Load Averages on Ubuntu

Many times you check your Ubuntu server and you see high load averages.

First number is 1 minute average, second one is 5 minute average and third one is 15 minute average.

~/backup# uptime
11:09:31 up 40 days, 17:38, 2 users, load average: 1.01, 0.66, 0.47
~/backup# cat /proc/loadavg
0.40 0.54 0.44 1/255 30135

Some interpretations:

  • If the averages are 0.0, then your system is idle.
  • If the 1 minute average is higher than the 5 or 15 minute averages, then load is increasing.
  • If the 1 minute average is lower than the 5 or 15 minute averages, then load is decreasing.
  • If they are higher than your CPU count, then you might have a performance problem (it depends).

What it means on Linux or Ubuntu is this:

On Linux, load averages are (or try to be) “system load averages“, for theĀ  system as a whole, measuring the number of threads that are working and waiting to work (CPU, disk, uninterruptible locks). Put differently, it measures the number of threads that aren’t completely idle. Advantage: includes demand for different resources. Continue reading “Load Averages on Ubuntu”