UNIX Unleashed, System Administrator's Edition
- 22 -
By Ronald Rose; edited by Chris Byers
Chapter 21, "System Accounting," teaches about the UNIX accounting system, and the tools that the accounting system provides. Some of these utilities and reports give you information about system utilization and performance. Some of these can be used when investigating performance problems.
In this portion of the book, you will learn all about performance monitoring. There are a series of commands that enable system administrators, programmers, and users to examine each of the resources that a UNIX system uses. By examining these resources you can determine if the system is operating properly or poorly. More important than the commands themselves, you will also learn strategies and procedures that can be used to search for performance problems. Armed with both the commands and the overall methodologies with which to use them, you will understand the factors that are affecting system performance, and what can be done to optimize them so that the system performs at its best.
Although this chapter is helpful for users, it is particularly directed at new system administrators that are actively involved in keeping the system they depend on healthy, or trying to diagnose what has caused its performance to deteriorate.
This chapter introduces several new tools to use in your system investigations.
The sequence of the chapter is not based on particular commands. It is instead based on the steps and the strategies that you will use during your performance investigations. In other words, the chapter is organized to mirror the logical progression that a system administrator uses to determine the state of the overall system and the status of each of its subsystems.
You will frequently start your investigations by quickly looking at the overall state of the system load, as described in the section "Monitoring the Overall System Status." To do this you see how the commands uptime and sar can be used to examine the system load and the general level of Central Processing Unit (CPU) loading. You also see how tools such as SunOS's perfmeter can be helpful in gaining a graphic, high-level view of several components at once.
Next, in the section "Monitoring Processes with ps," you learn how ps can be used to determine the characteristics of the processes that are running on your system. This is a natural next step after you have determined that the overall system status reflects a heavier-than-normal loading. You will learn how to use ps to look for processes that are consuming inordinate amounts of resources and the steps to take after you have located them.
After you have looked at the snapshot of system utilization that ps gives you, you may well have questions about how to use the memory or disk subsystems. So, in the next section, "Monitoring Memory Utilization," you learn how to monitor memory performance with tools such as vmstat and sar, and how to detect when paging and swapping have become excessive (thus indicating that memory must be added to the system).
In the section "Monitoring Disk Subsystem Performance," you see how tools such as iostat, sar, and df can be used to monitor disk Input/Output (I/O) performance. You will see how to determine when your disk subsystem is unbalanced and what to do to alleviate disk performance problems.
After the section on disk I/O performance is a related section on network performance. (It is related to the disk I/O discussion because of the prevalent use of networks to provide extensions of local disk service through such facilities as NFS.) Here you learn to use netstat, nfsstat, and spray to determine the condition of your network.
This is followed by a brief discussion of CPU performance monitoring, and finally a section on kernel tuning. In this final section, you will learn about the underlying tables that reside within the UNIX operating system and how they can be tuned to customize your system's UNIX kernel and optimize its use of resources.
You have seen before in this book that the diversity of UNIX systems make it important to check each vendor's documentation for specific details about their particular implementation. The same thing applies here as well. Furthermore, modern developments such as symmetric multiprocessor support and relational databases add new characteristics and problems to the challenge of performance monitoring. These are touched on briefly in the discussions that follow.
Performance and Its Impact on Users
Before you get into the technical side of UNIX performance monitoring, there are a few guidelines that can help system administrators avoid performance problems and maximize their overall effectiveness.
All too typically, the UNIX system administrator learns about performance when there is a critical problem with the system. Perhaps the system is taking too long to process jobs or is far behind on the number of jobs that it normally processes. Perhaps the response times for users have deteriorated to the point where users are becoming distracted and unproductive (which is a polite way of saying frustrated and angry!). In any case, if the system isn't actually failing to help its users attain their particular goals, it is at least failing to meet their expectations.
It may seem obvious that when user productivity is being affected, money and time, and sometimes a great deal of both, are being lost. Simple measurements of the amount of time lost can often provide the cost justification for upgrades to the system. In this chapter you learn how to identify which components of the system are the best candidates for such an upgrade. (If you think people were unhappy to begin with, try talking to them after an expensive upgrade has produced no discernible improvement in performance!)
Often, it is only when users begin complaining that people begin to examine the variables that are affecting performance. This in itself is somewhat of a problem. The system administrator should have a thorough understanding of the activities on the system before users are affected by a crisis. He should know the characteristics of each group of users on the system. This includes the type of work that they submit while they are present during the day, as well as the jobs that are to be processed during the evening. What is the size of the CPU requirement, the I/O requirement, and the memory requirement of the most frequently occurring and/or the most important jobs? What impact do these jobs have on the networks connected to the machine? Also important is the time-sensitivity of the jobs, the classic example being payrolls that must be completed by a given time and date.
These profiles of system activity and user requirements can help the system administrator acquire a holistic understanding of the activity on the system. That knowledge will not only be of assistance if there is a sudden crisis in performance, but also if there is a gradual erosion of it. Conversely, if the system administrator has not compiled a profile of his various user groups, and examined the underlying loads that they impose on the system, he will be at a serious disadvantage in an emergency when it comes to figuring out where all the CPU cycles, or memory, have gone. This chapter examines the tools that can be used to gain this knowledge, and demonstrates their value.
Finally, although all users may have been created equal, the work of some users inevitably will have more impact on corporate profitability than the work of other users. Perhaps, given UNIX's academic heritage, running the system in a completely democratic manner should be the goal of the system administrator. However, the system administrator will sooner or later find out, either politely or painfully, who the most important and the most influential groups are. This set of characteristics should also somehow be factored into the user profiles the system administrator develops before the onset of crises, which by their nature obscure the reasoning process of all involved.
Introduction to UNIX Performance
While the system is running, UNIX maintains several counters to keep track of critical system resources. The relevant resources that are tracked are the following:
By looking at reports based on these counters you can determine how the three major subsystems are performing. These subsystems are the following:
Performance monitoring and tuning is not always an exact science. In the displays that follow, there is a great deal of variety in the system/subsystem loadings, even for the small sample of systems used here. In addition, different user groups have widely differing requirements. Some users will put a strain on the I/O resources, some on the CPU, and some will stress the network. Performance tuning is always a series of trade-offs. As you will see, increasing the kernel size to alleviate one problem may aggravate memory utilization. Increasing NFS performance to satisfy one set of users may reduce performance in another area and thereby aggravate another set of users. The goal of the task is often to find an optimal compromise that will satisfy the majority of user and system resource needs.
Monitoring the Overall System Status
The examination of specific UNIX performance monitoring techniques begins with a look at three basic tools that give you a snapshot of the overall performance of the system. After getting this high-level view, you will normally proceed to examine each of the subsystems in detail.
Monitoring System Status Using uptime
One of the simplest reports that you use to monitor UNIX system performance measures the number of processes in the UNIX run queue during given intervals. It comes from the command uptime. It is both a high-level view of the system's workload and a handy starting place when the system seems to be performing slowly. In general, processes in the run queue are active programs (that is, not sleeping or waiting) that require system resources. Here is an example:
% uptime 2:07pm up 11 day(s), 4:54, 15 users, load average: 1.90, 1.98, 2.01
The useful parts of the display are the three load-average figures. The 1.90 load average was measured over the last minute. The 1.98 average was measured over the last 5 minutes. The 2.01 load average was measured over the last 15 minutes.
Run uptime periodically and observe both the numbers and the trend. When there is a problem it will often show up here, and tip you off to begin serious investigations. As system loads increase, more demands will be made on your memory and I/O subsystems, so keep an eye out for paging, swapping, and disk inefficiencies. System loads of 2 or 3 usually indicate light loads. System loads of 5 or 6 are usually medium-grade loads. Loads above 10 are often heavy loads on large UNIX machines. However, there is wide variation among types of machines as to what constitutes a heavy load. Therefore, the mentioned technique of sampling your system regularly until you have your own reference for light, medium, and heavy loads is the best technique.
Monitoring System Status Using perfmeter
Because the goal of this first section is to give you the tools to view your overall system performance, a brief discussion of graphical performance meters is appropriate. SUN Solaris users are provided with an OpenWindows XView tool called perfmeter, which summarizes overall system performance values in multiple dials or strip charts. Strip charts are the default. Not all UNIX systems come with such a handy tool. That's too bad because in this case a picture is worth, if not a thousand words, at least 30 or 40 man pages. In this concise format, you get information about the system resources shown in Table 22.1:
Table 22.1. System resources and their descriptions.
The charts of the perfmeter are not a source for precise measurements of subsystem performance, but they are graphic representations of them. However, the chart can be very useful for monitoring several aspects of the system at the same time. When you start a particular job, the graphics can demonstrate the impact of that job on the CPU, on disk transfers, and on paging. Many developers like to use the tool to assess the efficiency of their work for this very reason. Likewise, system administrators use the tool to get valuable clues about where to start their investigations. As an example, when faced with intermittent and transitory problems, glancing at a perfmeter and then going directly to the proper display may increase the odds that you can catch in the act the process that is degrading the system.
The scale value for the strip chart changes automatically when the chart refreshes to accommodate increasing or decreasing values on the system. You add values to be monitored by clicking the right mouse button and selecting from the menu. From the same menu you can select properties, which will let you modify what the perfmeter is monitoring, the format (dials/graphs, direction of the displays, and solid/lined display), remote/local machine choice, and the frequency of the display.
