A Podcast for HPC Folk

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RCE 53: Performance Co-Pilot

Brock Palen and Jeff Squyres speak withKen McDonell about Performance Co-Pilot (PCP) a framework and services that support system-level performance monitoring and management. It presents a unifying abstraction for all of the performance data in a system, and many tools for interrogating, retrieving and processing that data.

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Ken McDonell's interest in performance analysis begin at Monash University in 1971 with simulation studies of file access methods. At the University of Alberta he was awarded a Ph.D. in Computer Science for work on the interface between operating systems and database management systems.

It was at Alberta during 1974 that Ken was first exposed to the Unix operating system, and he has been a daily Unix (and later Linux) user and developer ever since.

From 1977 to 1988 Ken was an academic in the Computer Science Departments at Melbourne and Monash Universities.

An interest in Unix, and operating systems in general, led Ken to be a founding member, an executive member and the second President of the Australian Unix-systems User Group (AUUG).

Ken left academia in 1988 to take up a position in California with Pyramid Technology, where his responsibilities included management of the corporate performance analysis group and performance evaluation of core technologies for future products.

In 1993 Ken joined Silicon Graphics and formed a software engineering team in Melbourne, Australia, charged with the development of software products to monitor and manage the performance of very large systems acting as DBMS, video, file or compute servers. The Performance Co-Pilot products were developed from this effort and are sold world-wide by SGI, and made available through open source distributions.

Later, as a Director of Engineering, Ken headed a team that held world-wide responsibility for SGI engineering projects that spanned multiple platforms (Linux, IRIX, Windows, Mac OS X and Solaris) and delivered products and features in the areas of file systems, file serving, storage software, networking, systems monitoring and management, and core operating system services.

In 2005 Ken joined Aconex as Chief Technology Officer and assumed responsibility for all aspects of the development, deployment and operational management of a complex web-based solution hosted in multiple data centers around the world and supporting tens of thousands of concurrent users.

Since 2008 Ken has been mostly retired, enjoying grandchildren, gardening, cinema, travel, recreational computing (mostly PCP development) and a small amount of technology-based consulting.

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