Chapter 1. Getting started with Tuned

As a system administrator, you can use the Tuned application to optimize the performance profile of your system for a variety of use cases.

1.1. The purpose of Tuned

Tuned is a service that monitors your system and optimizes the performance under certain workloads. The core of Tuned are profiles, which tune your system for different use cases.

Tuned is distributed with a number of predefined profiles for use cases such as:

  • High throughput
  • Low latency
  • Saving power

It is possible to modify the rules defined for each profile and customize how to tune a particular device. When you switch to another profile or deactivate Tuned, all changes made to the system settings by the previous profile revert back to their original state.

You can also configure Tuned to react to changes in device usage and adjusts settings to improve performance of active devices and reduce power consumption of inactive devices.

1.2. Tuned profiles

A detailed analysis of a system can be very time-consuming. Tuned provides a number of predefined profiles for typical use cases. You can also create, modify, and delete profiles.

The profiles provided with Tuned are divided into the following categories:

  • Power-saving profiles
  • Performance-boosting profiles

The performance-boosting profiles include profiles that focus on the following aspects:

  • Low latency for storage and network
  • High throughput for storage and network
  • Virtual machine performance
  • Virtualization host performance

The default profile

During the installation, the best profile for your system is selected automatically. Currently, the default profile is selected according to the following customizable rules:

EnvironmentDefault profileGoal

Compute nodes

throughput-performance

The best throughput performance

Virtual machines

virtual-guest

The best performance. If you are not interested in the best performance, you can change it to the balanced or powersave profile.

Other cases

balanced

Balanced performance and power consumption

Merged profiles

As an experimental feature, it is possible to select more profiles at once. Tuned will try to merge them during the load.

If there are conflicts, the settings from the last specified profile takes precedence.

Example 1.1. Low power consumption in a virtual guest

The following example optimizes the system to run in a virtual machine for the best performance and concurrently tunes it for low power consumption, while the low power consumption is the priority:

# tuned-adm profile virtual-guest powersave
Warning

Merging is done automatically without checking whether the resulting combination of parameters makes sense. Consequently, the feature might tune some parameters the opposite way, which might be counterproductive: for example, setting the disk for high throughput by using the throughput-performance profile and concurrently setting the disk spindown to the low value by the spindown-disk profile.

The location of profiles

Tuned stores profiles in the following directories:

/usr/lib/tuned/
Distribution-specific profiles are stored in the directory. Each profile has its own directory. The profile consists of the main configuration file called tuned.conf, and optionally other files, for example helper scripts.
/etc/tuned/
If you need to customize a profile, copy the profile directory into the directory, which is used for custom profiles. If there are two profiles of the same name, the custom profile located in /etc/tuned/ is used.

The syntax of profile configuration

The tuned.conf file can contain one [main] section and other sections for configuring plug-in instances. However, all sections are optional.

Lines starting with the hash sign (#) are comments.

Additional resources

  • The tuned.conf(5) man page.

1.3. Tuned profiles distributed with RHEL

The following is a list of profiles that are installed with Tuned on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Note

There might be more product-specific or third-party Tuned profiles available. Such profiles are usually provided by separate RPM packages.

balanced
The default power-saving profile. It is intended to be a compromise between performance and power consumption. It uses auto-scaling and auto-tuning whenever possible. The only drawback is the increased latency. In the current Tuned release, it enables the CPU, disk, audio, and video plugins, and activates the conservative CPU governor. The radeon_powersave option uses the dpm-balanced value if it is supported, otherwise it is set to auto.
powersave

A profile for maximum power saving performance. It can throttle the performance in order to minimize the actual power consumption. In the current Tuned release it enables USB autosuspend, WiFi power saving, and Aggressive Link Power Management (ALPM) power savings for SATA host adapters. It also schedules multi-core power savings for systems with a low wakeup rate and activates the ondemand governor. It enables AC97 audio power saving or, depending on your system, HDA-Intel power savings with a 10 seconds timeout. If your system contains a supported Radeon graphics card with enabled KMS, the profile configures it to automatic power saving. On ASUS Eee PCs, a dynamic Super Hybrid Engine is enabled.

