Monitor your server with VMStat and IOstat

5 min read

If vmstat and iostat commands are not available on your box, please install sysstat package. The vmstatsarand iostat commands are the collection of package included in sysstat – the system monitoring tools. The iostat generates reports of CPU & all device statistics. You may download and install sysstat using source tarball from link sysstat, but we recommend installing through YUM command.

Install Sysstat in Linux

# yum -y install sysstat
  1. vmstat – Summary information of MemoryProcessesPaging etc.
  2. iostat – Central Processing Unit (CPU) statistics and input/output statistics for devices and partitions.

1. List Active and Inactive Memory

In the below example, there are six columns. The significant of the columns are explained in man page of vmstat in details. Most important fields are free under memory and si, so under swap column.

[root@localhost ~]# vmstat -a

procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- --system-- -----cpu-----
 r  b   swpd   free  inact active   si   so    bi    bo   in   cs us sy id wa st
 1  0      0 810420  97380  70628    0    0   115     4   89   79  1  6 90  3  0
  1. Free – Amount of free/idle memory spaces.
  2. si – Swaped in every second from disk in Kilo Bytes.
  3. so – Swaped out every second to disk in Kilo Bytes.

Note: If you run vmstat without parameters it’ll displays summary report since system boot.

2. Execute vmstat ‘X’ seconds and (‘N’number of times)

With this command, vmstat execute every two seconds and stop automatically after executing six intervals.

[root@localhost  ~]# vmstat 2 6

procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- --system-- -----cpu-----
 r  b   swpd   free   buff  cache   si   so    bi    bo   in   cs us sy id wa st
 0  0      0 810420  22064 101368    0    0    56     3   50   57  0  3 95  2  0
 0  0      0 810412  22064 101368    0    0     0     0   16   35  0  0 100  0  0
 0  0      0 810412  22064 101368    0    0     0     0   14   35  0  0 100  0  0
 0  0      0 810412  22064 101368    0    0     0     0   17   38  0  0 100  0  0
 0  0      0 810412  22064 101368    0    0     0     0   17   35  0  0 100  0  0
 0  0      0 810412  22064 101368    0    0     0     0   18   36  0  1 100  0  0

3. Vmstat with timestamps

vmstat command with -t parameter shows timestamps with every line printed as shown below.

 [root@localhost  ~]#  vmstat -t 1 5

procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- --system-- -----cpu------ ---timestamp---
 r  b   swpd   free   buff  cache   si   so    bi    bo   in   cs us sy id wa st
 0  0      0 632028  24992 192244    0    0    70     5   55   78  1  3 95  1  0        2012-09-02 14:57:18 IST
 1  0      0 632028  24992 192244    0    0     0     0  171  514  1  5 94  0  0        2012-09-02 14:57:19 IST
 1  0      0 631904  24992 192244    0    0     0     0  195  600  0  5 95  0  0        2012-09-02 14:57:20 IST
 0  0      0 631780  24992 192244    0    0     0     0  156  524  0  5 95  0  0        2012-09-02 14:57:21 IST
 1  0      0 631656  24992 192244    0    0     0     0  189  592  0  5 95  0  0        2012-09-02 14:57:22 IST

4. Statistics of Various Counter

vmstat command and -s switch displays summary of various event counters and memory statistics.

 [root@localhost  ~]#  vmstat -s

      1030800  total memory
       524656  used memory
       277784  active memory
       185920  inactive memory
       506144  free memory
        26864  buffer memory
       310104  swap cache
      2064376  total swap
            0  used swap
      2064376  free swap
         4539 non-nice user cpu ticks
            0 nice user cpu ticks
        11569 system cpu ticks
       329608 idle cpu ticks
         5012 IO-wait cpu ticks
           79 IRQ cpu ticks
           74 softirq cpu ticks
            0 stolen cpu ticks
       336038 pages paged in
        67945 pages paged out
            0 pages swapped in
            0 pages swapped out
       258526 interrupts
       392439 CPU context switches
   1346574857 boot time
         2309 forks

5. Disks Statistics

vmstat with -d option display all disks statistics.