You can also set a ceiling value for a particular strip chart. If the value goes beyond the ceiling value, this portion of the chart will be displayed in red. Thus, a system administrator who knows that someone is periodically running a job that eats up all the CPU memory can set a signal that the job may be run again. The system administrator can also use this to monitor the condition of critical values from several feet away from his monitor. If he or she sees red, other users may be seeing red, too.
The perfmeter is a utility provided with SunOS. You should check your own particular UNIX operating system to determine if similar performance tools are provided.
Monitoring System Status Using sar -q
If your machine does not support uptime, there is an option for sar that can provide the same type of quick, high-level snapshot of the system. The -q option reports the average queue length and the percentage of time that the queue is occupied.
% sar -q 5 5 07:28:37 runq-sz %runocc swpq-sz %swpocc 07:28:42 5.0 100 _ 07:28:47 5.0 100 _ 07:28:52 4.8 100 _ 07:28:57 4.8 100 _ 07:29:02 4.6 100 _ Average 4.8 100 _
The fields in this report are the following:
The run queue length is used in a similar way to the load averages of uptime. Typically the number is less than 2 if the system is operating properly. Consistently higher values indicate that the system is under heavier loads, and is quite possibly CPU bound. When the run queue length is high and the run queue percentage is occupied 100% of the time, as it is in this example, the system's idle time is minimized, and it is good to be on the lookout for performance-related problems in the memory and disk subsystems. However, there is still no activity indicated in the swapping columns in the example. You will learn about swapping in the next section, and see that although this system is obviously busy, the lack of swapping is a partial vote of confidence that it may still be functioning properly.
Monitoring System Status Using sar -u
Another quick and easy tool to use to determine overall system utilization is sar with the -u option. CPU utilization is shown by -u, and sar without any options defaults on most versions of UNIX to this option. The CPU is either busy or idle. When it is busy, it is either working on user work or system work. When it is not busy, it is either waiting on I/O or it is idle.
% sar -u 5 5 13:16:58 %usr %sys %wio %idle 13:17:03 40 10 13 38 13:17:08 31 6 48 14 13:17:13 42 15 9 34 13:17:18 41 15 10 35 13:17:23 41 15 11 33 Average 39 12 18 31
The fields in the report are the following:
In this example, you see a system with ample CPU capacity left (that is, the average idle percentage is 31 percent). The system is spending most of its time on user tasks, so user programs are probably not too inefficient with their use of system calls. The I/O wait percentage indicates an application that is making a fair amount of demands on the I/O subsystem.
Most administrators would argue that %idle should be in the low 'teens rather than 0, at least when the system is under load. If it is 0 it doesn't necessarily mean that the machine is operating poorly. However, it is usually a good bet that the machine is out of spare computational capacity and should be upgraded to the next level of CPU speed. The reason to upgrade the CPU is in anticipation of future growth of user processing requirements. If the system work load is increasing, even if the users haven't yet encountered the problem, why not anticipate the requirement? On the other hand, if the CPU idle time is high under heavy load, a CPU upgrade will probably not help improve performance much.
Idle time will generally be higher when the load average is low.
A high load average and idle time is a symptom of potential problems. Either the memory or the I/O subsystems, or both, are hindering the swift dispatch and completion of the jobs. You should review the following sections that show how to look for paging, swapping, disk, or network-related problems.
Monitoring Processes with ps
You have probably noticed that, while throughout the rest of this chapter the commands are listed under the topic in which they are used (for example, nfsstat is listed in the section "Monitoring Network Performance"), this section is dedicated to just one command. What's so special about ps? It is singled out in this manner because of the way that it is used in the performance monitoring process. It is a starting point for generating theories (for example, processes are using up so much memory that you are paging and that is slowing down the system). Conversely, it is an ending point for confirming theories (for example, here is a burst of network activity--I wonder if it is caused by that communications test job that the programmers keep running?). Since it is so pivotal, and provides a unique snapshot of the processes on the system, ps is given its own section.
One of the most valuable commands for performance monitoring is the ps command. It enables you to monitor the status of the active processes on the system. Remember the words from the movie Casablanca, "round up the usual suspects"? Well, ps helps to identify the usual suspects (that is, suspect processes that could be using inordinate resources). Then you can proceed to determine which of the suspects is actually guilty of causing the performance degradation. It is at once a powerful tool and a source of overhead for the system itself. Using various options, the following information is shown:
Using ps provides you a snapshot of the system's active processes. It is used in conjunction with other commands throughout this section. Frequently, you will look at a report from a command, for example vmstat, and then look to ps either to confirm or to deny a theory you have come up with about the nature of your system's problem. The particular performance problem that motivated you to look at ps in the first place may have been caused by a process that is already off the list. It provides a series of clues to use in generating theories that can then be tested by detailed analysis of the particular subsystem.
The following are the fields from the output of the ps command that are
important in terms of performance tuning:
If your problem is immediate performance, you can disregard processes that are sleeping, stopped, or waiting on terminal I/O, as these will probably not be the source of the degradation. Look instead for the jobs that are ready to run, blocked for disk I/O, or paging.
% ps -el F S UID PID PPID C PRI NI ADDR SZ WCHAN TTY TIME COMD 19 T 0 0 0 80 0 SY e00ec978 0 ? 0:01 sched 19 S 0 2 0 80 0 SY f5735000 0 e00eacdc ? 0:05 pageout 8 S 1001 1382 1 80 40 20 f5c6a000 1227 e00f887c console 0:02 mailtool 8 S 1001 1386 1 80 40 20 f60ed000 819 e00f887c console 0:28 perfmete 8 S 1001 28380 28377 80 40 20 f67c0000 5804 f5cfd146 ? 85:02 sqlturbo 8 S 1001 28373 1 80 40 20 f63c6000 1035 f63c61c8 ? 0:07 cdrl_mai 8 S 1001 28392 1 80 40 20 f67ce800 1035 f67ce9c8 ? 0:07 cdrl_mai 8 S 1001 28391 28388 80 40 20 f690a800 5804 f60dce46 ? 166:39 sqlturbo 8 S 1001 28361 1 80 60 20 f67e1000 30580 e00f887c ? 379:35 mhdms 8 S 1001 28360 1 80 40 20 f68e1000 12565 e00f887c ? 182:22 mhharris 8 O 1001 10566 10512 19 70 20 f6abb800 152 pts/14 0:00 ps 8 S 1001 28388 1 80 40 20 f6384800 216 f60a0346 ? 67:51 db_write 8 S 1000 7750 7749 80 40 20 f6344800 5393 f5dad02c pts/2 31:47 tbinit 8 O 1001 9538 9537 80 81 22 f6978000 5816 ? 646:57 sqlturbo 8 S 1033 3735 3734164 40 20 f63b8800 305 f60e0d46 pts/9 0:00 ksh 8 S 1033 5228 5227 80 50 20 f68a8800 305 f60dca46 pts/7 0:00 ksh 8 S 1001 28337 1 80 99 20 f6375000 47412 f63751c8 ? 1135:50 velox_ga
The following are tips for using ps to determine why system performance is suffering.
Look at the UID (user ID) fields for a number of identical jobs that are being submitted by the same user. This is often caused by a user who runs a script that starts a lot of background jobs without waiting for any of the jobs to complete. Sometimes you can safely use kill to terminate some of the jobs. Whenever you can, you should discuss this with the user before you take action. In any case, be sure the user is educated in the proper use of the system to avoid a replication of the problem. In the example, User ID 1001 has multiple instances of the same process running. In this case, it is a normal situation, in which multiple processes are spawned at the same time for searching through database tables to increase interactive performance.
Look at the TIME fields for a process that has accumulated a large amount of CPU time. In the example, you can see the large amount of time acquired by the processes whose command is shown as velox_ga. This may indicate that the process is in an infinite loop, or that something else is wrong with its logic. Check with the user to determine whether it is appropriate to terminate the job. If something is wrong, ask the user if a dump of the process would assist in debugging it (check your UNIX system's reference material for commands, such as gcore, that can dump a process).
Request the -l option and look at the SZ fields for processes that are consuming too much memory. In the example you can see the large amount of memory acquired by the processes whose command is shown as velox_ga. You could check with the user of this process to try to determine why it behaves this way. Attempting to renice the process may simply prolong the problem that it is causing, so you may have to kill the job instead. SZ fields may also give you a clue as to memory shortage problems caused by this particular combination of jobs. You can use vmstat or sar -wpgr to check the paging and swapping statistics that are examined.
Look for processes that are consuming inordinate CPU resources. Request the -c option and look at the CLS fields for processes that are running at inappropriately high priorities. Use the nice command to adjust the nice value of the process. Beware in particular of any real-time (RT) process, which can often dominate the system. If the priority is higher than you expected, you should check with the user to determine how it was set. If he is resetting the priority because he has figured out the superuser password, dissuade him from doing this. (See Chapter 19 to find out more about using the nice command to modify the priorities of processes.)
If the processes that are running are simply long-running, CPU-intensive jobs, ask the users if you can nice them to a lower priority or if they can run them at night, when other users will not be affected by them.
Look for processes that are blocking on I/O. Many of the example processes are in this state. When that is the case, the disk subsystem probably requires tuning. The section "Monitoring Disk Performance Using vmstat" examines how to investigate problems with your disk I/O. If the processes are trying to read/write over NFS, this may be a symptom that the NFS server to which they are attached is down, or that the network itself is hung.
