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Oct 13

Simple ways to collect diagnostic data for analyzing performance problems on Linux

While looking at some threading related issue the other day, I used the following commands for diagnostics.

Collecting paging activity information

To collect paging data, use the following command:

vmstat {time_between_samples_in_seconds} {number_of_samples} \
> vmstat.txt
vmstat 10 10 > vmstat.txt

If you start vmstat when the problem occurs, a value of 10 for time_between_samples_in_seconds and 10 for number_of_samples usually ensures that enough data is collected during the problem. Collect the vmstat.txt file 100 seconds later.

Collecting system CPU usage information

You can gather CPU usage information using the following command:

top -b > top.txt

You can then collect the top.txt file.

Collecting process CPU usage information
Gather process and thread-level CPU activity information at the point at which the problem occurs, using the following command:

top -H -b -c > top_threads.txt
cat top_threads.txt

top - 06:22:10 up 192 days, 19:00,  1 user,  load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00
Tasks: 542 total,   1 running, 541 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
Cpu(s):  1.0%us,  0.0%sy,  0.0%ni, 99.0%id,  0.0%wa,  0.0%hi,  0.0%si,  0.0%st
Mem:  164936028k total, 160272700k used,  4663328k free,        0k buffers
Swap:        0k total,        0k used,        0k free, 64188236k cached

  PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND
24741 xxx      22   0 xxxg  xxxg  11m S  0.0 50.0   0:00.00 java

or if you would like to look into a specific process using PID then issue

top -H -b -c -p <pid> > top_threads_pid.txt

Allow this command to run for a short time. It produces a file called top_threads_pid.txt.

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