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Table of Contents


sysbench is a scriptable multi-threaded benchmark tool based on LuaJIT. It is most frequently used for database benchmarks, but can also be used to create arbitrarily complex workloads that do not involve a database server.

sysbench comes with the following bundled benchmarks:

  • oltp_*.lua: a collection of OLTP-like database benchmarks
  • fileio: a filesystem-level benchmark
  • cpu: a simple CPU benchmark
  • memory: a memory access benchmark
  • threads: a thread-based scheduler benchmark
  • mutex: a POSIX mutex benchmark


  • extensive statistics about rate and latency is available, including latency percentiles and histograms;
  • low overhead even with thousands of concurrent threads. sysbench is capable of generating and tracking hundreds of millions of events per second;
  • new benchmarks can be easily created by implementing pre-defined hooks in user-provided Lua scripts;
  • can be used as a general-purpose Lua interpreter as well, simply replace #!/usr/bin/lua with #!/usr/bin/sysbench in your script.

Installing from Binary Packages


The easiest way to download and install sysbench on Linux is using binary package repositories hosted by packagecloud. The repositories are automatically updated on each sysbench release. Currently x86_64, i386 and aarch64 binaries are available.

Multiple methods to download and install sysbench packages are available and described at

Quick install instructions:

  • Debian/Ubuntu

    curl -s | sudo bash
    sudo apt -y install sysbench
  • RHEL/CentOS:

    curl -s | sudo bash
    sudo yum -y install sysbench
  • Fedora:

    curl -s | sudo bash	
    sudo dnf -y install sysbench
  • Arch Linux:

    sudo pacman -Suy sysbench


On macOS, up-to-date sysbench packages are available from Homebrew:

# Add --with-postgresql if you need PostgreSQL support
brew install sysbench


As of sysbench 1.0 support for native Windows builds was dropped. It may be re-introduced in later releases. Currently, the recommended way to obtain sysbench on Windows is using Windows Subsystem for Linux available in Windows 10.

After installing WSL and getting into he bash prompt on Windows following Debian/Ubuntu installation instructions is sufficient. Alternatively, one can use WSL to build and install sysbench from source, or use an older sysbench release to build a native binary.

Building and Installing From Source

It is recommended to install sysbench from the official binary packages as described in Installing from Binary Packages. Below are instruction for cases when you want to use sysbench on an architecture for which no binary packages are available.

Build Requirements


As of sysbench 1.0 support for native Windows builds was dropped. It may be re-introduced in later versions. Currently, the recommended way to build sysbench on Windows is using Windows Subsystem for Linux available in Windows 10.

After installing WSL and getting into bash prompt on Windows, following Debian/Ubuntu build instructions is sufficient. Alternatively, one can build and use an older 0.5 release on Windows.


    apt -y install make automake libtool pkg-config libaio-dev
    # For MySQL support
    apt -y install libmysqlclient-dev libssl-dev
    # For PostgreSQL support
    apt -y install libpq-dev


    yum -y install make automake libtool pkgconfig libaio-devel
    # For MySQL support, replace with mysql-devel on RHEL/CentOS 5
    yum -y install mariadb-devel openssl-devel
    # For PostgreSQL support
    yum -y install postgresql-devel


    dnf -y install make automake libtool pkgconfig libaio-devel
    # For MySQL support
    dnf -y install mariadb-devel openssl-devel
    # For PostgreSQL support
    dnf -y install postgresql-devel


Assuming you have Xcode (or Xcode Command Line Tools) and Homebrew installed:

    brew install automake libtool openssl pkg-config
    # For MySQL support
    brew install mysql
    # For PostgreSQL support
    brew install postgresql
    # openssl is not linked by Homebrew, this is to avoid "ld: library not found for -lssl"
    export LDFLAGS=-L/usr/local/opt/openssl/lib 

Build and Install

    # Add --with-pgsql to build with PostgreSQL support
    make -j
    make install

The above will build sysbench with MySQL support by default. If you have MySQL headers and libraries in non-standard locations (and no mysql_config can be found in the PATH), you can specify them explicitly with --with-mysql-includes and --with-mysql-libs options to ./configure.

To compile sysbench without MySQL support, use --without-mysql. If no database drivers are available database-related scripts will not work, but other benchmarks will be functional.


