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Show HN: Hyperfine – a command-line benchmarking tool (github.com)
126 points by sharkdp 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments

Nifty! Step up over just using time. Unfortunately, timing things in general isn't going to be a very effective benchmark.

Without understanding what a program is doing, you don't understand what is impacting your results, and have no real knowledge on how things are going to differ when you go to use them in the "real world". Is one process faster when single threaded vs. a low core count, but another is massively parallel, and loses out until scaled higher? Are your commands testing the thing you think they're testing? What is your limiting factor? If you don't know why the results are what they are, instead of higher, you don't have a good benchmark.

http://www.brendangregg.com/activebenchmarking.html / http://www.brendangregg.com/ActiveBenchmarking/bonnie++.html

Nice, that looks very handy especially the analysis of multiple runs.

Just today I was playing with /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches, I'd never used it before, it makes a massive difference reading from a spinning disk!

For example to read tens of thousands of files (using 8 processes), it would take me

    real	5m33.048s
Then if I ran the command again, without flushing the cache, it'd take:

    real	0m6.502s

Thank you for the feedback!

Yes, having a "cold" or a "warm" disk cache makes a massive difference for I/O-heavy programs. For one of my other programs, I differentiate between "cold-cache" and "warm-cache" benchmarks: https://github.com/sharkdp/fd-benchmarks

If something like my .ssh got into disk cache, could another user read that or is it not a kernel or RAM thing?

The page cache exists to speed up access and it's transparent to processes.

If another user/process tries to access your SSH files directly, it'll go through the traditional file permissions to determine if it has access or not. If the disk block is in the page cache AND access is allowed to that inode, then the kernel will retrieve the page from the cache and give it to the process.

To read the whole page cache, you'd need code sitting in kernel space. If something manages to load itself in the kernel space (e.g. kernel module), you have bigger problems to worry about.

Hmm, that's an interesting question.

I'd be surprised if you can get access to the page/disk cache without root privileges though.

I'm gonna do some more digging on that.

Edit: Maybe Meltdown, lets you access the RAM with that though I guess?

When given multiple commands, can it interleave executions instead of benchmarking them one after the other?

This would be useful when comparing two similar commands, as interleaving them makes it less likely that e.g. a load spike will unfavorably affect only one of them, or due to e.g. thermal throttling negatively affecting the last command.

Great suggestion! I have opened a ticket here: https://github.com/sharkdp/hyperfine/issues/21

Tangentially related, look into rt-tests (from linux-rt) for scheduler latency tests.

See: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Realtime_kernel

The effect of the linux-rt patchset is dramatic.

This looks excellent. Does it have a non-TTY/no—color mode that I could use in a CI environment?

Thank you for the feedback!

Not yet, but I've just created a ticket here: https://github.com/sharkdp/hyperfine/issues/20

Should be easy to implement.

What is a use case for command line benchmarking?

Whenever you run 'time <command>' you could consider running 'hyperfine <command>' to get an answer that has been averaged over multiple runs.

I personally use command-line benchmarking to compare different tools. You might want to compare grep, ack, ag and ripgrep. I currently use it to profile my find-alternative fd and to compare it with find itself (https://github.com/sharkdp/fd-benchmarks).

You could also use it to find an optimal parameter setting for a command-line tool (make -j2 vs. make -j8).

I'd use fd if it didn't require a blackbelt in regex, maybe by adding more comprehensive examples?

How could you do something like:

find . -iname "<asterisk>any<asterisk>thing<asterisk>"

HN won't let me use * so I had to tag them accordingly.

The regex-equivalent for "anything" is usually "<dot><asterisk>" where the dot is for "any character" and the asterisk is for "any number of times (including zero)". fd does necessarily pattern-match at the beginning of the file name, so there is no need for an asterisk at the beginning and at the end of the pattern. Your example would be:

    fd 'any.*thing'

add four spaces at start of line

    find . -iname '*any*thing*'

Great. I'm officially a user!

Looks cool!

Could it use dtrace to measure other metrics besides time?

Thank you for the feedback.

Hyperfine currently tracks real time (= wall-clock time), user time (= time spent in user mode) and system time (= time spent in kernel mode).

Unfortunately, I have never heard of dtrace. What kind of other metrics would you be interested in?

I believe I would like hyperfine to focus on timing-aspects.

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