Monitoring Memory Utilization
You could say that one can never have too much money, be too thin, or have too much system memory. Memory sometimes becomes a problematic resource when programs that are running require more physical memory than is available. When this occurs UNIX systems begin a process called paging. During paging the system copies pages of physical memory to disk, and then allows the now-vacated memory to be used by the process that required the extra space. Occasional paging can be tolerated by most systems, but frequent and excessive paging is usually accompanied by poor system performance and unhappy users.
UNIX Memory Management
Paging uses an algorithm that selects portions, or pages, of memory that are not being used frequently and displaces them to disk. The more frequently used portions of memory, which may be the most active parts of a process, thus remain in memory, while other portions of the process that are idle get paged out.
In addition to paging, there is a similar technique used by the memory management system called swapping. Swapping moves entire processes, rather than just pages, to disk in order to free up memory resources. Some swapping may occur under normal conditions. That is, some processes may just be idle enough (for example, due to sleeping) to warrant their return to disk until they become active once more. Swapping can become excessive, however, when severe memory shortages develop. Interactive performance can degrade quickly when swapping increases since it often depends on keyboard-dependent processes (for example, editors) that are likely to be considered idle as they wait for you to start typing again.
As the condition of your system deteriorates, paging and swapping make increasing demands on disk I/O. This, in turn, may further slow down the execution of jobs submitted to the system. Thus, memory resource inadequacies may result in I/O resource problems.
By now, it should be apparent that it is important to be able to know if the system has enough memory for the applications that are being used on it.
Both vmstat and sar provide information about the paging and swapping characteristics of a system. Let's start with vmstat. On the vmstat reports you will see information about page-ins, or pages moved from disk to memory, and page-outs, or pages moved from memory to disk. Further, you will see information about swap-ins, or processes moved from disk to memory, and swap-outs, or processes moved from memory to disk.
Monitoring Memory Performance Using vmstat
The vmstat command is used to examine virtual memory statistics, and present data on process status, free and swap memory, paging activity, disk reports, CPU load, swapping, cache flushing, and interrupts. The format of the command is:
vmstat t [n]
This command takes n samples, at t second intervals. For example, the following frequently used version of the command takes samples at 5-second intervals without stopping until canceled:
The following screen shows the output from the SunOS variant of the command
vmstat -S 5
which provides extra information regarding swapping.
procs memory page disk faults cpu r b w swap free si so pi po fr de sr s0 s3 s5 s5 in sy cs us sy id 0 2 0 16516 9144 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 34 12 366 1396 675 14 9 76 0 3 0 869384 29660 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 63 15 514 10759 2070 19 17 64 0 2 0 869432 29704 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 3 64 11 490 2458 2035 16 13 72 0 3 0 869448 29696 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 65 13 464 2528 2034 17 12 71 0 3 0 869384 29684 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 68 18 551 2555 2136 16 14 70 0 2 0 869188 29644 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 2 3 65 10 432 2495 2013 18 9 73 0 3 0 869176 29612 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 61 16 504 2527 2053 17 11 71 0 2 0 869156 29600 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 69 8 438 15820 2027 20 18 62
The fields in the vmstat report are the following:
Let's look at some of these fields for clues about system performance. As far as memory performance goes, po and w are very important. For people using the -S option so is similarly important. These fields all clearly show when a system is paging and swapping. If w is non-zero and so continually indicates swapping, the system probably has a serious memory problem. If, likewise, po consistently has large numbers present, the system probably has a significant memory resource problem.
Other fields from the vmstat output are helpful, as well. The number of runnable and blocked processes can provide a good indication of the flow of processes, or lack thereof, through the system. Similarly, comparing each percentage CPU idle versus CPU in system state, and versus CPU in user state, can provide information about the overall composition of the workload. As the load increases on the system, it is a good sign if the CPU is spending the majority of the time in the user state. Loads of 60 or 70 percent for CPU user state are ok. Idle CPU should drop as the user load picks up, and under heavy load may well fall to 0.
If paging and swapping are occurring at an unusually high rate, it may be due to the number and types of jobs that are running. Usually you can turn to ps to determine what those jobs are.
Imagine that ps shows a large number of jobs that require significant memory resources. (You saw how to determine this in the ps discussion in the previous section.) That would confirm the vmstat report. To resolve the problem, you would have to restrict memory-intensive jobs, or the use of memory, or add more memory physically.
If you are using HP-UX, you would get a slightly different output from vmstat. For example, if you run vmstat 5 3, you would get something similar to the following output:
procfs memory page faults cpu r b w avm free re at pi po fr de sr in sy cs us sy id 4 0 0 1161 2282 6 22 48 0 0 0 0 429 289 65 44 18 18 9 0 0 1161 1422 4 30 59 0 0 0 0 654 264 181 18 20 62 6 0 0 1409 1247 2 19 37 0 0 0 0 505 316 130 47 10 43
If you compare the two outputs, you see that there are three new metrics (avm, re and at), two metrics not included (swap and so), and one category not included here (disk).
In the fourth column, you see the new metric avm. This is the number of virtual memory pages owned by processes that have run within the last 20 seconds. Should this number grow to roughly the size of physical memory minus your kernel, then your system is near paging.
The next new metric, re, shows the pages which were reclaimed. If this number gets very high, then you are wasting valuable time trying to salvage paging space. This is a good indicator that your system does not have adequate memory installed. The metric at is not very useful.
This version of vmstat is missing two metrics: swap and so. Swap is replaced with avm, as avm shows the number of virtual memory pages. The si and so metrics are missing, as they are related to the swap metric.
The disk category is not included with this version of vmstat, as most disk io is already shown with the iostat utility.
Monitoring Memory Performance with sar -wpgr
More information about the system's utilization of memory resources can be obtained by using sar -wpgr.
% sar -wpgr 5 5 07:42:30 swpin/s pswin/s swpot/s bswot/s pswch/s atch/s pgin/s ppgin/s pflt/s vflt/s slock/s pgout/s ppgout/s pgfree/s pgscan/s %s5ipf freemem freeswp 07:42:35 0.00 0.0 0.00 0.0 504 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 6.20 11.78 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 33139 183023 ... Average 0.00 0.0 0.00 0.0 515 Average 0.00 0.32 0.40 2.54 5.56 16.83 Average 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 Average 32926 183015
The fields in the report are the following:
You should use the report to examine each of the following conditions. Any one of them would imply that you may have a memory problem. Combinations of them increase the likelihood all the more.
Check for page-outs, and watch for their consistent occurrence. Look for a high incidence of address translation faults. Check for swap-outs. If they are occasional, it may not be a cause for concern as some number of them is normal (for example, inactive jobs). However, consistent swap-outs are usually bad news, indicating that the system is very low on memory and is probably sacrificing active jobs. If you find memory shortage evidence in any of these, you can use ps to look for memory-intensive jobs, as you saw in the section on ps.
Multiprocessor Implications of vmstat
In the CPU columns of the report, the vmstat command summarizes the performance of multiprocessor systems. If you have a two-processor system and the CPU load is reflected as 50 percent, it doesn't necessarily mean that both processors are equally busy. Rather, depending on the multiprocessor implementation it can indicate that one processor is almost completely busy and the next is almost idle.
The first column of vmstat output also has implications for multiprocessor systems. If the number of runnable processes is not consistently greater than the number of processors, it is less likely that you can get significant performance increases from adding more CPUs to your system.
Monitoring Disk Subsystem Performance
Disk operations are the slowest of all operations that must be completed to enable most programs to complete. Furthermore, as more and more UNIX systems are being used for commercial applications, and particularly those that utilize relational database systems, the subject of disk performance has become increasingly significant with regard to overall system performance. Therefore, probably more than ever before, UNIX system tuning activities often turn out to be searches for unnecessary and inefficient disk I/O. Before you learn about the commands that can help you monitor your disk I/O performance, some background is appropriate.
Some of the major disk performance variables are the hard disk activities themselves (that is, rotation and arm movement), the I/O controller card, the I/O firmware and software, and the I/O backplane of the system.
For example, for a given disk operation to be completed successfully, the disk controller must be directed to access the information from the proper part of the disk. This results in a delay known as a queuing delay. When it has located the proper part of the disk, the disk arm must begin to position itself over the correct cylinder. This results in a delay called seek latency. The read/write head must then wait for the relevant data to happen as the disk rotates underneath it. This is known as rotational latency. The data must then be transferred to the controller. Finally, the data must be transferred over the I/O backplane of the system to be used by the application that requested the information.
If you think about your use of a compact disk, many of the operations are similar in nature. The CD platter contains information, and is spinning all the time. When you push 5 to request the fifth track of the CD, a controller positions the head that reads the information at the correct area of the disk (similar to the queuing delay and seek latency of disk drives). The rotational latency occurs as the CD spins around until the start of your music passes under the reading head. The data--in this case your favorite song--is then transferred to a controller and then to some digital to analog converters that transform it into amplified musical information that is playable by your stereo.
Seek time is the time required to move the head of the disk from one location of data, or track, to another. Moving from one track to another track that is adjacent to it takes very little time and is called minimum seek time. Moving the head between the two furthest tracks on a disk is measured as the maximum seek time. The average seek time approximates the average amount of time a seek takes.
