Solaris Performance Monitoring & Tuning – iostat, vmstat, netstat

por | 9 marzo, 2011

Introduction to iostat , vmstat and netstat

This document is primarily written with reference to solaris performance monitoring and tuning but these tools are available in other unix variants also with slight syntax difference.

iostat , vmstat and netstat are three most commonly used tools for performance monitoring . These comes built in with the operating system and are easy to use .iostat stands for input output statistics and reports statistics for i/o devices such as disk drives . vmstat gives the statistics for virtual Memory and netstat gives the network statstics .

Following paragraphs describes these tools and their usage for performance monitoring.

Table of content :
1. Iostat
* Syntax
* example
* Result and Solutions

2. vmstat
* syntax
* example
* Result and Solutions

3. netstat
* syntax
* example
* Result and Solutions

Input Output statistics ( iostat )
iostat reports terminal and disk I/O activity and CPU utilization. The first line of output is for the time period since boot & each subsequent line is for the prior interval . Kernel maintains a number of counters to keep track of the values.

iostat’s activity class options default to tdc (terminal, disk, and CPU). If any other option/s are specified, this default is completely overridden i.e. iostat -d will report only statistics about the disks.

Basic synctax is iostat interval count
option – let you specify the device for which information is needed like disk , cpu or terminal. (-d , -c , -t or -tdc ) . x options gives the extended statistics .

interval – is time period in seconds between two samples . iostat 4 will give data at each 4 seconds interval.

count – is the number of times the data is needed . iostat 4 5 will give data at 4 seconds interval 5 times


$ iostat -xtc 5 2
extended disk statistics tty cpu
disk r/s w/s Kr/s Kw/s wait actv svc_t %w %b tin tout us sy wt id
sd0 2.6 3.0 20.7 22.7 0.1 0.2 59.2 6 19 0 84 3 85 11 0
sd1 4.2 1.0 33.5 8.0 0.0 0.2 47.2 2 23
sd2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0 0
sd3 10.2 1.6 51.4 12.8 0.1 0.3 31.2 3 31

The fields have the following meanings:
disk name of the disk
r/s reads per second
w/s writes per second
Kr/s kilobytes read per second
Kw/s kilobytes written per second
wait average number of transactions waiting for service (Q length)
actv average number of transactions actively being serviced
(removed from the queue but not yet completed)
%w percent of time there are transactions waiting
for service (queue non-empty)
%b percent of time the disk is busy (transactions
in progress)

Results and Solutions
The values to look from the iostat output are:
* Reads/writes per second (r/s , w/s)
* Percentage busy (%b)
* Service time (svc_t)

If a disk shows consistently high reads/writes along with , the percentage busy (%b) of the disks is greater than 5 percent, and the average service time (svc_t) is greater than 30 milliseconds, then one of the following action needs to be taken

1.) Tune the application to use disk i/o more efficiently by modifying the disk queries and using available cache facilities of application servers .

2.) Spread the file system of the disk on to two or more disk using disk striping feature of volume manager /disksuite etc.

3.) Increase the system parameter values for inode cache , ufs_ninode , which is Number of inodes to be held in memory. Inodes are cached globally (for UFS), not on a per-file system basis

4.) Move the file system to another faster disk /controller or replace existing disk/controller to a faster one.

Next Page vmstat


vmstat – vmstat reports virtual memory statistics of process, virtual memory, disk, trap, and CPU activity.

On multicpu systems , vmstat averages the number of CPUs into the output. For per-process statistics .Without options, vmstat displays a one-line summary of the virtual memory activity since the system was booted.

Basic synctax is vmstat interval count

option – let you specify the type of information needed such as paging -p , cache -c ,.interrupt -i etc.

if no option is specified information about process , memory , paging , disk ,interrupts & cpu is displayed .

interval – is time period in seconds between two samples . vmstat 4 will give data at each 4 seconds interval.

count – is the number of times the data is needed . vmstat 4 5 will give data at 4 seconds interval 5 times.

