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SubjectRe: Heavy disk activity without apperant reason (added more info)

Dear Helge,

I had the very interesting disk activity again. No serious activity was
happening. I've tried to make some sense of the 2 output commands you've
asked, but they make not much sense. Sorry :-( that I need to ask so
much help on this (bug) report.

This is the output of vmstat

procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- --system--
----cpu----
r b swpd free buff cache si so bi bo in cs us sy
id wa
1 0 0 122124 37396 238892 0 0 0 100 1073 1246 98
2 0 0
1 0 0 121996 37396 239020 0 0 128 0 1079 1068 100
0 0 0
1 0 0 121988 37396 239020 0 0 0 0 1109 1266 99
1 0 0
1 0 0 121860 37396 239020 0 0 0 0 1124 1393 97
3 0 0
1 0 0 121924 37396 239020 0 0 0 0 1143 1220 98
2 0 0
2 0 0 121924 37416 239020 0 0 0 32 1081 1154 99
1 0 0
2 0 0 121924 37416 239020 0 0 0 0 1061 1096 99
1 0 0
1 0 0 121796 37448 239148 0 0 128 36 1063 1104 99
1 0 0
1 0 0 121732 37448 239152 0 0 0 0 1147 1471 98
2 0 0
2 0 0 121732 37448 239152 0 0 0 0 1118 1330 99
1 0 0
1 2 0 121212 37484 239160 0 0 0 180 1264 1631 96
4 0 0
1 1 0 121148 37484 239160 0 0 0 158 1305 1540 95
5 0 0
1 1 0 121148 37484 239164 0 0 0 166 1300 1678 95
5 0 0
1 1 0 121148 37484 239172 0 0 0 199 1315 6863 93
7 0 0
1 2 0 121020 37484 239316 0 0 128 217 1303 2197 94
6 0 0
1 2 0 121020 37500 239320 0 0 0 213 1300 7326 91
9 0 0
1 1 0 120956 37500 239328 0 0 0 225 1352 1842 93
7 0 0
3 1 0 120948 37500 239336 0 0 0 219 1346 1656 94
6 0 0
1 1 0 120772 37500 239348 0 0 0 228 1351 1678 94
6 0 0
2 1 0 120948 37500 239356 0 0 0 198 1252 1476 96
4 0 0
1 0 0 121204 37500 239484 0 0 128 40 1122 1162 98
2 0 0
and this is top

top - 20:17:06 up 1:15, 1 user, load average: 1.63, 1.26, 1.19
Tasks: 77 total, 3 running, 74 sleeping, 0 stopped, 0 zombie
Cpu(s): 4.0% us, 2.0% sy, 93.1% ni, 0.0% id, 0.0% wa, 1.0% hi, 0.0% si
Mem: 515692k total, 394488k used, 121204k free, 37500k buffers
Swap: 136512k total, 0k used, 136512k free, 239484k cached


PID USER PR NI VIRT RES SHR S %CPU %MEM TIME+
COMMAND
118 root 39 19 1120 584 1072 R 94.4 0.1
68:55.07 dnetc
225 root 16 0 73620 20m 54m R 1.0 4.2
1:15.36 X
263 stef 15 0 21116 6720 7412 S 1.0 1.3
0:05.12 xmms
303 stef 15 0 22948 14m 14m S 1.0 3.0
0:14.47 gnome-terminal
318 stef 15 0 66528 49m 26m S 1.0 9.9
3:56.12 mozilla-bin
667 stef 16 0 1912 1028 1756 R 1.0 0.2
0:09.34 top
1 root 16 0 420 216 388 S 0.0 0.0
0:06.29 init
2 root 34 19 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0
0:00.00 ksoftirqd/0
3 root 5 -10 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0
0:00.02 events/0
4 root 5 -10 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0
0:00.01 kblockd/0
5 root 15 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0
0:00.03 kapmd
6 root 25 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0
0:00.00 pdflush
7 root 15 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0
0:00.28 pdflush
8 root 25 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0
0:00.00 kswapd0
9 root 10 -10 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0
0:00.00 aio/0
10 root 21 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0
0:00.00 scsi_eh_0
11 root 15 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0
0:00.00 ahc_dv_0

Best regards,

Stef

Helge Hafting wrote:

> Stef van der Made wrote:
>
>>
>> On my AMD athlon system with 512MB memory I sometimes get a lot of
>> disk activity the activity normaly lasts for about 10 seconds and
>> after that the disk stays relativily quiet as expected with the load
>> on the system. When I look into top I don't see any programs that
>> could explain the disk activity. The system is in most cases not
>> using any swap.
>>
> Try finding out what is causing this.
> Have a "vmstat 1" running. Break it after this
> disk activity starts. You should be able to
> see wether it is normal io or swap.
>
> Also have a "top -d 1" running. A normal
> process issuing lots of io will probably
> show up here too. "ps aux" during
> the activity might also be a good idea.
>
> Note that such behaviour isn't necessarily unusual.
> Perhaps cron started something that needed lots
> of reads to start? Perhaps you got a bunch of emails?
> Email software often use synchronous writes, so they won't
> loose any of your mail even in case of a crash.
> This synchronous io makes for _lots_ of disk seeking.
> Email filters (for spam and other purposes) may make this even worse,
> with email messages being written synchronously several times.
> If you use "fetchmail" started by cron - see if these disk bursts
> correspond with mail fetching.
>
> Helge Hafting
>
>

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