As data access becomes more random in nature, seek time can become more important. In most commercial database applications that feature relational databases, for example, the data is often being accessed in a random manner, at a high rate, and in relatively small packets (for example, 512 bytes). Therefore, the disk heads are moving back and forth all the time looking for the pertinent data. Therefore, choosing disks that have small seek times for those systems can increase I/O performance.
Many drives have roughly the same rotational speed, measured as revolutions per minute, or RPMs. However, some manufacturers are stepping up the RPM rates of their drives. This can have a positive influence on performance by reducing the rotational delay, which is the time that the disk head has to wait for the information to get to it (that is, on average one-half of a rotation). It also reduces the amount of time required to transfer the read/write information.
Disk I/O Performance Optimization
While reviewing the use of the commands to monitor disk performance, you will see how these clearly show which disks and disk subsystems are being the most heavily used. However, before examining those commands, there are some basic hardware-oriented approaches to this problem that can help increase performance significantly. The main idea is to put the hardware where the biggest disk problem is, and to evenly spread the disk work load over available I/O controllers and disk drives.
If your I/O work load is heavy (for example, with many users constantly accessing large volumes of data from the same set of files), you can probably get significant performance increases by reducing the number of disk drives that are daisy chained off one I/O controller from five or six to two or three. Perhaps doing this will force another daisy chain to increase in size past a total of four or five, but if the disks on that I/O controller are only used intermittently, system performance will be increased overall.
Another example of this type of technique is if you had one group of users that are pounding one set of files all day long, you could locate the most frequently used data on the fastest disks.
Notice that, once again, the more thorough your knowledge of the characteristics of the work being done on your system, the greater the chance that your disk architecture will answer those needs.
Disk-striping software frequently can help in cases where the majority of disk access goes to a handful of disks. Where a large amount of data is making heavy demands on one disk or one controller, striping distributes the data across multiple disks and/or controllers. When the data is striped across multiple disks, the accesses to it are averaged over all the I/O controllers and disks, thus optimizing overall disk throughput. Some disk-striping software also provides Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (RAID) support and the ability to keep one disk in reserve as a hot standby (that is, a disk that can be automatically rebuilt and used when one of the production disks fails). When thought of in this manner, this can be a very useful feature in terms of performance because a system that has been crippled by the failure of a hard drive will be viewed by your user community as having pretty bad performance.
This information may seem obvious, but it is important to the overall performance of a system. Frequently, the answer to disk performance simply rests on matching the disk architecture to the use of the system.
With the increasing use of relational database technologies on UNIX systems, I/O subsystem performance is more important than ever. While analyzing all the relational database systems and making recommendations is beyond the scope of this chapter, some basic concepts are in order.
More and more often these days an application based on a relational database product is the fundamental reason for the procurement of the UNIX system itself. If that is the case in your installation, and if you have relatively little experience in terms of database analysis, you should seek professional assistance. In particular, insist on a database analyst that has had experience tuning your database system on your operating system. Operating systems and relational databases are both complex systems, and the performance interactions between them is difficult for the inexperienced to understand.
The database expert will spend a great deal of time looking at the effectiveness of your allocation of indexes. Large improvements in performance due to the addition or adjustment of a few indexes are quite common.
You should use raw disks versus the file systems for greatest performance. File systems incur more overhead (for example, inode and update block overhead on writes) than do raw devices. Most relational databases clearly reflect this performance advantage in their documentation.
If the database system is extremely active, or if the activity is unbalanced, you should try to distribute the load more evenly across all the I/O controllers and disks that you can. You will see how to determine this in the following section.
Checking Disk Performance with iostat and sar
The two original commands for system monitoring, iostat and sar, are still in very wide use today as reliable, simple, and free tools. As a matter of fact, most system monitoring tools that you can buy today are simply extensions of these programs.
The iostat Command The iostat command is used to examine disk input and output, and produces throughput, utilization, queue length, transaction rate, and service time data. It is similar both in format and in use to vmstat. The format of the command is:
iostat t [n]
This command takes n samples, at t second intervals. For example, the following frequently used version of the command takes samples at 5-second intervals without stopping, until canceled:
For example, the following shows disk statistics sampled at 5-second intervals.
tty sd0 sd30 sd53 sd55 cpu tin tout Kps tps serv Kps tps serv Kps tps serv Kps tps serv us sy wt id 0 26 8 1 57 36 4 20 77 34 24 31 12 30 14 9 47 30 0 51 0 0 0 0 0 0 108 54 36 0 0 0 14 7 78 0 0 47 72 10 258 0 0 0 102 51 38 0 0 0 15 9 76 0 0 58 5 1 9 1 1 23 112 54 33 0 0 0 14 8 77 1 0 38 0 0 0 25 0 90 139 70 17 9 4 25 14 8 73 6 0 43 0 0 0 227 10 23 127 62 32 45 21 20 20 15 65 0
The first line of the report shows the statistics since the last reboot. The subsequent lines show the interval data that is gathered. The default format of the command shows statistics for terminals (tty), for disks (fd and sd), and CPU.
The first two fields, tin and tout, have no relevance to disk subsystem performance, as these fields describe the number of characters waiting in the input and output terminal buffers. The next fields are relevant to disk subsystem performance over the preceding interval. The bps field indicates the size of the data transferred (read or written) to the drive. The tps field describes the transfers (that is, I/O requests) per second that were issued to the physical disk. Note that one transfer can combine multiple logical requests. The serv field is for the length of time, in milliseconds, that the I/O subsystem required to service the transfer. In the last set of fields, note that I/O waiting is displayed under the wt heading.
You can look at the data within the report for information about system performance. As with vmstat, the first line of data is usually irrelevant to your immediate investigation. Looking at the first disk, sd0, you see that it is not being utilized as the other three disks are. Disk 0 is the root disk, and often will show the greatest activity. This system is a commercial relational database implementation, however, and the activity that is shown here is often typical of online transaction processing, or OLTP, requirements. Notice that the activity is mainly on disks sd53 and sd55. The database is being exercised by a high volume of transactions that are updating it (in this case over 100 updates per second).
Disks 30, 53, and 55 are three database disks that are being pounded with updates from the application through the relational database system. Notice that the transfers per second, the kilobytes per second, and the service times are all reflecting a heavier load on disk 53 than on disks 30 and 55. Notice that disk 30's use is more intermittent but can be quite heavy at times, while 53's is more consistent. Ideally, over longer sample periods, the three disks should have roughly equivalent utilization rates. If they continue to show disparities in use like these, you may be able to get a performance increase by determining why the load is unbalanced and taking corrective action.
You can use iostat -xtc to show the measurements across all of the drives in the system.
% iostat -xtc 10 5 _ extended disk statistics tty cpu disk r/s w/s Kr/s Kw/s wait actv svc_t %w %b tin tout us sy wt id sd0 0.0 0.9 0.1 6.3 0.0 0.0 64.4 0 1 0 26 12 11 21 56 sd30 0.2 1.4 0.4 20.4 0.0 0.0 21.5 0 3 _ sd53 2.6 2.3 5.5 4.6 0.0 0.1 23.6 0 9 _ sd55 2.7 2.4 5.6 4.7 0.0 0.1 24.2 0 10 _ ... extended disk statistics tty cpu disk r/s w/s Kr/s Kw/s wait actv svc_t %w %b tin tout us sy wt id sd0 0.0 0.3 0.0 3.1 0.0 0.0 20.4 0 1 0 3557 5 8 14 72 sd30 0.0 0.2 0.1 0.9 0.0 0.0 32.2 0 0 _ sd53 0.1 0.2 0.4 0.5 0.0 0.0 14.6 0 0 _ sd55 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.0 0.0 14.7 0 0 _
This example shows five samples of all disks at 10-second intervals.
Each line shows the following:
Once again, you can check to make sure that all disks are sharing the load equally, or if this is not the case, that the most active disk is also the fastest.
The sar -d Command The sar -d option reports on the disk I/O activity of a system, as well.
% sar -d 5 5 20:44:26 device %busy avque r+w/s blks/s avwait avserv ... 20:44:46 sd0 1 0.0 1 5 0.0 20.1 sd1 0 0.0 0 0 0.0 0.0 sd15 0 0.0 0 0 0.0 0.0 sd16 1 0.0 0 1 0.0 27.1 sd17 1 0.0 0 1 0.0 26.8 sd3 0 0.0 0 0 0.0 0.0 Average sd0 1 0.0 0 3 0.0 20.0 sd1 0 0.0 0 2 0.0 32.6 sd15 0 0.0 0 1 0.0 13.6 sd16 0 0.0 0 0 0.0 27.6 sd17 0 0.0 0 0 0.0 26.1 sd3 2 0.1 1 14 0.0 102.6
Information about each disk is shown as follows:
You can see from the example that this system is lightly loaded, since %busy is a small number and the queue lengths and wait times are small as well. The average service times for most of the disks is consistent; however, notice that SCSI disk 3, sd3, has a larger service time than the other disks. Perhaps the arrangement of data on the disk is not organized properly (a condition known as fragmentation) or perhaps the organization is fine but the disproportionate access of sd3 (see the blks/s column) is bogging it down in comparison to the other drives.
As this chapter has shown, you should distribute the disk load over I/O controllers and drives, and you should use your fastest drive to support your most frequently accessed data. You should also try to increase the size of your buffer cache if your system has sufficient memory. You can eliminate fragmentation by rebuilding your file systems. Also, make sure that the file system that you are using is the fastest type supported with your UNIX system (for example, UFS) and that the block size is the appropriate size.
