[CentOS] Load Average

Peter Farrow peter at farrows.org
Wed Mar 1 18:45:40 UTC 2006

You need to check out whether the system is waiting on  IO,  on the 
version of top on Centos 4.2 it doesn't show IO wait on the display, but 
on the RH enterprise shipping version it does.

A load average of 9 is getting high, you expect would services like 
sendmail to stop listening once the system load average gets to 12.

You could check your disk performance with hdparm -t /dev/....  to see 
if your disks are giving you high through put.  If DMA is not enabled on 
the disks, this can slow the system performance down and raise the load 


Sam Drinkard wrote:
> Maybe somewhat of a vague question, but what would constitute a 
> moderate and a heavy load as depicted by "top" on any particular 
> machine?  I am trying to justify running this machine with near 100% 
> cpu utilization on both, with load averages between 5 and 5 according 
> to top.  I don't particularly see any significant slowdown in the 
> running processes, but there is a chance the disk I/O might become an 
> issue if too many things are going on at once.  As for actual running 
> processes, it varies between 5 and 9, depending on time of day.  
> Memory is not really an issue, even tho usage tops out around 1.3 - 
> 1.4Gb, and only a small usage =< 500k swap.
> X does seem to get pretty sluggish at those load levels, and I've 
> thought about dumping back to a text console for most of the runtime, 
> but I like my Xterms and monitoring applets.
> Sam
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