Understanding Linux and UNIX Load Average – How It Works

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

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, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.


3 comment

  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.

Leave a Comment