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7.1. System Resources

Being able to monitor the performance of your system is essential. If system resources become to low it can cause a lot of problems. System resources can be taken up by individual users, or by services your system may host such as email or web pages. The ability to know what is happening can help determine whether system upgrades are needed, or if some services need to be moved to another machine.

7.1.1. The top command.

The most common of these commands is top. The top will display a continually updating report of system resource usage.
# top
 12:10:49  up 1 day,  3:47,  7 users,  load average: 0.23, 0.19, 0.10
125 processes: 105 sleeping, 2 running, 18 zombie, 0 stopped
CPU states:   5.1% user   1.1% system   0.0% nice   0.0% iowait  93.6% idle
Mem:   512716k av,  506176k used,    6540k free,       0k shrd,   21888k buff
Swap: 1044216k av,  161672k used,  882544k free                  199388k cached

  PID USER     PRI  NI  SIZE  RSS SHARE STAT %CPU %MEM   TIME CPU COMMAND
 2330 root      15   0  161M  70M  2132 S     4.9 14.0  1000m   0 X
 2605 weeksa    15   0  8240 6340  3804 S     0.3  1.2   1:12   0 kdeinit
 3413 weeksa    15   0  6668 5324  3216 R     0.3  1.0   0:20   0 kdeinit
18734 root      15   0  1192 1192   868 R     0.3  0.2   0:00   0 top
 1619 root      15   0   776  608   504 S     0.1  0.1   0:53   0 dhclient
    1 root      15   0   480  448   424 S     0.0  0.0   0:03   0 init
    2 root      15   0     0    0     0 SW    0.0  0.0   0:00   0 keventd
    3 root      15   0     0    0     0 SW    0.0  0.0   0:00   0 kapmd
    4 root      35  19     0    0     0 SWN   0.0  0.0   0:00   0 ksoftirqd_CPU0
    9 root      25   0     0    0     0 SW    0.0  0.0   0:00   0 bdflush
    5 root      15   0     0    0     0 SW    0.0  0.0   0:00   0 kswapd
   10 root      15   0     0    0     0 SW    0.0  0.0   0:00   0 kupdated
   11 root      25   0     0    0     0 SW    0.0  0.0   0:00   0 mdrecoveryd
   15 root      15   0     0    0     0 SW    0.0  0.0   0:01   0 kjournald
   81 root      25   0     0    0     0 SW    0.0  0.0   0:00   0 khubd
 1188 root      15   0     0    0     0 SW    0.0  0.0   0:00   0 kjournald
 1675 root      15   0   604  572   520 S     0.0  0.1   0:00   0 syslogd
 1679 root      15   0   428  376   372 S     0.0  0.0   0:00   0 klogd
 1707 rpc       15   0   516  440   436 S     0.0  0.0   0:00   0 portmap
 1776 root      25   0   476  428   424 S     0.0  0.0   0:00   0 apmd
 1813 root      25   0   752  528   524 S     0.0  0.1   0:00   0 sshd
 1828 root      25   0   704  548   544 S     0.0  0.1   0:00   0 xinetd
 1847 ntp       15   0  2396 2396  2160 S     0.0  0.4   0:00   0 ntpd
 1930 root      24   0    76    4     0 S     0.0  0.0   0:00   0 rpc.rquotad

The top portion of the report lists information such as the system time, uptime, CPU usage, physical ans swap memory usage, and number of processes. Below that is a list of the processes sorted by CPU utilization.

You can modify the output of top while is is running. If you hit an i, top will no longer display idle processes. Hit i again to see them again. Hitting M will sort by memory usage, S will sort by how long they processes have been running, and P will sort by CPU usage again.

In addition to viewing options, you can also modify processes from within the top command. You can use u to view processes owned by a specific user, k to kill processes, and r to renice them.

For more in-depth information about processes you can look in the /proc filesystem. In the /proc filesystem you will find a series of sub-directories with numeric names. These directories are associated with the processes ids of currently running processes. In each directory you will find a series of files containing information about the process.

YOU MUST TAKE EXTREME CAUTION TO NOT MODIFY THESE FILES, DOING SO MAY CAUSE SYSTEM PROBLEMS!

7.1.2. The iostat command.

The iostat will display the current CPU load average and disk I/O information. This is a great command to monitor your disk I/O usage.
# iostat
Linux 2.4.20-24.9 (myhost)       12/23/2003

avg-cpu:  %user   %nice    %sys   %idle
          62.09    0.32    2.97   34.62

Device:            tps   Blk_read/s   Blk_wrtn/s   Blk_read   Blk_wrtn
dev3-0            2.22        15.20        47.16    1546846    4799520
For 2.4 kernels the devices is names using the device's major and minor number. In this case the device listed is /dev/hda. To have iostat print this out for you, use the -x.
# iostat -x
Linux 2.4.20-24.9 (myhost)       12/23/2003

avg-cpu:  %user   %nice    %sys   %idle
          62.01    0.32    2.97   34.71

Device:  rrqm/s wrqm/s r/s  w/s rsec/s wsec/s rkB/s wkB/s avgrq-sz avgqu-sz await svctm %util
/dev/hdc   0.00   0.00 .00 0.00   0.00   0.00  0.00  0.00     0.00     2.35  0.00  0.00 14.71
/dev/hda   1.13   4.50 .81 1.39  15.18  47.14  7.59 23.57    28.24     1.99 63.76 70.48 15.56
/dev/hda1  1.08   3.98 .73 1.27  14.49  42.05  7.25 21.02    28.22     0.44 21.82  4.97  1.00
/dev/hda2  0.00   0.51 .07 0.12   0.55   5.07  0.27  2.54    30.35     0.97 52.67 61.73  2.99
/dev/hda3  0.05   0.01 .02 0.00   0.14   0.02  0.07  0.01     8.51     0.00 12.55  2.95  0.01

