Using dstat to analyze important system parameters

Data Streams

If you want to know about current system resource consumption, take a look at the network. Depending on the volume of data flow, the kernel and the application can lay claim to computing time. The option combination -n --net-packets allows you to monitor the current load as it is relates to the flow of data over your network (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Data streaming over the network can also affect your system.

The net/total area summarizes all of the network interfaces and indicates the bandwidth for the incoming(recv) and outgoing (send) data traffic in increments of Bytes or Kilobytes per time intervals. The pkt/total category refers to the number of data packets received (#recv) and sent (#send) on all network interfaces.

The information found under net/total may provide insight into bottlenecks. For example during testing, the bandwidth for receiving data went up to about 1.2 Mbit/s on a 16 Mbit DSL connection with 2 Mbit/s downstream. This was an indication that there wasn't much virtual breathing room.


Each option lets you keep an eye on specific individual resources. If necessary, you can combine various options in order to simultaneously observe things like both the disk I/O and the network load.

The dstat manpage contains numerous additional options for gathering useful information. You could try combining -n --net-packets with the --top-io option for instance, to see what happens. There are also options for Postfix and MySQL.

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