Note

In certain cases, the balanced profile is more efficient compared to the powersave profile.

Consider there is a defined amount of work that needs to be done, for example a video file that needs to be transcoded. Your machine might consume less energy if the transcoding is done on the full power, because the task is finished quickly, the machine starts to idle, and it can automatically step-down to very efficient power save modes. On the other hand, if you transcode the file with a throttled machine, the machine consumes less power during the transcoding, but the process takes longer and the overall consumed energy can be higher.

That is why the balanced profile can be generally a better option.

throughput-performance
A server profile optimized for high throughput. It disables power savings mechanisms and enables sysctl settings that improve the throughput performance of the disk and network IO. CPU governor is set to performance.
latency-performance
A server profile optimized for low latency. It disables power savings mechanisms and enables sysctl settings that improve latency. CPU governor is set to performance and the CPU is locked to the low C states (by PM QoS).
network-latency
A profile for low latency network tuning. It is based on the latency-performance profile. It additionally disables transparent huge pages and NUMA balancing, and tunes several other network-related sysctl parameters.
network-throughput
A profile for throughput network tuning. It is based on the throughput-performance profile. It additionally increases kernel network buffers.
virtual-guest
A profile designed for virtual guests based on the throughput-performance profile that, among other tasks, decreases virtual memory swappiness and increases disk readahead values. It does not disable disk barriers.
virtual-host
A profile designed for virtual hosts based on the throughput-performance profile that, among other tasks, decreases virtual memory swappiness, increases disk readahead values, and enables a more aggressive value of dirty pages writeback.
oracle
A profile optimized for Oracle databases loads based on throughput-performance profile. It additionally disables transparent huge pages and modifies other performance-related kernel parameters. This profile is provided by the tuned-profiles-oracle package.
desktop
A profile optimized for desktops, based on the balanced profile. It additionally enables scheduler autogroups for better response of interactive applications.

Real-time profiles

Real-time profiles are intended for systems running the real-time kernel. Without a special kernel build, they do not configure the system to be real-time. On RHEL, the profiles are available from additional repositories.

The following real-time profiles are available:

realtime

Use on bare-metal real-time systems.

Provided by the tuned-profiles-realtime package, which is available from the RT or NFV repositories.

realtime-virtual-host

Use in a virtualization host configured for real-time.

Provided by the tuned-profiles-nfv-host package, which is available from the NFV repository.

realtime-virtual-guest

Use in a virtualization guest configured for real-time.

Provided by the tuned-profiles-nfv-guest package, which is available from the NFV repository.

1.4. Static and dynamic tuning in Tuned

This section explains the difference between the two categories of system tuning that Tuned applies: static and dynamic.

Static tuning
Mainly consists of the application of predefined sysctl and sysfs settings and one-shot activation of several configuration tools such as ethtool.
Dynamic tuning

Watches how various system components are used throughout the uptime of your system. Tuned adjusts system settings dynamically based on that monitoring information.

For example, the hard drive is used heavily during startup and login, but is barely used later when the user might mainly work with applications such as web browsers or email clients. Similarly, the CPU and network devices are used differently at different times. Tuned monitors the activity of these components and reacts to the changes in their use.

By default, dynamic tuning is disabled. To enable it, edit the /etc/tuned/tuned-main.conf file and change the dynamic_tuning option to 1. Tuned then periodically analyzes system statistics and uses them to update your system tuning settings. To configure the time interval in seconds between these updates, use the update_interval option.

Currently implemented dynamic tuning algorithms try to balance the performance and powersave, and are therefore disabled in the performance profiles. Dynamic tuning for individual plug-ins can be enabled or disabled in the Tuned profiles.

Example 1.2. Static and dynamic tuning on a workstation

On a typical office workstation, the Ethernet network interface is inactive most of the time. Only a few emails go in and out or some web pages might be loaded.

