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Load Averages Explained
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 67

by sambah sambah is offline 05 Jun 2006

All "load average" indicates is a rough idea of the number of queued processes waiting for a resource plus active (currently running) processes.

When you see numbers like 1.43 1.47 3.45 it indicates the load average over 3 different periods (1m, 5m, 15m)

Its important to note that "load average" doesnt accurately depict how busy your system is, or why your system is busy.

You could have 1 process running and nothing queued, and have 100% CPU useage, or you could be running a backup with 100% HD/Network useage. That would have a knockon effect to all the other processes in a potential queue.

On the other hand you could have 20 active and queued apache threads and be at 1% cpu load.

The number of cores/CPU's etc makes no difference to the load average (which is obvious from the above explanation.

What does load average actually tell you then? If it's consistently very high it means one or some of your resources is probably overloaded.

A very *general* idea of a good load average is <3.00. However it depends on many variables.

Hope this helps a few people and isn't too technical. Let me know if you want a less techy version

Last edited by sambah; 05 Jun 2006 at 07:37..
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Old 21 Jun 2006, 01:30
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G_Man G_Man is offline
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Great Post. Thanks for that.
Feel free to check it out and tell me what I can do better.
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Old 21 Jun 2006, 05:11
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FLMom FLMom is offline
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Thank you for posting this! I always get confused with all of this.
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Old 21 Jun 2006, 21:32
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Princeton Princeton is offline
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Great tip! Thank you.
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Old 02 Nov 2008, 21:50
digitalnorte digitalnorte is offline
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Great Post !
Very very usefull for me, I had some questions, now all is cleared.

Best regards
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Old 14 Nov 2008, 01:21
vip_inc200 vip_inc200 is offline
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It is very usefull.

Thank you.
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Old 19 Oct 2009, 16:04
Vibhor Vibhor is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
You say it should be below 3. But my site has 5+. Hope it's OK.

Last edited by Vibhor; 24 Feb 2012 at 17:22.
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Old 30 Oct 2009, 10:19
merkaz merkaz is offline
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Thanks for sharing this .
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