The following command displays a summary of what the system
is doing every five seconds.

example% vmstat 5

     procs  memory          page             disk      faults        cpu
     r b w swap  free re mf pi p fr de sr s0 s1 s2 s3  in  sy  cs us sy id
     0 0 0 11456 4120 1  41 19 1  3  0  2  0  4  0  0  48 112 130  4 14 82
     0 0 1 10132 4280 0   4 44 0  0  0  0  0 23  0  0 211 230 144  3 35 62
     0 0 1 10132 4616 0   0 20 0  0  0  0  0 19  0  0 150 172 146  3 33 64
     0 0 1 10132 5292 0   0  9 0  0  0  0  0 21  0  0 165 105 130  1 21 78

The fields of vmstat's display are
r     in run queue
b     blocked for resources I/O, paging etc.
w     swapped
memory (in Kbytes)
swap -  amount  of  swap   space   currently   available
free   - size of the free list

page ( in units per second).
re    page reclaims -  see  -S  option  for  how  this
field is modified.
mf    minor faults -  see  -S  option  for  how    this
field is modified.
pi    kilobytes paged in
po    kilobytes paged out
fr    kilobytes freed
de    anticipated short-term memory shortfall (Kbytes)
sr    pages scanned by clock algorithm
disk  ( operations per second )
There are  slots for up to four disks,
 labeled with a single letter and number.
The letter indicates  the  type  of disk
 (s = SCSI, i = IPI, etc).
The number is  the logical unit number.

in    (non clock) device interrupts
sy    system calls
cs    CPU context switches

cpu  -   breakdown of percentage usage of CPU  time.
 On multiprocessors  this is an a
 average across all processors.
us    user time
sy    system time
id    idle time

Results and Solution from iostat

A. CPU issues
Following columns has to be watched to determine if there is any cpu issue

1. Processes in the run queue (procs r)
2. User time (cpu us)
3. System time (cpu sy)
4. Idle time (cpu id)

     procs      cpu
     r b w    us sy  id
     0 0 0    4  14  82
     0 0 1    3  35  62
     0 0 1    3  33  64
     0 0 1    1  21  78

Problem symptoms

A.) Number of processes in run queue
1.) If the number of processes in run queue (procs r) are consistently greater than the number of CPUs on the system it will slow down system as there are more processes then available CPUs .
2.) if this number is more than four times the number of available CPUs in the system then system is facing shortage of cpu power and will greatly slow down the processess on the system.
3.) If the idle time (cpu id) is consistently 0 and if the system time (cpu sy) is double the user time (cpu us) system is facing shortage of CPU resources.

Resolution to these kind of issues involves tuning of application procedures to make efficient use of cpu and as a last resort increasing the cpu power or adding more cpu to the system.

B. Memory Issues
Memory bottlenecks are determined by the scan rate (sr) . The scan rate is the pages scanned by the clock algorithm per second. If the scan rate (sr) is continuously over 200 pages per second then there is a memory shortage.

1. Tune the applications & servers to make efficient use of memory and cache.
2. Increase system memory .
3. Implement priority paging in s in pre solaris 8 versions by adding line “set priority paging=1″ in
/etc/system. Remove this line if upgrading from Solaris 7 to 8 & retaining old /etc/system file.

netstat displays the contents of various network-related data structures in depending on the options selected.


multiple options can be given at one time.

-a – displays the state of all sockets.
-r – shows the system routing tables
-i – gives statistics on a per-interface basis.
-m – displays information from the network memory buffers. On Solaris, this shows statistics
-p [proto] – retrieves statistics for the specified protocol
-s – shows per-protocol statistics. (some implementations allow -ss to remove fileds with a value of 0 (zero) from the display.)
-D – display the status of DHCP configured interfaces.
-n do not lookup hostnames, display only IP addresses.
-d (with -i) displays dropped packets per interface.
-I [interface] retrieve information about only the specified interface.
-v be verbose

interval – number for continuous display of statictics.

