Your Linux Data Center Experts

There are typically two reasons that a server will show high load and become unresponsive: CPU and disc utilization. On a rare occasion it's something like a hardware error causing a disc to become unresponsive. There are some great tools for tracking and isolating these issues, as long as you know how to interpret the results.

Read my article Isolating High System Load for more on how to use tools like vmstat, iostat, and iotop.

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