Monitoring File System Use with df
One of the biggest and most frequent problems that systems have is running out of disk space, particularly in /tmp or /usr. There is no magic answer to the question How much space should be allocated to these? but a good rule of thumb is between 1500KB and 3000KB for /tmp and roughly twice that for /usr. Other file systems should have about 5 or 10 percent of the system's available capacity.
The df Command The df command shows the free disk space on each disk that is mounted. The -k option displays the information about each file system in columns, with the allocations in KB.
% df -k Filesystem kbytes used avail capacity Mounted on /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s0 38111 21173 13128 62% / _ /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s6 246167 171869 49688 78% /usr _ /proc 0 0 0 0% /proc _ fd 0 0 0 0% /dev/fd _ swap 860848 632 860216 0% /tmp _ /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s7 188247 90189 79238 53% /home _ /dev/dsk/c0t0d0s5 492351 179384 263737 40% /opt _ gs:/home/prog/met 77863 47127 22956 67% /home/met
From this display you can see the following information (all entries are in KB):
The usable space has been adjusted to take into account a 10 percent reserve head room adjustment, and thus reflects only 90 percent of the actual capacity. The percentage shown under capacity is therefore used space divided by the adjusted usable space.
Monitoring Network Performance
"The network is the computer" is an appropriate saying these days. What used to be simple ASCII terminals connected over serial ports have been replaced by networks of workstations, Xterminals, and PCs, connected, for example, over 10 BASE-T EtherNet networks. Networks are impressive information transmission media when they work properly. However, troubleshooting is not always as straightforward as it should be. In other words, he who lives by the network can die by the network without the proper procedures.
The two most prevalent standards that you will have to contend with in the UNIX world are TCP/IP, (a communications protocol) and NFS, (a popular network file system). Each can be a source of problems. In addition, you need to keep an eye on the implementation of the network, which can also can be a problem area. Each network topology has different capacities, and each implementation (for example, using thin-net instead of 10 BASE-T twisted pair, or using intelligent hubs, and so on) has advantages and problems inherent in its design. The good news is that even a simple EtherNet network has a large amount of bandwidth for transporting data. The bad news is that with every day that passes users and programmers are coming up with new methods of using up as much of that bandwidth as possible.
Most networks are still based on EtherNet technologies. Ethernet is referred to as a 10 Mps medium, but the throughput that can be used effectively by users and applications is usually significantly less than 10 MB. Often, for various reasons, the effective capacity falls to 4 Mps. That may still seem like a lot of capacity, but as the network grows it can disappear fast. When the capacity is used up, EtherNet is very democratic. If it has a capacity problem, all users suffer equally. Furthermore, one person can bring an EtherNet network to its knees with relative ease. Accessing and transferring large files across the network, running programs that test transfer rates between two machines, or running a program that has a loop in it that happens to be dumping data to another machine, and so on, can affect all the users on the network. Like other resources (that is, CPU, disk capacity, and so on), the network is a finite resource.
If given the proper instruction, users can quite easily detect capacity problems on the network by which they are supported. A quick comparison of a simple command executed on the local machine versus the same command executed on a remote machine (for example, login and rlogin) can indicate that the network has a problem.
A little education can help your users and your network at the same time. NFS is a powerful tool, in both the good and the bad sense. Users should be taught that it will be slower to access the file over the network using NFS, particularly if the file is sizable, than it will be to read or write the data directly on the remote machine by using a remote login. However, if the files are of reasonable size, and the use is reasonable (editing, browsing, moving files back and forth), it is a fine tool to use. Users should understand when they are using NFS appropriately or not.
Monitoring Network Performance with netstat -i
One of the most straightforward checks you can make of the network's operation is with netstat -i. This command can give you some insight into the integrity of the network. All the workstations and the computers on a given network share it. When more than one of these entities try to use the network at the same time, the data from one machine "collides" with that of the other. (Despite the sound of the term, in moderation this is actually a normal occurrence, but too many collisions can be a problem.) In addition, various technical problems can cause errors in the transmission and reception of the data. As the errors and the collisions increase in frequency, the performance of the network degrades because the sender of the data retransmits the garbled data, thus further increasing the activity on the network.
Using netstat -i you can find out how many packets the computer has sent and received, and you can examine the levels of errors and collisions that it has detected on the network. Here is an example of the use of netstat:
% netstat -i Name Mtu Net/Dest Address Ipkts Ierrs Opkts Oerrs Collis Queue _ lo0 8232 loopback localhost 1031780 0 1031780 0 0 0 le0 1500 188.8.131.52 SCAT 13091430 6 12221526 4 174250 0
The fields in the report are the following:
In this example you see that the collision ratio shows a network without too many collisions (approximately 1 percent). If collisions are constantly averaging 10 percent or more, the network is probably being over utilized.
The example also shows that input and output error ratios are negligible. Input errors usually mean that the network is feeding the system bad input packets, and the internal calculations that verify the integrity of the data (called checksums) are failing. In other words, this normally indicates that the problem is somewhere out on the network, not on your machine. Conversely, rapidly increasing output errors probably indicates a local problem with your computer's network adapters, connectors, interface, and so on.
If you suspect network problems you should repeat this command several times. An active machine should show Ipkts and Opkts consistently incrementing. If Ipkts changes and Opkts doesn't, the host is not responding to the client requesting data. You should check the addressing in the hosts database. If Ipkts doesn't change, the machine is not receiving the network data at all.
Monitoring Network Performance Using spray
It is quite possible that you will not detect collisions and errors when you use netstat -i, and yet will still have slow access across the network. Perhaps the other machine that you are trying to use is bogged down and cannot respond quickly enough. Use spray to send a burst of packets to the other machine and record how many of them actually made the trip successfully. The results will tell you if the other machine is failing to keep up. Here is an example of a frequently used test:
% spray SCAT sending 1162 packets of length 86 to SCAT ... no packets dropped by SCAT 3321 packets/sec, 285623 bytes/sec
This shows a test burst sent from the source machine to the destination machine called SCAT. No packets were dropped. If SCAT were badly overloaded some probably would have been dropped. The example defaulted to sending 1162 packets of 86 bytes each. Another example of the same command uses the -c option to specify the number of packets to send, the -d option to specify the delay so that you don't overrun your buffers, and the -l option to specify the length of the packet. This example of the command is a more realistic test of the network:
% spray -c 100 -d 20 0 -l 2048 SCAT sending 100 packets of length 2048 to SCAT ... no packets dropped by SCAT 572 packets/sec, 1172308 bytes/sec
Had you seen significant numbers (for example, 5 to 10 percent or more) of packets dropped in these displays, you would next try looking at the remote system. For example, using commands such as uptime, vmstat, sar, and ps as described earlier in this section, you would check on the status of the remote machine. Does it have memory or CPU problems, or is there some other problem that is degrading its performance so it can't keep up with its network traffic?
Monitoring Network Performance with nfsstat -c
Systems running NFS can skip spray and instead use nfsstat -c. The -c option specifies the client statistics, and -s can be used for server statistics. As the name implies, client statistics summarize this system's use of another machine as a server. The NFS service uses synchronous procedures called RPCs (remote procedure calls). This means that the client waits for the server to complete the file activity before it proceeds. If the server fails to respond, the client retransmits the request. Just as with collisions, the worse the condition of the communication, the more traffic that is generated. The more traffic that is generated, the slower the network and the greater the possibility of collisions. So if the retransmission rate is large, you should look for servers that are under heavy loads, high collision rates that are delaying the packets en route, or EtherNet interfaces that are dropping packets.
% nfsstat -c Client rpc: calls badcalls retrans badxid timeout wait newcred timers 74107 0 72 0 72 0 0 82 _ Client nfs: calls badcalls nclget nclcreate 73690 0 73690 0 _ null getattr setattr root lookup readlink read _ 0 0% 4881 7% 1 0% 0 0% 130 0% 0 0% 465 1% _ wrcache write create remove rename link symlink _ 0 0% 68161 92% 16 0% 1 0% 0 0% 0 0% 0 0% _ mkdir rmdir readdir statfs _ 0 0% 0 0% 32 0% 3 0% _
The report shows the following fields:
If the timeout ratio is high, the problem can be unresponsive NFS servers or slow networks that are impeding the timely delivery and response of the packets. In the example, there are relatively few time-outs compared to the number of calls (72/74107 or about 1/10 of 1 percent) that do retransmissions. As the percentage grows toward 5 percent, system administrators begin to take a closer look at it. If badxid is roughly the same as retrans, the problem is probably an NFS server that is falling behind in servicing NFS requests, since duplicate acknowledgments are being received for NFS requests in roughly the same amounts as the retransmissions that are required. (The same thing is true if badxid is roughly the same as timeout.) However, if badxid is a much smaller number than retrans and timeout, then it follows that the network is more likely to be the problem.
Monitoring Network Performance with netstat
One way to check for network loading is to use netstat without any parameters:
% netstat TCP Local Address Remote Address Swind Send-Q Rwind Recv-Q State -------------------- -------------------- ----- ------ ----- ------ -------_ AAA1.1023 bbb2.login 8760 0 8760 0 ESTABLISHED AAA1.listen Cccc.32980 8760 0 8760 0 ESTABLISHED AAA1.login Dddd.1019 8760 0 8760 0 ESTABLISHED AAA1.32782 AAA1.32774 16384 0 16384 0 ESTABLISHED ...
