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Linux and Unix iostat command

iostat commandAbout iostat
iostat syntax
iostat examples
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About iostat

iostat reports Central Processing Unit (CPU) statistics and input/output statistics for devices and partitions. The iostat command is used for monitoring system input/output device loading by observing the time the devices are active in relation to their average transfer rates. The iostat command generates reports that can be used to change system configuration to better balance the input/output load between physical disks.

The first report generated by the iostat command provides statistics concerning the time since the system was booted. Each subsequent report covers the time since the previous report. All statistics are reported each time the iostat command is run. The report consists of a CPU header row followed by a row of CPU statistics. On multiprocessor systems, CPU statistics are calculated system-wide as averages among all processors. A device header row is displayed followed by a line of statistics for each device that is configured.

The interval parameter specifies the amount of time in seconds between each report. The first report contains statistics for the time since system startup (boot). Each subsequent report contains statistics collected during the interval since the previous report. The count parameter can be specified in conjunction with the interval parameter. If the count parameter is specified, the value of count determines the number of reports generated at interval seconds apart. If the interval parameter is specified without the count parameter, the iostat command generates reports continuously.

iostat syntax

iostat [ -c ] [ -d ] [ -h ] [ -N ] [ -k | -m ] [ -t ] [ -V ] [ -x ]
       [ -z ] [ [ [ -T ] -g group_name ] { device [...] | ALL } ]
       [ -p [ device [,...] | ALL ] ] [ interval [ count ] ]

Reports

The iostat command generates three types of reports: the CPU Utilization report, the Device Utilization report and the Network Filesystem report.

CPU Utilization Report

The first report generated by the iostat command is the CPU Utilization Report. For multiprocessor systems, the CPU values are global averages among all processors. The report has the following format:

%user

Show the percentage of CPU utilization that occurred while executing at the user (application) level.

%nice

Show the percentage of CPU utilization that occurred while executing at the user level with nice priority.

%system

Show the percentage of CPU utilization that occurred while executing at the system (kernel) level.

%iowait

Show the percentage of time that the CPU or CPUs were idle during which the system had an outstanding disk I/O request.

%steal

Show the percentage of time spent in involuntary wait by the virtual CPU or CPUs while the hypervisor was servicing another virtual processor.

%idle

Show the percentage of time that the CPU or CPUs were idle and the system did not have an outstanding disk I/O request.

Device Utilization Report

The second report generated by the iostat command is the Device Utilization Report. The device report provides statistics on a per-physical device or partition basis. Block devices and partitions for which statistics are to be displayed may be entered on the command line. If no device nor partition is entered, then statistics are displayed for every device used by the system, providing that the kernel maintains statistics for it.

If the ALL keyword is given on the command line, then statistics are displayed for every device defined by the system, including those that have never been used. Transfer rates are shown in 1K blocks by default, unless the environment variable POSIXLY_CORRECT is set, in which case 512-byte blocks are used. The report may show the following fields, depending on the flags used:

Device

This column gives the device (or partition) name as listed in the /dev directory.

tps

Indicate the number of transfers per second that were issued to the device. A transfer is an I/O request to the device. Multiple logical requests can be combined into a single I/O request to the device. A transfer is of indeterminate size.

Blk_read/s (kB_read/s, MB_read/s)

Indicate the amount of data read from the device expressed in a number of blocks (kilobytes, megabytes) per second. Blocks are equivalent to sectors and therefore have a size of 512 bytes.

Blk_wrtn/s (kB_wrtn/s, MB_wrtn/s)

Indicate the amount of data written to the device expressed in a number of blocks (kilobytes, megabytes) per second.

Blk_read (kB_read, MB_read)

The total number of blocks (kilobytes, megabytes) read.

Blk_wrtn (kB_wrtn, MB_wrtn)

The total number of blocks (kilobytes, megabytes) written.

rrqm/s

The number of read requests merged per second that were queued to the device.

wrqm/s

The number of write requests merged per second that were queued to the device.

r/s

The number (after merges) of read requests completed per second for the device.

w/s

The number (after merges) of write requests completed per second for the device.

rsec/s (rkB/s, rMB/s)

The number of sectors (kilobytes, megabytes) read from the device per second.

wsec/s (wkB/s, wMB/s)

The number of sectors (kilobytes, megabytes) written to the device per second.

avgrq-sz

The average size (in sectors) of the requests that were issued to the device.

avgqu-sz

The average queue length of the requests that were issued to the device.

await

The average time (in milliseconds) for I/O requests issued to the device to be served. This includes the time spent by the requests in queue and the time spent servicing them.

r_await

The average time (in milliseconds) for read requests issued to the device to be served. This includes the time spent by the requests in queue and the time spent servicing them.

w_await

The average time (in milliseconds) for write requests issued to the device to be served. This includes the time spent by the requests in queue and the time spent servicing them.

svctm

The average service time (in milliseconds) for I/O requests that were issued to the device. Warning! Do not trust this field anymore! This field will be removed in a future sysstat version.

%util

Percentage of CPU time during which I/O requests were issued to the device (bandwidth utilization for the device). Device saturation occurs when this value is close to 100%.

Options

-c

Display the CPU utilization report.

-d

Display the device utilization report.

-g group_name { device [...] | ALL }

Display statistics for a group of devices. The iostat command reports statistics for each individual device in the list, then a line of global statistics for the group displayed as group_name made up of all the devices in the list.

The ALL keyword means that all the block devices defined by the system shall be included in the group.

-h

Make the Device Utilization Report easier to read by a human. (That's you!)

-k

Display statistics in kilobytes per second.

-m

Display statistics in megabytes per second.

-N

Display the registered device mapper names for any device mapper devices. Useful for viewing LVM2 statistics.

-p [ { device [,...] | ALL } ]

The -p option displays statistics for block devices and all their partitions that are used by the system. If a device name is entered on the command line, then statistics for it and all its partitions are displayed.

The ALL keyword indicates that statistics have to be displayed for all the block devices and partitions defined by the system, including those that have never been used.

-T

This option must be used with option -g and indicates that only global statistics for the group are to be displayed, and not statistics for individual devices in the group.

-t

Print the time for each report displayed. The timestamp format may depend on the value of the S_TIME_FORMAT environment variable (see below).

-V

Print version number and exit.

-x

Display extended statistics.

-z

Tell iostat to omit output for any devices for which there was no activity during the sample period.

Environment

The iostat command takes into account the following environment variables:

S_TIME_FORMAT

If this variable exists and its value is ISO then the current locale will be ignored when printing the date in the report header. The iostat command will use the ISO 8601 format (YYYY-MM-DD) instead. The timestamp displayed with option -t will be also be compliant with ISO 8601 format.

POSIXLY_CORRECT

When this variable is set, transfer rates are displayed in 512-K blocks instead of the default 1K blocks.

iostat examples

iostat

Display a single history-since-boot report for all CPU and Devices.

iostat -d 2

Display a continuous device report at two-second intervals.

iostat -d 2 6

Display, for all devices, six reports at two-second intervals.

iostat -x sda sdb 2 6

Display, for devices sda and sdb, six extended reports at two-second intervals.

iostat -p sda 2 6

Display six reports at two-second intervals for device sda and all the partitions of device sda (sda1, sda2, etc.).