Understanding Linux and UNIX Load Average – How It Works

in Categories Debian Linux, FreeBSD, Howto, Linux, Monitoring, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Troubleshooting, Tuning, Ubuntu Linux, UNIX last updated February 22, 2007

Have you ever wondered how those three little numbers that appear in the UNIX w or uptime/top command load average (LA) report are calculated?

This is an excellent read if you would like learn more about how and how the load average (LA) can be reorganized to do better capacity planning.

The article concludes that:

These inherited limitations are significant if you try to use them for capacity planning purposes. I’ll have more to say about all this in the next online column Load Average Part II: Not Your Average Average.

Oh, I can’t wait to read second part…

UNIX® Load Average Part 1: How It Works ( via Adminspotting.net)

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

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  1. Load average is the amount of processing the CPU is undergoing at any particular time – run the command below
    $ cat /proc/loadavg
    4.27 3.90 7.22 2/792 7028

    the 1st tree sets of numbers are the load averageon the cpu measured over 1, 5 and 15 minutes.

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