HBench-OS Operating System Benchmarks

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HBench-OS is a suite of portable benchmarks designed to measure the performance of primitive functionality provided by an operating system/hardware platform. HBench-OS was designed primarily as a research tool for the systems research and OS development communities, and thus its major design goal is to provide a flexible system for reproducible, accurate, and statistically-sound performance analysis and evaluation. These characteristics make it ideal for both performance research as well as more traditional consumer-oriented performance measurement and analysis.

HBench-OS's major features include:

  • a broad range of benchmarks, covering hardware capabilities, low-level OS abstractions, and high-level OS primitives
  • an accurate timing system that automatically measures and removes its own overhead
  • most benchmarks dynamically determine how long to run to overcome low timing resolution
  • all benchmark data is preserved for analysis
  • support for user-defined statistical analysis policies, including viewing raw data distributions
  • basic automatic analysis of benchmark data
  • support for obtaining cold-cache results (no loops) when timing resolution is high enough
  • a flexible control system that allows you to configure exactly which benchmarks are executed (and their parameters) in a given run
  • built-in support for multiple benchmarking runs, including statistical processing across multiple runs
  • a machine-independent framework that supports high-resolution timing via hardware cycle counters (currently supports Intel Pentium and later chips)
  • a machine-independent framework to support hardware event counters for detailed profiling of the benchmark tests (currently supports Intel Pentium Pro under modified NetBSD/i386 only)

Read the HBench-OS README file.

Visit the page of collected HBench-OS results. If you would like to share your results, please mail them to hbench-results@eecs.harvard.edu.


Downloading HBench-OS

HBench-OS is available either via http or ftp by clicking on the appropriate link below. It is distributed as a .tar.gz file; after extracting the file using gunzip and tar, please read the included README file for information on configuring and using the benchmarks.

Download now:

Also available:


More Information on System Performance Measurement Using HBench-OS

The following papers and slides give more technical details on HBench-OS, and describe analysis methodologies that use HBench-OS as the foundation for a complete model of computer system performance:

Author Contact Information

HBench-OS was written by Aaron B. Brown, abrown@eecs.harvard.edu, with the guidance and assistance of Margo Seltzer, margo@eecs.harvard.edu.

Any questions/comments/bug reports/patches that you have should be sent to the author at abrown@eecs.harvard.edu.


Copyright © 1997 The President and Fellows of Harvard College. All Rights Reserved.

Last modified: 17 April 2003.