General Syntax

The general command line syntax for sysbench is:

	  sysbench [options]... [testname] [command] 
  • testname is an optional name of a built-in test (e.g. fileio, memory, cpu, etc.), or a name of one of the bundled Lua scripts (e.g. oltp_read_only), or a path to a custom Lua script. If no test name is specified on the command line (and thus, there is no command too, as in that case it would be parsed as a testname), or the test name is a dash ("-"), then sysbench expects a Lua script to execute on its standard input.

  • command is an optional argument that will be passed by sysbench to the built-in test or script specified with testname. command defines the action that must be performed by the test. The list of available commands depends on a particular test. Some tests also implement their own custom commands.

    Below is a description of typical test commands and their purpose:

    • prepare: performs preparative actions for those tests which need them, e.g. creating the necessary files on disk for the fileio test, or filling the test database for database benchmarks.
    • run: runs the actual test specified with the testname argument. This command is provided by all tests.
    • cleanup: removes temporary data after the test run in those tests which create one.
    • help: displays usage information for the test specified with the testname argument. This includes the full list of commands provided by the test, so it should be used to get the available commands.
  • options is a list of zero or more command line options starting with '--'. As with commands, the sysbench testname help command should be used to describe available options provided by a particular test.

    See General command line options for a description of general options provided by sysbench itself.

You can use sysbench --help to display the general command line syntax and options.

General Command Line Options

The table below lists the supported common options, their descriptions and default values:

Option Description Default value
--threads The total number of worker threads to create 1
--events Limit for total number of requests. 0 (the default) means no limit 0
--time Limit for total execution time in seconds. 0 means no limit 10
--warmup-time Execute events for this many seconds with statistics disabled before the actual benchmark run with statistics enabled. This is useful when you want to exclude the initial period of a benchmark run from statistics. In many benchmarks, the initial period is not representative because CPU/database/page and other caches need some time to warm up 0
--rate Average transactions rate. The number specifies how many events (transactions) per seconds should be executed by all threads on average. 0 (default) means unlimited rate, i.e. events are executed as fast as possible 0
--thread-init-timeout Wait time in seconds for worker threads to initialize 30
--thread-stack-size Size of stack for each thread 32K
--report-interval Periodically report intermediate statistics with a specified interval in seconds. Note that statistics produced by this option is per-interval rather than cumulative. 0 disables intermediate reports 0
--debug Print more debug info off
--validate Perform validation of test results where possible off
--help Print help on general syntax or on a specified test, and exit off
--verbosity Verbosity level (0 - only critical messages, 5 - debug) 4
--percentile sysbench measures execution times for all processed requests to display statistical information like minimal, average and maximum execution time. For most benchmarks it is also useful to know a request execution time value matching some percentile (e.g. 95% percentile means we should drop 5% of the most long requests and choose the maximal value from the remaining ones). This option allows to specify a percentile rank of query execution times to count 95
--luajit-cmd perform a LuaJIT control command. This option is equivalent to luajit -j. See LuaJIT documentation for more information

Note that numerical values for all size options (like --thread-stack-size in this table) may be specified by appending the corresponding multiplicative suffix (K for kilobytes, M for megabytes, G for gigabytes and T for terabytes).

Random Numbers Options

sysbench provides a number of algorithms to generate random numbers that are distributed according to a given probability distribution. The table below lists options that can be used to control those algorithms.

Option Description Default value
--rand-type random numbers distribution {uniform, gaussian, special, pareto, zipfian} to use by default. Benchmark scripts may choose to use either the default distribution, or specify it explictly, i.e. override the default. special
--rand-seed seed for random number generator. When 0, the current time is used as an RNG seed. 0
--rand-spec-iter number of iterations for the special distribution 12
--rand-spec-pct percentage of the entire range where 'special' values will fall in the special distribution 1
--rand-spec-res percentage of 'special' values to use for the special distribution 75
--rand-pareto-h shape parameter for the Pareto distribution 0.2
--rand-zipfian-exp shape parameter (theta) for the Zipfian distribution 0.8


For transparency and insight into its release cycle, and for striving to maintain backward compatibility, sysbench will be maintained under the Semantic Versioning guidelines as much as possible.

Releases will be numbered with the following format:


And constructed with the following guidelines:

  • Breaking backward compatibility bumps the major (and resets the minor and patch)
  • New additions without breaking backward compatibility bumps the minor (and resets the patch)
  • Bug fixes and misc changes bumps the patch

For more information on SemVer, please visit