 [root@localhost  ~]#  vmstat -d

disk- ------------reads------------ ------------writes----------- -----IO------
       total merged sectors      ms  total merged sectors      ms    cur    sec
ram0       0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram1       0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram2       0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram3       0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram4       0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram5       0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram6       0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram7       0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram8       0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram9       0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram10      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram11      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram12      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram13      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram14      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
ram15      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
loop0      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
loop1      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
loop2      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
loop3      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
loop4      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
loop5      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
loop6      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
loop7      0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
sr0        0      0       0       0      0      0       0       0      0      0
sda     7712   5145  668732  409619   3282  28884  257402  644566      0    126
dm-0   11578      0  659242 1113017  32163      0  257384 8460026      0    126
dm-1     324      0    2592    3845      0      0       0       0      0      2

6. Display Statistics in Megabytes

The vmstat displays in Megabytes with parameters -S and M(Uppercase & megabytes). By default vmstatdisplays statistics in kilobytes.

 [root@localhost  ~]#  vmstat -S M 1 5

procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- --system-- -----cpu-----
 r  b   swpd   free   buff  cache   si   so    bi    bo   in   cs us sy id wa st
 0  0      0    346     53    476    0    0    95     8   42   55  0  2 96  2  0
 0  0      0    346     53    476    0    0     0     0   12   15  0  0 100  0  0
 0  0      0    346     53    476    0    0     0     0   32   62  0  0 100  0  0
 0  0      0    346     53    476    0    0     0     0   15   13  0  0 100  0  0
 0  0      0    346     53    476    0    0     0     0   34   61  0  1 99  0  0

6 Iostat Command Examples in Linux

7. Display CPU and I/O statistics

iostat without arguments displays CPU and I/O statistics of all partitions as shown below.

 [root@localhost  ~]#  iostat

Linux 2.6.32-279.el6.i686 (localhost)         09/03/2012      _i686_  (1 CPU)

avg-cpu:  %user   %nice %system %iowait  %steal   %idle
           0.12    0.01    1.54    2.08    0.00   96.24

Device:            tps   Blk_read/s   Blk_wrtn/s   Blk_read   Blk_wrtn
sda               3.59       161.02        13.48    1086002      90882
dm-0              5.76       159.71        13.47    1077154      90864
dm-1              0.05         0.38         0.00       2576          0

8. Shows only CPU Statistics

iostat with -c arguments displays only CPU statistics as shown below.

 [root@localhost  ~]#  iostat -c

Linux 2.6.32-279.el6.i686 (localhost)         09/03/2012      _i686_  (1 CPU)

avg-cpu:  %user   %nice %system %iowait  %steal   %idle
           0.12    0.01    1.47    1.98    0.00   96.42

9. Shows only Disks I/O Statistics

iostat with -d arguments displays only disks I/O statistics of all partitions as shown.

 [root@localhost  ~]#  iostat -d

Linux 2.6.32-279.el6.i686 (localhost)         09/03/2012      _i686_  (1 CPU)

Device:            tps   Blk_read/s   Blk_wrtn/s   Blk_read   Blk_wrtn
sda               3.35       149.81        12.66    1086002      91746
dm-0              5.37       148.59        12.65    1077154      91728
dm-1              0.04         0.36         0.00       2576          0

10. Shows I/O statistics only of a single device.

By default it displays statistics of all partitions, with -p and device name arguments displays only disks I/Ostatistics for specific device only as shown.

 [root@localhost  ~]#  iostat -p sda

Linux 2.6.32-279.el6.i686 (localhost)         09/03/2012      _i686_  (1 CPU)

avg-cpu:  %user   %nice %system %iowait  %steal   %idle
           0.11    0.01    1.44    1.92    0.00   96.52

Device:            tps   Blk_read/s   Blk_wrtn/s   Blk_read   Blk_wrtn
sda               3.32       148.52        12.55    1086002      91770
sda1              0.07         0.56         0.00       4120         18
sda2              3.22       147.79        12.55    1080650      91752

11. Display LVM Statistics

With -N (Uppercase) parameter displays only LVM statistics as shown.

 [root@localhost  ~]#  iostat -N

Linux 2.6.32-279.el6.i686 (localhost)         09/03/2012      _i686_  (1 CPU)

avg-cpu:  %user   %nice %system %iowait  %steal   %idle
           0.11    0.01    1.39    1.85    0.00   96.64

Device:            tps   Blk_read/s   Blk_wrtn/s   Blk_read   Blk_wrtn
sda               3.20       142.84        12.16    1086002      92466
vg_localhost-lv_root     5.13       141.68        12.16    1077154      92448
vg_localhost-lv_swap     0.04         0.34         0.00       2576          0

12. iostat version.

With -V (Uppercase) parameter displays version of iostat as shown.

 [root@localhost  ~]#  iostat -V

sysstat version 9.0.4
(C) Sebastien Godard (sysstat  orange.fr)


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