Monitoring Disk IO per process

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Monitoring disk IO per process


This article is a community contribution and may include unsupported configurations.

Newer Linux kernels have per-process I/O accounting and you can use the iotop tool to find out what’s performing I/O, but in some cases you'll want to find the source of an I/O problem in an older kernel. This article will describe a way to do I/O accounting per process on older kernels.


First get this script and name it: iodump

#!/usr/bin/env perl

=pod

=head1 NAME

iodump - Compute per-PID I/O stats for Linux when iotop/pidstat/iopp are not available.

=head1 SYNOPSIS

Prepare the system:

  dmesg -c
  /etc/init.d/klogd stop
  echo 1 > /proc/sys/vm/block_dump

Start the reporting:

  while true; do sleep 1; dmesg -c; done | perl iodump
  CTRL-C

Stop the system from dumping these messages:

  echo 0 > /proc/sys/vm/block_dump
  /etc/init.d/klogd start

=head1 LICENSE

This software is released to the public domain, with no guarantees whatsoever.

=cut

use strict;
use warnings FATAL => 'all';
use English qw(-no_match_vars);
use sigtrap qw(handler finish untrapped normal-signals);

my %tasks;

my $oktorun = 1;
my $line;
while ( $oktorun && (defined ($line = <>)) ) {
   my ( $task, $pid, $activity, $where, $device );
   ( $task, $pid, $activity, $where, $device )
      = $line =~ m/(\S+)\((\d+)\): (READ|WRITE) block (\d+) on (\S+)/;
   if ( !$task ) {
      ( $task, $pid, $activity, $where, $device )
         = $line =~ m/(\S+)\((\d+)\): (dirtied) inode \(.*?\) (\d+) on (\S+)/;
   }
   if ( $task ) {
      my $s = $tasks{$pid} ||= { pid => $pid, task => $task };
      ++$s->{lc $activity};
      ++$s->{activity};
      ++$s->{devices}->{$device};
   }
}

printf("%-15s %10s %10s %10s %10s %10s %s\n",
   qw(TASK PID TOTAL READ WRITE DIRTY DEVICES));
foreach my $task (
   reverse sort { $a->{activity} <=> $b->{activity} } values %tasks
) {
   printf("%-15s %10d %10d %10d %10d %10d %s\n",
      $task->{task}, $task->{pid},
      ($task->{'activity'}  || 0),
      ($task->{'read'}      || 0),
      ($task->{'write'}     || 0),
      ($task->{'dirty'}     || 0),
      join(', ', keys %{$task->{devices}}));
}

sub finish {
   my ( $signal ) = @_;
   if ( $oktorun ) {
      print STDERR "# Caught SIG$signal.\n";
      $oktorun = 0;
   }
   else {
      print STDERR "# Exiting on SIG$signal.\n";
      exit(1);
   }
}


Then turn on kernel messages about I/O:

echo 1 > /proc/sys/vm/block_dump


This makes the kernel start writing messages about every I/O operation that takes place. Now all you have to do is get those messages and feed them into the iodump script:

while true; do sleep 1; dmesg -c; done | perl iodump


Wait a little while, then cancel the script. The results should look something like the following:

# while true; do sleep 1; dmesg -c; done | perl iodump
^C# Caught SIGINT.
TASK                   PID      TOTAL       READ      WRITE      DIRTY DEVICES
firefox               4450       4538        251       4287          0 sda4, sda3
kjournald             2100        551          0        551          0 sda4
firefox              28452        185        185          0          0 sda4
kjournald              782         59          0         59          0 sda3
pdflush                 31         30          0         30          0 sda4, sda3
syslogd               2485          2          0          2          0 sda3
firefox              28414          2          2          0          0 sda4, sda3
firefox              28413          1          1          0          0 sda4
firefox              28410          1          1          0          0 sda4
firefox              28307          1          1          0          0 sda4
firefox              28451          1          1          0          0 sda4


When finished, turn off kernel messages about I/O:

echo 0 > /proc/sys/vm/block_dump
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