$netstat -rn

Routing Table: IPv4
    Destination           Gateway               Flags  Ref   Use   Interface
-------------------- -------------------- ----- ----- ------ ---------          U        1   1444      le0           U        1   0            le0
default              UG       1   68276              UH       1   10497     lo0

This shows the output on a Solaris machine who’s IP address is with a default router at

Results and Solutions

A.) Network availability
The command as above is mostly useful in troubleshooting network accessibility issues . When outside network is not accessible from a machine check the following

1. if the default router ip address is correct
2. you can ping it from your machine.
3. If router address is incorrect it can be changed with route add command. See man route for more information.

route command examples
$route add default
$route add

If the router address is correct but still you can’t ping it there may be some network cable /hub/switch problem and you have to try and eliminate the faulty component .

B.) Network Response
$ netstat -i

Name Mtu 	Net/Dest Address 	Ipkts 	Ierrs 	Opkts Oerrs 	Collis 	Queue
lo0 8232 	loopback localhost 	77814 	0 	77814 	0 	0 	0
hme0 1500 	server1 server1 	10658 	3 	48325 	0 	279257 	0

This option is used to diagnose the network problems when the connectivity is there but it is slow in response .

Values to look at:

* Collisions (Collis)
* Output packets (Opkts)
* Input errors (Ierrs)
* Input packets (Ipkts)

The above values will give information to workout

i. Network collision rate as follows :

Network collision rate = Output collision counts / Output packets

Network-wide collision rate greater than 10 percent will indicate

* Overloaded network,
* Poorly configured network,
* Hardware problems.

ii. Input packet error rate as follows :

Input Packet Error Rate = Ierrs / Ipkts.

If the input error rate is high (over 0.25 percent), the host is dropping packets. Hub/switch cables etc needs to be checked for potential problems.

C. Network socket & TCP Connection state

Netstat gives important information about network socket and tcp state . This is very useful in
finding out the open , closed and waiting network tcp connection .

Network states returned by netstat are following

CLOSED       ----  Closed.  The socket  is  not  being used.
LISTEN       ----  Listening for incoming connections.
SYN_SENT     ----  Actively trying to  establish  connection.
SYN_RECEIVED ---- Initial synchronization of the connection under way.
ESTABLISHED  ----  Connection has been established.
CLOSE_WAIT   ----  Remote shut down; waiting  for  the socket to close.
FIN_WAIT_1   ----  Socket closed; shutting  down  connection.
CLOSING      ----  Closed,
then   remote   shutdown; awaiting acknowledgement.
LAST_ACK     ----   Remote  shut  down,  then   closed ;awaiting acknowledgement.
FIN_WAIT_2   ----  Socket closed; waiting for shutdown from remote.
TIME_WAIT    ----  Wait after close for  remote  shutdown retransmission..


#netstat -a

Local Address 	Remote Address 	Swind   	Send-Q 	Rwind 	Recv-Q 	State
*.* 	*.* 	0 	0 	24576 	0 	IDLE
*.22 	*.* 	0 	0 	24576 	0 	LISTEN
*.22 	*.* 	0 	0 	24576 	0 	LISTEN
*.* 	*.* 	0 	0 	24576 	0 	IDLE
*.32771 	*.* 	0 	0 	24576 	0 	LISTEN
*.4045 	*.* 	0 	0 	24576 	0 	LISTEN
*.25 	*.* 	0 	0 	24576 	0 	LISTEN
*.5987 	*.* 	0 	0 	24576 	0 	LISTEN
*.898 	*.* 	0 	0 	24576 	0 	LISTEN
*.32772 	*.* 	0 	0 	24576 	0 	LISTEN
*.32775 	*.* 	0 	0 	24576 	0 	LISTEN
*.32776 	*.* 	0 	0 	24576 	0 	LISTEN
*.* 	*.* 	0 	0 	24576 	0 	IDLE 	41992 	0 	24616 	0 	ESTABLISHED 	38912 	0 	24616 	0 	ESTABLISHED 	18048 	0 	24616 	0 	ESTABLISHED 

if you see a lots of connections in FIN_WAIT state tcp/ip parameters have to be tuned because the
connections are not being closed and they gets accumulating . After some time system may run out of
resource . TCP parameter can be tuned to define a time out so that connections can be released and used by new connection.