Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Monitoring Unix(-like) systems performance

One of the day to day tasks of the Systems Administrator is to monitor the servers he/she manages and makes sure that the services the servers are serving are all working correctly. The SA should be able to interpret the output from the systems monitoring tools when the system is bogging down. This skill alone will dramatically help the SA pinpoint and gather clues on what are the usual suspects that "bogs" the server down. This is very critical to what steps should be taken when dealing with slow/overloaded servers. Service availability are very critical to every organization to have the business running smoothly and continuously.

Now, enter the realm of systems monitoring. On every Unix system, there are a few monitoring tools available and they grow in number as days go by. The most commonly used commands to monitor a Unix systems performance follows (classics):

uptime - Tell how long the system has been running. (More onto this really.)

procinfo - display system status gathered from /proc

who - show who is logged on (Also more onto this.)

top - display top CPU processes (Resource hungry though...)

Those above commands are very useful in determining the actual System LA (Load Average), this metrics can also be used in performance analysis and capacity planning.

The following link below, you will learn System Load Average in the more in depth manner. I would like to thank Dr. Neil Gunther for his wonderful insight. And also everybody that contributes to the Unix and Unix-like Operating Systems. And I would like to encourage every Systems Administrators to always read the man pages.


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