Joel Solon · Oct 30, 2019 4m read

Collecting Performance Data While Running Unit Tests

A few years ago, I was teaching the basics of our %UnitTest framework during Caché Foundations class (now called Developing Using InterSystems Objects and SQL). A student asked if it was possible to collect performance statistics while running unit tests. A few weeks later, I added some additional code to the %UnitTest examples to answer this question. I’m finally sharing it on the Community.

The %SYSTEM,Process class provides several metrics that you can collect for a process (other than Duration).

  • Duration
  • Lines Executed
  • Global References
  • System CPU Time
  • User CPU Time
  • Disk Read Time
To enable any unit test to collect these stats, create a subclass of %UnitTest.TestCase, and add properties.
Class Performance.TestCase Extends %UnitTest.TestCase
Property Duration As %Time;
Property Lines As %Integer;
Property Globals As %Integer;
Property SystemCPUTime As %Integer;
Property UserCPUTime As %Integer;
Property DiskReadTime As %Integer;
Any specific unit test class you create should inherit from your new subclass instead of %UnitTest.TestCase.
In the subclass, use OnBeforeOneTest() to initialize the stats collection for each unit test. For everything except DiskReadTime, the code initializes the property with the current value.
/// initialize performance stats
Method OnBeforeOneTest(testname As %String) As %Status
    // initialize with current values
    set ..Duration = $zh
    set ..Lines = $system.Process.LinesExecuted()
    set ..Globals = $system.Process.GlobalReferences()
    set ..SystemCPUTime = $piece(CPUTime, ",", 1)
    set ..UserCPUTime = $piece(CPUTime, ",", 2)
    // reset disk read time to 0 and start counting
    do $system.Process.ResetDiskReadTiming()
    do $system.Process.EnableDiskReadTiming()
    return $$$OK
Use OnAfterOneTest() to finalize the stats collection for each unit test. For everything except DiskReadTime, the code subtracts the initial value from the current value.
/// Finalize performance stats 
/// This is where you could also add code to save the counters to a separate table for analysis.
Method OnAfterOneTest(testname As %String) As %Status
    set ..Duration = $zh - ..Duration
    set ..Lines = $system.Process.LinesExecuted() - ..Lines
    set ..Globals = $system.Process.GlobalReferences() - ..Globals
    set CPUTime = $system.Process.GetCPUTime()
    set ..SystemCPUTime = $piece(CPUTime, ",", 1) - ..SystemCPUTime
    set ..UserCPUTime = $piece(CPUTime, ",", 2) - ..UserCPUTime
    // get disk read time and stop counting
    set ..DiskReadTime = $system.Process.DiskReadMilliseconds()
    do $system.Process.DisableDiskReadTiming()
    // add message to unit test log
    set msg = "Performance: " _
              "Duration: " _           ..Duration _
              ", Lines: " _            ..Lines _
              ", Globals: " _          ..Globals _
              ", System CPU Time: " _ (..SystemCPUTime / 1000) _
              ", User CPU Time: " _   (..UserCPUTime / 1000) _
              ", Disk Read Time: " _  (..DiskReadTime / 1000)
    do $$$LogMessage(msg)
    return $$$OK
There’s one more little trick. You may want to run your unit tests with or without collecting statistics. So, the code where you are invoking your unit tests must take an argument (could be a %Boolean 1 or 0) and somehow pass that in. The methods that actually run the tests (such as RunTest() or one of the other Run*() methods) take an array as the 3rd argument, passed by reference. Here’s an example snippet:
    // create an array to hold the logging argument (1 or 0) and pass it by reference
    set p("logging") = logging
    do ##class(%UnitTest.Manager).RunTest(test, qualifiers, .p)
The value you pass in the array can be accessed in OnBeforeOneTest() and OnAfterOneTest(). Add this as the first line in both methods:
   if (..Manager.UserFields.GetAt("logging") = 0) { return $$$OK }
That’s it! Looking forward to your questions, comments, and additional ideas.
2 2 2 358
Log in or sign up to continue


To get more reliable figures on performance, we usually take the following approach (# 1):

 set nTop=1000000 // number of test repetitions
 for each test_j {
   for i=1:1:nTop {

because it introduces less extra payload and provides more precise measuring than alternative approach (#2):

 set nTop=1000000
 for i=1:1:nTop {
  for each test_j {
 for each test_j {