System accounting tools

July 16, 2009 at 9:27 pm
filed under Technology
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I like playing around with operating systems. I installed Windows 7 RC a few weeks ago, for instance. And then a couple of weeks ago, I installed Ubuntu 9.04. I’m sticking with Ubuntu for now, despite Flash not having any sound.

One thing guaranteed to bring on swearing is an OS that’s tanking. Some process sucks up CPU or disk and pulls down the whole OS with it. *nix flavored operating systems make this easier to deal with by exposing OS internals and providing you with tools to process that information.

What’s bothered me until now is that I had no idea how to audit things like who’s using up the most CPU cycles, who’s taking up all the network bandwidth and so on. My rough equivalent was ps -eo c,args | tail -n +2 | sort, wrapped up in a convenience function. I was looking at NetBSD stuff and stumbled across a few tools under the configuration, administering, and tuning section. These tools surely have Linux counterparts, if they aren’t mostly the same.

Of particular interest to me were:

sysstat appears to be a collection of tools in Linux.

I still haven’t found a good network auditing tool. I suppose wireshark is a viable choice, coming as it does with command line tools. I’ll have to play around— I don’t really want low-level packet dumps, and a list of open connections from netstat(8) isn’t quite what I want, either. I’ll have to play around. And of course if you have any suggestions, feel free to drop ’em in the comments.

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