For those kinds of loads, the network interface does not have to run at full speed all the time, as it does by default. Tuned has a monitoring and tuning plug-in for network devices that can detect this low activity and then automatically lower the speed of that interface, typically resulting in a lower power usage.

If the activity on the interface increases for a longer period of time, for example because a DVD image is being downloaded or an email with a large attachment is opened, Tuned detects this and sets the interface speed to maximum to offer the best performance while the activity level is high.

This principle is used for other plug-ins for CPU and disks as well.

1.5. Tuned no-daemon mode

You can run Tuned in no-daemon mode, which does not require any resident memory. In this mode, Tuned applies the settings and exits.

By default, no-daemon mode is disabled because a lot of Tuned functionality is missing in this mode, including:

  • D-Bus support
  • Hot-plug support
  • Rollback support for settings

To enable no-daemon mode, include the following line in the /etc/tuned/tuned-main.conf file:

daemon = 0

1.6. Installing and enabling Tuned

This procedure installs and enables the Tuned application, installs Tuned profiles, and presets a default Tuned profile for your system.

Procedure

  1. Install the tuned package:

    # yum install tuned
  2. Enable and start the tuned service:

    # systemctl enable --now tuned
  3. Optionally, install Tuned profiles for real-time systems:

    # yum install tuned-profiles-realtime tuned-profiles-nfv
  4. Verify that a Tuned profile is active and applied:

    $ tuned-adm active
    
    Current active profile: balanced
    $ tuned-adm verify
    
    Verfication succeeded, current system settings match the preset profile.
    See tuned log file ('/var/log/tuned/tuned.log') for details.

1.7. Listing available Tuned profiles

This procedure lists all Tuned profiles that are currently available on your system.

Procedure

  • To list all available Tuned profiles on your system, use:

    $ tuned-adm list
    
    Available profiles:
    - balanced               - General non-specialized tuned profile
    - desktop                - Optimize for the desktop use-case
    - latency-performance    - Optimize for deterministic performance at the cost of increased power consumption
    - network-latency        - Optimize for deterministic performance at the cost of increased power consumption, focused on low latency network performance
    - network-throughput     - Optimize for streaming network throughput, generally only necessary on older CPUs or 40G+ networks
    - powersave              - Optimize for low power consumption
    - throughput-performance - Broadly applicable tuning that provides excellent performance across a variety of common server workloads
    - virtual-guest          - Optimize for running inside a virtual guest
    - virtual-host           - Optimize for running KVM guests
    Current active profile: balanced
  • To display only the currently active profile, use:

    $ tuned-adm active
    
    Current active profile: balanced

Additional resources

  • The tuned-adm(8) man page.

1.8. Setting a Tuned profile

This procedure activates a selected Tuned profile on your system.

Prerequisites

Procedure

  1. Optionally, you can let Tuned recommend the most suitable profile for your system:

    # tuned-adm recommend
    
    balanced
  2. Activate a profile:

    # tuned-adm profile selected-profile

    Alternatively, you can activate a combination of multiple profiles:

    # tuned-adm profile profile1 profile2

    Example 1.3. A virtual machine optimized for low power consumption

    The following example optimizes the system to run in a virtual machine with the best performance and concurrently tunes it for low power consumption, while the low power consumption is the priority:

    # tuned-adm profile virtual-guest powersave
  3. Verify that the Tuned profile is active and applied:

    $ tuned-adm active
    
    Current active profile: selected-profile
    $ tuned-adm verify
    
    Verfication succeeded, current system settings match the preset profile.
    See tuned log file ('/var/log/tuned/tuned.log') for details.

Additional resources

  • The tuned-adm(8) man page

1.9. Disabling Tuned

This procedure disables Tuned and resets all affected system settings to their original state before Tuned modified them.

Procedure

  • To disable all tunings temporarily:

    # tuned-adm off

    The tunings are applied again after the tuned service restarts.

  • Alternatively, to stop and disable the tuned service permanently:

    # systemctl disable --now tuned

Additional resources

  • The tuned-adm(8) man page.