The iostat man page contains a detailed explanation of what each of these columns mean.

7.1.3. The ps command

The ps will provide you a list of processes currently running. There is a wide variety of options that this command gives you.

A common use would be to list all processes currently running. To do this you would use the ps -ef command. (Screen output from this command is too large to include, the following is only a partial output.)
UID        PID  PPID  C STIME TTY          TIME CMD
root         1     0  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:03 init
root         2     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [keventd]
root         3     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [kapmd]
root         4     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [ksoftirqd_CPU0]
root         9     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [bdflush]
root         5     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [kswapd]
root         6     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [kscand/DMA]
root         7     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:01:28 [kscand/Normal]
root         8     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [kscand/HighMem]
root        10     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [kupdated]
root        11     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [mdrecoveryd]
root        15     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:01 [kjournald]
root        81     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [khubd]
root      1188     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [kjournald]
root      1675     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 syslogd -m 0
root      1679     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 klogd -x
rpc       1707     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 portmap
root      1813     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 /usr/sbin/sshd
ntp       1847     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 ntpd -U ntp
root      1930     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 rpc.rquotad
root      1934     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [nfsd]
root      1942     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [lockd]
root      1943     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 [rpciod]
root      1949     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 rpc.mountd
root      1961     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 /usr/sbin/vsftpd /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf
root      2057     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 /usr/bin/spamd -d -c -a
root      2066     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 gpm -t ps/2 -m /dev/psaux
bin       2076     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 /usr/sbin/cannaserver -syslog -u bin
root      2087     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 crond
daemon    2195     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:00 /usr/sbin/atd
root      2215     1  0 Dec22 ?        00:00:11 /usr/sbin/rcd
weeksa    3414  3413  0 Dec22 pts/1    00:00:00 /bin/bash
weeksa    4342  3413  0 Dec22 pts/2    00:00:00 /bin/bash
weeksa   19121 18668  0 12:58 pts/2    00:00:00 ps -ef

The first column shows who owns the process. The second column is the process ID. The Third column is the parent process ID. This is the process that generated, or started, the process. The forth column is the CPU usage (in percent). The fifth column is the start time, of date if the process has been running long enough. The sixth column is the tty associated with the process, if applicable. The seventh column is the cumulitive CPU usage (total amount of CPU time is has used while running). The eighth column is the command itself.

With this information you can see exacly what is running on your system and kill run-away processes, or those that are causing problems.

7.1.4. The vmstat command

The vmstat command will provide a report showing statistics for system processes, memory, swap, I/O, and the CPU. These statistics are generated using data from the last time the command was run to the present. In the case of the command never being run, the data will be from the last reboot until the present.

# vmstat
   procs                      memory      swap          io     system      cpu
 r  b  w   swpd   free   buff  cache   si   so    bi    bo   in    cs us sy id
 0  0  0 181604  17000  26296 201120    0    2     8    24  149     9 61  3 36

The following was taken from the vmstat man page.

FIELD DESCRIPTIONS
Procs
    r: The number of processes waiting for run time.
    b: The number of processes in uninterruptable sleep.
    w: The number of processes swapped out but otherwise runnable.  This
       field is calculated, but Linux never desperation swaps.

Memory
    swpd: the amount of virtual memory used (kB).
    free: the amount of idle memory (kB).
    buff: the amount of memory used as buffers (kB).

Swap
    si: Amount of memory swapped in from disk (kB/s).
    so: Amount of memory swapped to disk (kB/s).

IO
    bi: Blocks sent to a block device (blocks/s).
    bo: Blocks received from a block device (blocks/s).

System
    in: The number of interrupts per second, including the clock.
    cs: The number of context switches per second.

CPU
    These are percentages of total CPU time.
    us: user time
    sy: system time
    id: idle time

7.1.5. The lsof command

The lsof command will print out a list of every file that is in use. Since Linux considers everythihng a file, this list can be very long. However, this command can be useful in diagnosing problems. An example of this is if you wish to unmount a filesystem, but you are being told that it is in use. You could use this command and grep for the name of the filesystem to see who is using it.

Or suppose you want to see all files in use by a particular process. To do this you would use lsof -p -processid-.

7.1.6. Finding More Utilities

To learn more about what command line tools are available, Chris Karakas has wrote a reference guide titled GNU/Linux Command-Line Tools Summary. It's a good resource for learning what tools are out there and how to do a number of tasks.


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