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is there any way to see the disk I/O per pid/process ? Monitorix shows me the following and correct me if I´m wrong, but it looks like that the harddrive is slowing down the whole system: enter image description here


Atop seems to give a great overview above everything.

  • Might I ask you what the wait I marked red means?
  • Is that the wait from the disk I/O?

enter image description here

share|improve this question
You have either atop, iotop or pidstat – sebelk Mar 4 '14 at 22:36
@sebelk Hey, I updated the question, it would be nice if you can take a look. :) – user2693017 Mar 4 '14 at 23:00
it was not realy possible to select a best answer so I decided to take the one which helped me the most and upvoted the other ones. – user2693017 Mar 5 '14 at 22:50
@user2693017 - that's completely fine, as the OP it's your prerogative which A best suited your needs. – slm Mar 6 '14 at 1:35
up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's difficult for me to look well at this pictures, but:

Take a look at man atop:

I wonder if you finally are asking for another thing, in the CPU section you have:

Every  line contains the percentage of cpu time spent in kernel mode by all
active processes (`sys'), the percentage of cpu time consumed in user mode
(`user') for all active processes (including processes running with a nice
value larger than zero), the  percentage  of  cpu  time spent  for  interrupt
handling  (`irq')  including  softirq, the percentage of unused cpu time while
no processes were waiting for disk-I/O (`idle'), and the percentage of unused
cpu time while at least one process was waiting for disk-I/O (`wait').

In case of per-cpu occupation, the last column shows the cpu number and the
wait percentage (`w') for that cpu.  The number of lines showing the per-cpu
occupation can be limited.

Anyway you may read the disk-specific statistics:

d    Show disk-related output.

            When "storage accounting" is active in  the  kernel,  the  
            following  fields  are shown: process-id, amount of data read 
            from disk, amount of data written to disk, amount of data that 
            was written but has been withdrawn again (WCANCL), disk 
            occupation percentage and process name.

As well as these options.


    D   Sort  the  current  list  in the order of disk accesses issued.  
        The one-but-last column changes to ``DSK''.


RDDSK   When the kernel maintains standard io statistics (>= 2.6.20):

        The  read  data  transfer issued physically on disk (so reading from 
        the disk cache is not accounted for).


WRDSK   When the kernel maintains standard io statistics (>= 2.6.20):

        The  write  data  transfer  issued physically on disk (so writing to 
        the disk cache is not accounted for).  This counter is maintained 
        for the  application process  that writes its data to the cache 
        (assuming that this data is physically transferred to disk later 
        on). Notice that disk I/O needed for swapping is not taken into 


        Logical volume/multiple device/disk utilization. 

        Per active unit one line is produced, sorted on unit activity.
        Such  line shows the name (e.g. VolGroup00-lvtmp for a logical
        volume or sda for a hard disk), the busy percentage i.e. the
        portion of time that the unit was busy handling requests
        (`busy'),  the  number  of  read  requests  issued  (`read'), the
        number of write requests issued (`write'), the number of KiBytes
        per read (`KiB/r'),  the  number of  KiBytes  per write
        (`KiB/w'), the number of MiBytes per second throughput for reads
        (`MBr/s'),  the  number  of  MiBytes  per second  throughput  for
        writes (`MBw/s'), the average queue depth (`avq') and the average
        number of milliseconds needed by a request (`avio') for seek,
        latency and data transfer.

        If the screen-width does not allow all of these counters, only a
        relevant subset is shown.

        The  number of lines showing the units can be limited per class
        (LVM, MDD or DSK) with the 'l' key or statically (see separate
        man-page of atoprc).  By specifying the  value  0  for  a
        particular class, no lines will be shown any more for that class.
share|improve this answer
thanks very much. If it is difficult because of the size, take the direct link: i.stack.imgur.com/5ifJi.png – user2693017 Mar 5 '14 at 22:51

I believe there are a lot tools. One of them is pidstat:

pidstat -d 5

Shows I/O of processes every 5 seconds.


$ pidstat -d 5
Linux 3.12.11-201.fc19.x86_64 (greeneggs.bubba.net)     03/04/2014  _x86_64_    (4 CPU)

06:19:05 PM   UID       PID   kB_rd/s   kB_wr/s kB_ccwr/s  Command
06:19:10 PM  1000     29486      0.00    317.93      0.00  chrome

06:19:10 PM   UID       PID   kB_rd/s   kB_wr/s kB_ccwr/s  Command
06:19:15 PM  1000     29486      0.00    368.00      0.00  chrome

06:19:15 PM   UID       PID   kB_rd/s   kB_wr/s kB_ccwr/s  Command
06:19:20 PM  1000     29486      0.00    591.62    836.73  chrome

06:19:20 PM   UID       PID   kB_rd/s   kB_wr/s kB_ccwr/s  Command
06:19:25 PM  1000      2410      0.00      0.80      0.00  mono
06:19:25 PM  1000     29486      0.00    262.40      0.00  chrome

Average:      UID       PID   kB_rd/s   kB_wr/s kB_ccwr/s  Command
Average:     1000      2410      0.00      0.20      0.00  mono
Average:     1000     29486      0.00    385.02    209.29  chrome

From the point where you see the Ctrl+C (aka. ^C) is the totals for the duration of the run above.

share|improve this answer
A screenshot would be awesome. – Seth Mar 4 '14 at 23:09
I currently have no IO load, therefore I omitted the output. :-) – user55518 Mar 4 '14 at 23:10
Time to do some disk testing/management :P – Seth Mar 4 '14 at 23:11
thank you slm, well done! – user55518 Mar 4 '14 at 23:48
nice, is it possible to let it run for 1 hour and get the overall results? – user2693017 Mar 5 '14 at 1:06

Take a look at this U&L Q&A titled: Amazon EC2 micro instance large number of IO requests, where I provide details around a tool called fatrace. I also cover it in this Q&A titled: Determining Specific File Responsible for High I/O.


This is a new addition to the Linux Kernel and a welcomed one, so it's only in newer distros such as Ubuntu 12.10. My Fedora 14 system was lacking it 8-).

It provides the same access that you can get through inotify without having to target a particular directory and/or files.

$ sudo fatrace
pickup(4910): O /var/spool/postfix/maildrop
pickup(4910): C /var/spool/postfix/maildrop
sshd(4927): CO /etc/group
sshd(4927): CO /etc/passwd
sshd(4927): RCO /var/log/lastlog
sshd(4927): CWO /var/log/wtmp
sshd(4927): CWO /var/log/lastlog
sshd(6808): RO /bin/dash
sshd(6808): RO /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ld-2.15.so
sh(6808): R /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ld-2.15.so
sh(6808): O /etc/ld.so.cache
sh(6808): O /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc-2.15.so

The above shows you the process ID that's doing the file accessing and which file it's accessing, but it doesn't give you any overall bandwidth usage, so each access is indistinguishable to any other access.

NOTE: fatrace can take a -p PID argument so you can direct it to watch a single PID if you want instead.

share|improve this answer
Really nice tool, thanks I didn't know about of it! – sebelk Mar 5 '14 at 12:42
you have a related and nice tool that is ftop – sebelk Mar 5 '14 at 12:50
@sebelk - yup thanks, have that installed already too. – slm Mar 5 '14 at 13:20
I like this tool. It shows which task accesses which files on disk. These files can however also be mmaped, so only buffer access happens and no IO access. – user55518 Mar 6 '14 at 0:55

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