SOLR-6820, nothing actionable resulted from the experiment.
I like these sorts of case studies because example is the school of mankind. In this particular case, I really like the methodical approach, using available information to search for a root cause. Some of the things Michael calls “false starts” I would consider to be initial steps: checking OS, filesystem, and garbage collection metrics are important even in a case like this in which they did not lead to the culprit, as they help you eliminate suspects.