Gunther Mayer wrote:
Hi there,

I'm having some capacity issues on the FreeBSD 6.2/Core 2 Duo/2GB RAM server that I manage. For quite a few days now it constantly shows load averages of around 1 and a CPU usage of around 100%. Yet summing up the CPU usage of the individual processes running I hardly ever get to more than 5%, regardless of how long I watch top.

A snapshot of my top output looks like this:

last pid: 96102; load averages: 1.28, 1.15, 1.06 up 22+08:33:16 13:55:03
122 processes: 2 running, 119 sleeping, 1 zombie
CPU states: 67.3% user, 0.0% nice, 32.7% system, 0.0% interrupt, 0.0% idle
Mem: 474M Active, 974M Inact, 186M Wired, 68M Cache, 213M Buf, 93M Free
Swap: 4064M Total, 4064M Free

 635 root        1 122    0 27304K  2644K select 656:38  1.27% syslog-ng
 844 www        20  20    0   411M   300M kserel 360:13  0.00% java
 837 user1       3  20    0 29048K  5672K kserel  34:30  0.00% radiusd
 788 pgsql       1  96    0 13516K  3824K select  10:03  0.00% postgres
 785 pgsql       1 115    0   120M  7436K select   9:02  0.00% postgres
 787 pgsql       1   8    0   120M 41112K nanslp   5:15  0.00% postgres

syslog-ng is quite busy as I use it to capture logs of more than 50 remote sites. I have lots of slow queries in my postgres logs that I think are related to this bottleneck, though unoptimised queries and an ever growing amount of data are more likely to take the blame for that. High disk I/O in this regard could explain the high system utilisation, however.

I found out that I've been bitten by the freebsd-update bug ( which replaced my SMP kernel with a GENERIC one and I'm taking corrective action early tomorrow morning, but surely even with just a single CPU the load average should never be as high?

Where are those phantom CPU hogging processes?

By default top doesn't display system (kernel) processes, which can take up lots of CPU time. To show these, run top with the "-S" flag.

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