In the report, the important field is the Send-Q field, which indicates the depth of the send queue for packets. If the numbers in Send-Q are large and increasing in size across several of the connections, the network is probably bogged down.
Looking for Network Data Corruption with netstat -s
The netstat -s command displays statistics for each of several protocols supported on the system (that is, UDP, IP, TCP, and ICMP). The information can be used to locate problems for the protocol. Here is an example:
% netstat -s UDP udpInDatagrams =2152316 udpInErrors = 0 udpOutDatagrams =2151810 TCP tcpRtoAlgorithm = 4 tcpRtoMin = 200 tcpRtoMax = 60000 tcpMaxConn = -1 tcpActiveOpens =1924360 tcpPassiveOpens = 81 tcpAttemptFails =584963 tcpEstabResets =1339431 tcpCurrEstab = 25 tcpOutSegs =7814776 tcpOutDataSegs =1176484 tcpOutDataBytes =501907781 tcpRetransSegs =1925164 tcpRetransBytes =444395 tcpOutAck =6767853 tcpOutAckDelayed =1121866 tcpOutUrg = 363 tcpOutWinUpdate =129604 tcpOutWinProbe = 25 tcpOutControl =3263985 tcpOutRsts = 47 tcpOutFastRetrans = 23 tcpInSegs =11769363 tcpInAckSegs =2419522 tcpInAckBytes =503241539 tcpInDupAck =3589621 tcpInAckUnsent = 0 tcpInInorderSegs =4871078 tcpInInorderBytes =-477578953 tcpInUnorderSegs =910597 tcpInUnorderBytes =826772340 tcpInDupSegs = 60545 tcpInDupBytes =46037645 tcpInPartDupSegs = 44879 tcpInPartDupBytes =10057185 tcpInPastWinSegs = 0 tcpInPastWinBytes = 0 tcpInWinProbe =704105 tcpInWinUpdate =4470040 tcpInClosed = 11 tcpRttNoUpdate = 907 tcpRttUpdate =1079220 tcpTimRetrans = 1974 tcpTimRetransDrop = 2 tcpTimKeepalive = 577 tcpTimKeepaliveProbe= 343 tcpTimKeepaliveDrop = 2 IP ipForwarding = 2 ipDefaultTTL = 255 ipInReceives =12954953 ipInHdrErrors = 0 ipInAddrErrors = 0 ipInCksumErrs = 0 ipForwDatagrams = 0 ipForwProhibits = 0 ipInUnknownProtos = 0 ipInDiscards = 0 ipInDelivers =13921597 ipOutRequests =12199190 ipOutDiscards = 0 ipOutNoRoutes = 0 ipReasmTimeout = 60 ipReasmReqds = 0 ipReasmOKs = 0 ipReasmFails = 0 ipReasmDuplicates = 0 ipReasmPartDups = 0 ipFragOKs = 3267 ipFragFails = 0 ipFragCreates = 19052 ipRoutingDiscards = 0 tcpInErrs = 0 udpNoPorts = 64760 udpInCksumErrs = 0 udpInOverflows = 0 rawipInOverflows = 0 ICMP icmpInMsgs = 216 icmpInErrors = 0 icmpInCksumErrs = 0 icmpInUnknowns = 0 icmpInDestUnreachs = 216 icmpInTimeExcds = 0 icmpInParmProbs = 0 icmpInSrcQuenchs = 0 icmpInRedirects = 0 icmpInBadRedirects = 0 icmpInEchos = 0 icmpInEchoReps = 0 icmpInTimestamps = 0 icmpInTimestampReps = 0 icmpInAddrMasks = 0 icmpInAddrMaskReps = 0 icmpInFragNeeded = 0 icmpOutMsgs = 230 icmpOutDrops = 0 icmpOutErrors = 0 icmpOutDestUnreachs = 230 icmpOutTimeExcds = 0 icmpOutParmProbs = 0 icmpOutSrcQuenchs = 0 icmpOutRedirects = 0 icmpOutEchos = 0 icmpOutEchoReps = 0 icmpOutTimestamps = 0 icmpOutTimestampReps= 0 icmpOutAddrMasks = 0 icmpOutAddrMaskReps = 0 icmpOutFragNeeded = 0 icmpInOverflows = 0 IGMP: 0 messages received 0 messages received with too few bytes 0 messages received with bad checksum 0 membership queries received 0 membership queries received with invalid field(s) 0 membership reports received 0 membership reports received with invalid field(s) 0 membership reports received for groups to which we belong 0 membership reports sent
The checksum fields should always show extremely small values, as they are a percentage of total traffic sent along the interface.
By using netstat -s on the remote system in combination with spray on your own, you can determine whether data corruption (as opposed to network corruption) is impeding the movement of your network data. Alternate between the two displays, observing the differences, if any, between the reports. If the two reports agree on the number of dropped packets, the file server is probably not keeping up. If they don't, suspect network integrity problems. Use netstat -i on the remote machine to confirm this.
Corrective Network Actions
If you suspect that there are problems with the integrity of the network itself, you must try to determine where the faulty piece of equipment is. Hire network consultants, who will use network diagnostic scopes to locate and correct the problems.
If the problem is that the network is extremely busy, thus increasing collisions, time-outs, retransmissions, and so on, you may need to redistribute the work load more appropriately. This is a good example of the "divide and conquer" concept as it applies to computers. By partitioning and segmenting the network nodes into subnetworks that more clearly reflect the underlying work loads, you can maximize the overall performance of the network. This can be accomplished by installing additional network interfaces in your gateway and adjusting the addressing on the gateway to reflect the new subnetworks. Altering your cabling and implementing some of the more advanced intelligent hubs may be needed as well. By reorganizing your network, you will maximize the amount of bandwidth that is available for access to the local subnetwork. Make sure that systems that regularly perform NFS mounts of each other are on the same subnetwork.
If you have an older network and are having to rework your network topology, consider replacing the older coax-based networks with the more modern twisted-pair types, which are generally more reliable and flexible.
Make sure that the work load is on the appropriate machine(s). Use the machine with the best network performance to do its proper share of network file service tasks.
Check your network for diskless workstations. These require large amounts of network resources to boot up, swap, page, etc. With the cost of local storage descending constantly, it is getting harder to believe that diskless workstations are still cost-effective when compared to regular workstations. Consider upgrading the workstations so that they support their users locally, or at least to minimize their use of the network.
If your network server has been acquiring more clients, check its memory and its kernel buffer allocations for proper sizing.
If the problem is that I/O-intensive programs are being run over the network, work with the users to determine what can be done to make that requirement a local, rather than a network, one. Educate your users to make sure they understand when they are using the network appropriately and when they are being wasteful with this valuable resource.
Monitoring CPU Performance
The biggest problem a system administrator faces when examining performance is sorting through all the relevant information to determine which subsystem is really in trouble. Frequently, users complain about the need to upgrade a processor that is assumed to be causing slow execution, when in fact it is the I/O subsystem or memory that is the problem. To make matters even more difficult, all of the subsystems interact with one another, thus complicating the analysis.
You already looked at the three most handy tools for assessing CPU load in the section "Monitoring the Overall System Status." As stated in that section, processor idle time can, under certain conditions, imply that I/O or memory subsystems are degrading the system. It can also, under other conditions, imply that a processor upgrade is appropriate. Using the tools that have been reviewed in this chapter, you can by now piece together a competent picture of the overall activities of your system and its subsystems. You should use the tools to make absolutely sure that the I/O and the memory subsystems are indeed optimized properly before you spend the money to upgrade your CPU.
If you have determined that your CPU has just run out of gas, and you cannot upgrade your system, all is not lost. CPUs are extremely powerful machines that are frequently underutilized for long spans of time in any 24 hour period. If you can rearrange the schedule of the work that must be done to use the CPU as efficiently as possible, you can often overcome most problems. This can be done by getting users to run all appropriate jobs at off-hours (off work load hours, that is, not necessarily 9 to 5). You can also get your users to run selected jobs at lower priorities. You can educate some of your less efficient users and programmers. Finally, you can carefully examine the work load and eliminate some jobs, daemons, and so on, that are not needed.
The following is a brief list of jobs and daemons that deserve review, and possibly elimination, based on the severity of the problem and their use, or lack thereof, on the system. Check each of the following and ask yourself whether you use it or need them: accounting services, printer daemons, mountd remote mount daemon, sendmail daemon, talk daemon, remote who daemon, NIS server, and database daemons.
Monitoring Multiprocessor Performance with mpstat
One of the most recent developments of significance in the UNIX server world is the rapid deployment of symmetric multiprocessor (SMP) servers. Of course, having multiple CPUs can mean that you may desire a more discrete picture of what is actually happening on the system than sar -u can provide.
You learned about some multiprocessor issues in the examination of vmstat, but there are other tools for examining multiprocessor utilization. The mpstat command reports the per-processor statistics for the machine. Each row of the report shows the activity of one processor.
