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Thread: High hard disk usage when the server isn't even being used.

  1. #1
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    Unhappy High hard disk usage when the server isn't even being used.

    I have a Pentium 3 550mhz 128mb ram server setup, that has been working well for quite a while, until now. The load average is very low:


    debian:~# uptime
    20:34:31 up 14 days, 20:18, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.04, 0.01
    debian:~#
    The server is running Debian 4, but I like this forum better

    At about 10:30 at night, the hdd started to whirl up and grind away with the bright yellow light keeping me awake. I looked at my router and switch, but there was no network activity. It does this at around 10:30 at night, every night, and it drives me crazy not being able to figure this out. The server is hosting two sites.

    http://www.thelinuxhowto.co.nr

    and

    http://www.winrid.co.nr

    Here is the filesystem usage according to munin:

    http://www.winrid.co.nr/munin

    Could someone please explain this? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Re: High hard disk usage when the server isn't even being used.

    Here is top:



    debian:~# top

    top - 20:41:39 up 14 days, 20:25, 1 user, load average: 0.04, 0.07, 0.02
    Tasks: 77 total, 1 running, 76 sleeping, 0 stopped, 0 zombie
    Cpu(s): 0.0%us, 0.3%sy, 0.0%ni, 99.7%id, 0.0%wa, 0.0%hi, 0.0%si, 0.0%st
    Mem: 127028k total, 116076k used, 10952k free, 8496k buffers
    Swap: 176672k total, 3068k used, 173604k free, 68548k cached

    PID USER PR NI VIRT RES SHR S %CPU %MEM TIME+ COMMAND
    1 root 15 0 1940 644 552 S 0.0 0.5 0:03.09 init
    2 root RT 0 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 migration/0
    3 root 34 19 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.09 ksoftirqd/0
    4 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 events/0
    5 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 khelper
    6 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 kthread
    9 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.32 kblockd/0
    10 root 20 -5 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 kacpid
    61 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 kseriod
    97 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:07.90 kswapd0
    98 root 20 -5 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 aio/0
    564 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.01 khubd
    871 root 10 -5 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:28.88 kjournald
    1048 root 20 -4 2692 440 340 S 0.0 0.3 0:00.40 udevd
    1329 root 12 -5 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 kpsmoused
    1528 root 12 -5 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:00.00 kmirrord
    1759 daemon 15 0 1680 464 380 S 0.0 0.4 0:00.01 portmap
    debian:~#

  3. #3
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    Re: High hard disk usage when the server isn't even being used.

    sounds like you have a cron job that is kicking off at the same time every night.

    take a peak in /var/log for clues.

  4. #4
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    Re: High hard disk usage when the server isn't even being used.

    Quote Originally Posted by iponeverything View Post
    sounds like you have a cron job that is kicking off at the same time every night.

    take a peak in /var/log for clues.
    I never setup a cron job ( that name made me laugh... ), but for forms sake I hope a haxor didn't. I did nano /var/log and nothing was in the file. I did find /var/log , found all the log files, and found nothing "cron" related. What else could this be? Lets say it's not at the exact same time ( because it isn't, its AROUND the same time ), what would cause this?

  5. #5
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Re: High hard disk usage when the server isn't even being used.

    It certainly sounds like it's something that's running regularly at that time. You can check your cron tasks with crontab -l.

    It's likely that as you have low RAM in your machine that it is swapping a lot, this could cause heavy disk usage if something is running that eats up all available RAM.

    If you have heavy swap usage you will likely see kswapd high up on the list in top.

  6. #6
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    Re: High hard disk usage when the server isn't even being used.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philio View Post
    It certainly sounds like it's something that's running regularly at that time. You can check your cron tasks with crontab -l.

    It's likely that as you have low RAM in your machine that it is swapping a lot, this could cause heavy disk usage if something is running that eats up all available RAM.

    If you have heavy swap usage you will likely see kswapd high up on the list in top.
    Thanks. "No crontab for root." So thats not it. Top shows kswapd accessing the hard disk for 10+ minutes, so I'll buy a 128mb stick of ram off of newegg. Does apache2 really need that much memory? I have about 500 page views.

  7. #7
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    Re: High hard disk usage when the server isn't even being used.

    If apache is using too much ram, you could look at using an alternate http server such as lighttpd.
    Ubuntu 14.04 Server
    -Linode 1GB
    Ubuntu Mate 16.04 Laptop
    -Toshiba Satellite A505-6005, Intel i3, 4.00 GB ram

  8. #8
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    Re: High hard disk usage when the server isn't even being used.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thirtysixway View Post
    If apache is using too much ram, you could look at using an alternate http server such as lighttpd.
    I already have apache2 setup... I'll just get more ram.

  9. #9
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    Re: High hard disk usage when the server isn't even being used.

    Well from what I remember I think the very basic Ubuntu server with just SSH running and the default stuff uses close to 100Mb RAM.

    Apache by default spawns quite a few processes which will use a few Mb each, if your serving PHP pages these processes can increase to 15Mb+ in size, easily filling up what little remaining RAM there probably is anyway.

    Have a look at the output of free and see how much RAM is free/how much swap is being used.

    If your getting 500 hits you could prehaps change the Apache config to only use 2 or 3 child processes.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: High hard disk usage when the server isn't even being used.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philio View Post
    Well from what I remember I think the very basic Ubuntu server with just SSH running and the default stuff uses close to 100Mb RAM.

    Apache by default spawns quite a few processes which will use a few Mb each, if your serving PHP pages these processes can increase to 15Mb+ in size, easily filling up what little remaining RAM there probably is anyway.

    Have a look at the output of free and see how much RAM is free/how much swap is being used.

    If your getting 500 hits you could prehaps change the Apache config to only use 2 or 3 child processes.
    Will changing the child processes slow down the server? If I never changed that, how many processes is it using now?

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