% mpstat CPU minf mjf xcal intr ithr csw icsw migr smtx srw syscl usr sys wt idl 0 1 0 0 201 71 164 22 34 147 0 942 10 10 23 57 1 1 0 0 57 37 171 23 34 144 1 975 10 11 23 56 2 1 0 0 77 56 158 22 33 146 0 996 11 11 21 56 3 1 0 0 54 33 169 23 34 156 0 1139 12 11 21 56 4 1 0 0 21 0 180 23 33 159 0 1336 14 10 20 56 5 1 0 0 21 0 195 23 31 163 0 1544 17 10 18 55
All values are in terms of events per second, unless otherwise noted. You may specify a sample interval, and a number of samples, with the command, just as you would with sar. The fields of the report are the following:
Don't be intimidated by the technical nature of the display. It is included here just as an indication that multiprocessor systems can be more complex than uniprocessor systems to examine for their performance. Some multiprocessor systems actually can bias work to be done to a particular CPU. That is not done here, as you can see. The user, system, wait, and idle times are all relatively evenly distributed across all the available CPUs.
Kernel tuning is a complex topic, and the space that can be devoted to it in this section is limited. In order to fit this discussion into the space allowed, the focus is on kernel tuning for SunOS in general, and Solaris 2.x in particular. In addition, the section focuses mostly on memory tuning. Your version of UNIX may differ in several respects from the version described here, and you may be involved in other subsystems, but you should get a good idea of the overall concepts and generally how the parameters are tuned.
The most fundamental component of the UNIX operating system is the kernel. It manages all the major subsystems, including memory, disk I/O, utilization of the CPU, process scheduling, and so on. In short, it is the controlling agent that enables the system to perform work for you.
As you can imagine from that introduction, the configuration of the kernel can dramatically affect system performance either positively or negatively. There are parameters that you can tune for various kernel modules that you can tune. A couple reasons could motivate you to do this. First, by tuning the kernel you can reduce the amount of memory required for the kernel, thus increasing the efficiency of the use of memory, and increasing the throughput of the system. Second, you can increase the capacity of the system to accommodate new requirements (users, processing, or both).
This is a classic case of software compromise. It would be nice to increase the capacity of the system to accommodate all users that would ever be put on the system, but that would have a deleterious effect on performance. Likewise, it would be nice to tune the kernel down to its smallest possible size, but that would have negative side-effects as well. As in most software, the optimal solution is somewhere between the extremes.
Some people think that you only need to change the kernel when the number of people on the system increases. This is not true. You may need to alter the kernel when the nature of your processing changes. If your users are increasing their use of X Windows, or increasing their utilization of file systems, running more memory-intensive jobs, and so on, you may need to adjust some of these parameters to optimize the throughput of the system.
Two trends are changing the nature of kernel tuning. First, in an effort to make UNIX a commercially viable product in terms of administration and deployment, most manufacturers are trying to minimize the complexity of the kernel configuration process. As a result, many of the tables that were once allocated in a fixed manner are now allocated dynamically, or else are linked to the value of a handful of fields. Solaris 2.x takes this approach by calculating many kernel values based on the maxusers field. Second, as memory is dropping in price and CPU power is increasing dramatically, the relative importance of precise kernel tuning for most systems is gradually diminishing. However, for high-performance systems, or systems with limited memory, it is still a pertinent topic.
Your instruction in UNIX kernel tuning begins with an overview of the kernel tables that are changed by it, and how to display them. It continues with some examples of kernel parameters that are modified to adjust the kernel to current system demands, and it concludes with a detailed example of paging and swapping parameters under SunOS.\
When should you consider modifying the kernel tables? You should review your kernel parameters in several cases, such as before you add new users, before you increase your X Window activity significantly, or before you increase your NFS utilization markedly. Also review them before the makeup of the programs that are running is altered in a way that will significantly increase the number of processes that are run or the demands they will make on the system
Some people believe that you always increase kernel parameters when you add more memory, but this is not necessarily so. If you have a thorough knowledge of your system's parameters and know that they are already adjusted to take into account both current loads and some future growth, then adding more memory, in itself, is not necessarily a reason to increase kernel parameters.
Some of the tables are described as follows:
Checking System Tables with sar -v
The -v option enables you to see the current process table, inode table, open file table, and shared memory record table.
The fields in the report are as follows:
Any non-zero entry in the ov field is an obvious indication that you need to adjust your kernel parameters relevant to that field. This is one performance report where you can request historical information, for the last day, the last week, or since last reboot, and actually get meaningful data out of it.
This is also another good report to use intermittently during the day to sample how much reserve capacity you have.
Here is an example:
% sar -v 5 5 18:51:12 proc-sz ov inod-sz ov file-sz ov lock-sz 18:51:17 122/4058 0 3205/4000 0 488/0 0 11/0 _ 18:51:22 122/4058 0 3205/4000 0 488/0 0 11/0 _ 18:51:27 122/4058 0 3205/4000 0 488/0 0 11/0 _ 18:51:32 122/4058 0 3205/4000 0 488/0 0 11/0 _ 18:51:37 122/4058 0 3205/4000 0 488/0 0 11/0 _
Since all the ov fields are 0, you can see that the system tables are healthy for this interval. In this display, for example, there are 122 process table entries in use, and there are 4058 process table entries allocated.
Displaying Tunable Kernel Parameters
To display a comprehensive list of tunable kernel parameters, you can use the nm command. For example, applying the command to the appropriate module, the name list of the file will be reported:
% nm /kernel/unix Symbols from /kernel/unix: [Index] Value Size Type Bind Other Shndx Name ... _ | 0| 0|FILE |LOCL |0 |ABS |unix.o |3758124752| 0|NOTY |LOCL |0 |1 |vhwb_nextset |3758121512| 0|NOTY |LOCL |0 |1 |_intr_flag_table |3758124096| 0|NOTY |LOCL |0 |1 |trap_mon |3758121436| 0|NOTY |LOCL |0 |1 |intr_set_spl |3758121040| 0|NOTY |LOCL |0 |1 |intr_mutex_panic |3758121340| 0|NOTY |LOCL |0 |1 |intr_thread_exit |3758124768| 0|NOTY |LOCL |0 |1 |vhwb_nextline |3758124144| 0|NOTY |LOCL |0 |1 |trap_kadb |3758124796| 0|NOTY |LOCL |0 |1 |vhwb_nextdword |3758116924| 0|NOTY |LOCL |0 |1 |firsthighinstr |3758121100| 132|NOTY |LOCL |0 |1 |intr_thread |3758118696| 0|NOTY |LOCL |0 |1 |fixfault | 0| 0|FILE |LOCL |0 |ABS |confunix.c ... (Portions of display deleted for brevity)
The relevant fields in the report are the following:
On HP-UX 10.x systems, there is a text file that is used as the configuration file for the kernel at compile time. This file is the /stand/system file.
To get the most recent version of the kernel configurations, this file needs to be rebuilt. To do this, cd into the /stand/build directory and run the command /usr/lbin/sysadm/system_prep -s system. This will create a new system file in the /stand/build directory, which can then be edited for the desired changes.
Displaying Current Values of Tunable Parameters
To display a list of the current values assigned to the tunable kernel parameters, you can use the sysdef -i command:
% sysdef -i ... (portions of display are deleted for brevity) * * System Configuration * swapfile dev swaplo blocks free /dev/dsk/c0t3d0s1 32,25 8 547112 96936 * * Tunable Parameters * 5316608 maximum memory allowed in buffer cache (bufhwm) 4058 maximum number of processes (v.v_proc) 99 maximum global priority in sys class (MAXCLSYSPRI) 4053 maximum processes per user id (v.v_maxup) 30 auto update time limit in seconds (NAUTOUP) 25 page stealing low water mark (GPGSLO) 5 fsflush run rate (FSFLUSHR) 25 minimum resident memory for avoiding deadlock (MINARMEM) 25 minimum swapable memory for avoiding deadlock (MINASMEM) * * Utsname Tunables * 5.3 release (REL) DDDD node name (NODE) SunOS system name (SYS) Generic_101318-31 version (VER) * * Process Resource Limit Tunables (Current:Maximum) * Infinity:Infinity cpu time Infinity:Infinity file size 7ffff000:7ffff000 heap size 800000:7ffff000 stack size Infinity:Infinity core file size 40: 400 file descriptors Infinity:Infinity mapped memory * * Streams Tunables * 9 maximum number of pushes allowed (NSTRPUSH) 65536 maximum stream message size (STRMSGSZ) 1024 max size of ctl part of message (STRCTLSZ) * * IPC Messages * 200 entries in msg map (MSGMAP) 2048 max message size (MSGMAX) 65535 max bytes on queue (MSGMNB) 25 message queue identifiers (MSGMNI) 128 message segment size (MSGSSZ) 400 system message headers (MSGTQL) 1024 message segments (MSGSEG) SYS system class name (SYS_NAME)
As stated earlier, over the years there have been many enhancements that have tried to minimize the complexity of the kernel configuration process. As a result, many of the tables that were once allocated in a fixed manner are now allocated dynamically, or else linked to the value of the maxusers field. The next step in understanding the nature of kernel tables is to look at the maxusers parameter and its impact on UNIX system configuration.
Modifying the Configuration Information File
SunOS uses the /etc/system file for modification of kernel-tunable variables. The basic format is this:
set parameter = value
It can also have this format:
set [module:]variablename = value
The /etc/system file can also be used for other purposes (for example, to force modules to be loaded at boot time, to specify a root device, and so on). The /etc/system file is used for permanent changes to the operating system values. Temporary changes can be made using adb kernel debugging tools. The system must be rebooted for the changes made for them to become active using /etc/system. With adb the changes take place when applied.
As mentioned earlier in the chapter, HP-UX 10.x has a similar /etc/system file, which can be modified and re-compiled.
Once you have made your changes to this file, you can recompile to make a new UNIX kernel. The command is mkkernel -s system. This new kernel, called vmunix.test, is placed in the /stand/build directory. Next, you move the present /stand/system file to /stand/system.prev; then you can move the modified file /stand/build/system to /stand/system. Then you move the currently running kernel /stand/vmunix to /stand/vmunix.prev, and then move the new kernel, /stand/build/vmunix.test, into place in /stand/vmunix (i.e., mv /stand/build/vmunix.test /stant/vmunix). The final step is to reboot the machine to make your changes take effect.
The maxusers Parameter
Many of the tables are dynamically updated either upward or downward by the operating system, based on the value assigned to the maxusers parameter, which is an approximation of the number of users the system will have to support. The quickest and, more importantly, safest way to modify the table sizes is by modifying maxusers, and letting the system perform the adjustments to the tables for you.
The maxusers parameter can be adjusted by placing commands in the /etc/system file of your UNIX system:
A number of kernel parameters adjust their values according to the setting of the maxusers parameter. For example, Table 22.2 lists the settings for various kernel parameters, where maxusers is utilized in their calculation.
Table 22.2. Kernel parameters affected by maxusers.
The directory name lookup cache (dnlc) is also based on maxusers in SunOS systems. With the increasing usage of NFS, this can be an important performance tuning parameter. Networks that have many clients can be helped by an increased name cache parameter ncsize (that is, a greater amount of cache). By using vmstat with the -s option, you can determine the directory name lookup cache hit rate. A cache miss indicates that disk I/O was probably needed to access the directory when traversing the path components to get to a file. If the hit rate falls below 70 percent, this parameter should be checked.
% vmstat -s 0 swap ins 0 swap outs 0 pages swapped in 0 pages swapped out 1530750 total address trans. faults taken 39351 page ins 22369 page outs 45565 pages paged in 114923 pages paged out 73786 total reclaims 65945 reclaims from free list 0 micro (hat) faults 1530750 minor (as) faults 38916 major faults 88376 copy-on-write faults 120412 zero fill page faults 634336 pages examined by the clock daemon 10 revolutions of the clock hand 122233 pages freed by the clock daemon 4466 forks 471 vforks 6416 execs 45913303 cpu context switches 28556694 device interrupts 1885547 traps 665339442 system calls 622350 total name lookups (cache hits 94%) 4 toolong 2281992 user cpu 3172652 system cpu 62275344 idle cpu 967604 wait cpu
In this example, you can see that the cache hits are 94 percent, and therefore enough directory name lookup cache is allocated on the system.
By the way, if your NFS traffic is heavy and irregular in nature, you should increase the number of nfsd NFS daemons. Some system administrators recommend that this should be set between 40 and 60 on dedicated NFS servers. This will increase the speed with which the nfsd daemons take the requests off the network and pass them on to the I/O subsystem. Conversely, decreasing this value can throttle the NFS load on a server when that is appropriate.
The monitor utility
Monitor is a shareware utility which can be obtained from various ftp sites. This utility is actually a very handy tool for getting live updates on the status of your system.
So what does it show? The question is, what doesn't it show. Monitor will give you real time updates on cpu utilization, cpu wait states, disk io, a list of the top running processes, and much more.
As you bring the utility up, you can see a number of things in the first screen. Cpu utilization in shown as a text-based "emoticon" meter, breaking down cpu time into system, user, and idle time. Also, you have different load statistics displayed, such as disk io, swapping statistics, free memory, and a breakdown of memory metrics.
There are also two screen switches to show further details on disk io and process statistics.
To find a full breakdown of disk activity by disk, simply hit the "d" key. You can see the disk transfer wait in kb/s, io's per second, disk wait times, and much more. To get back to the main screen, just hit the "d" key again.
To see a full breakdown of the most active processes, hit the "t" key. This will show you a detailed listing of system processes, in descending order from highest to lowest in compute time. This a good way to see if you have any runaway or hung processes. Here you can see how long a process has been running, who started and owns it, which process spawned it, and much more. To get back to the main menu, just hit the "t key again.
To quit monitor, all you have to do is hit the "q" key.
Parameters That Influence Paging and Swapping
The section isn't large enough to review in detail how tuning can affect each of the kernel tables. However, for illustration purposes, this section describes how kernel parameters influence paging and swapping activities in a SunOS system. Other tables affecting other subsystems can be tuned in much the same manner as these.
As processes make demands on memory, pages are allocated from the free list. When the UNIX system decides that there is no longer enough free memory--less than the lotsfree parameter--it searches for pages that haven't been used lately to add them to the free list. The page daemon will be scheduled to run. It begins at a slow rate, based on the slowscan parameter, and increases to a faster rate, based on the fastscan parameter, as free memory continues toward depletion. If there is less memory than desfree, and there are two or more processes in the run queue, and the system stays in that condition for more than 30 seconds, the system will begin to swap. If the system gets to a minimum level of required memory, specified by the minfree parameter, swapping will begin without delay. When swapping begins, entire processes will be swapped out as described earlier.
The kernel swaps out the oldest and the largest processes when it begins to swap. The maxslp parameter is used in determining which processes have exceeded the maximum sleeping period, and can thus be swapped out as well. The smallest higher-priority processes that have been sleeping the longest will then be swapped back in.
The most pertinent kernel parameters for paging and swapping are the following:
Newer versions of UNIX, such as Solaris 2.x, do such a good job of setting paging parameters that tuning is usually not required.
Increasing lotsfree will help on systems on which there is a continuing need to allocate new processes. Heavily used interactive systems with many Windows users often force this condition as users open multiple windows and start processes. By increasing lotsfree you create a large enough pool of free memory that you will not run out when most of the processes are initially starting up.
For servers that have a defined set of users and a more steady-state condition to their underlying processes, the normal default values are usually appropriate.
However, for servers such as this with large, stable work loads, but that are short of memory, increasing lotsfree is the wrong idea. This is because more pages will be taken from the application and put on the free list.
Some system administrators recommend that you disable the maxslp parameter on systems where the overhead of swapping normally sleeping processes (such as clock icons and update processes) isn't offset by any measurable gain due to forcing the processes out. This parameter is no longer used in Solaris 2.x releases, but is used on older versions of UNIX.
Conclusion of Kernel Tuning
You have now seen how to optimize memory subsystem performance by tuning a system's kernel parameters. Other subsystems can be tuned by similar modifications to the relevant kernel parameters. When such changes correct existing kernel configurations that have become obsolete and inefficient due to new requirements, the result can sometimes dramatically increase performance even without a hardware upgrade. It's not quite the same as getting a hardware upgrade for free, but it's about as close as you're likely to get in today's computer industry.
Third Party Solutions
In addition to the standard text-based utilities we have been talking about, there are a number of third party, enterprise-wide products that are available to monitor your servers. I will focus on two here: ServerVision from Platinum Technologies and EcoTools from Compuware.
Usually, these products are located on their own separate server, but often, due to budget considerations and other concerns, the monitor server is often placed on a production box. This defeats the purpose of a monitoring system, since the monitoring machine is just as likely to go down as the servers that it monitors in this situation. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you push as much as you can for a small workstation to act as the monitor for your system, and nothing else.
EcoTools has a number of neat features that make it a nice solution for many shops. According to their marketing literature (for what it's worth), it boasts an open and robust architecture, heterogeneous support, support for process automation, extensive monitoring and analysis, security for sensitive system information, out-of-the-box functionality and easy customization.
In reality, it is on a par with most every other system monitoring tool on the market, with a slight advantage because it's a GUI. It really does have a nice fuzzy display that will show most of what you need to see on your systems. The graphs you can get from its logs could be shown in any boardroom, if that's what your after.
What it lacks in warm fuzziness, ServerVision makes up for in pure kitchen sink monitoring metrics and logging tools. Platinum boasts over 200 system metrics that can be monitored on your systems, in addition to another 200 database metrics that you can use if you get their DBVision product.
With ServerVision, as with any such tool, you must run the default settings for a short time before moving it into production to get a feel for where to set your alarm settings. If you have your server set up to page you and you don't modify these values, you will be getting paged late at night on a regular basis. Not much fun.
The paging function often comes in handy, if you like having a live system when you come in to the office in the morning. With this advanced warning, you would have the ability to get online and save a dying system well before it crashes.
No matter what software you buy for your system, ask your salesman for a complete demonstration, and bring a list of questions about your requirements. These solutions can be very expensive, so be sure you are getting what you pay for before you buy.
In this chapter we have covered a number of issues dealing with performance and tuning. We touched on such topics as the impact of performance on users, introduction to UNIX performance, monitoring the overall system status, monitoring processes with ps, monitoring memory utilization, monitoring disk subsystem performance, monitoring network performance, monitoring cpu performance, kernel tuning, and third party solutions.
With a little practice using the methodology described in this chapter, you should be able to determine what the performance characteristics, positive or negative, are for your system. You have seen how to use the commands that enable you to examine each of the resources a UNIX system uses. In addition to the commands themselves, you have learned procedures that can be utilized to analyze and solve many performance problems.