Monitoring Linux server performance with procallator

I manage a fair number of Linux hosts, and like to keep tabs on how my systems are performing. One way I accomplish this is with procallator, which is a Perl script that collects performance data that can be graphed by orca. The graphs that orca produces are great awesome for trening server performance over time, and can be extremely valuable when debugging performance problems.

To setup procallator to collect performance data, you first need to retrieve the latest orca CVS snapshot from the orcaware snapshots directory (the procallator script is included with the orca snapshot, and the latest version contains a number of fixes). Once orca is downloaded, you will need to extract the tarball and run configure to modify the variables in the header of the procallator script:

$ tar xfj orca-snapshot-r529.tar.bz2

$ cd orca-snapshot-r529

$ ./configure –prefix=/opt/orca-r529 –with-html-dir=/opt/html

After the configure operation completes, you can install the procallator scripts with the Makefile’s install option:

$ make install

This will place the procallator perl script in $PREFIX/bin. To make sure the script starts at system boot, you can copy the $PREFIX/data_gathers/procallator/S99procallator script to /etc/rc3.d (or /etc/init.d depending on how you install your init scripts):

$ cp S99procallator /etc/rc3.d

Once these files are in place, you can start procallator by invoking the init script with the start option:

$ /etc/rc3.d/S99procallator start

This will start the procallator script as a daemon process, and the script will write performance data to the directory defined in the procallator script’s DEST_DIR variable every 5 minutes (this is tunable). The performance files will contain the name proccol-YYYY-MM-DD-INDEX, and one file will be produced each day. To graph the data in the procallator files, you can use orca and the procallator.cfg file that is in the $PREFIX/data_gathers/procallator directory. I placed a sample set of performance graphs on my website, and you can reference the article monitoring LDAP performance article for details on setting up orca to graph data. I digs me some procallator!

6 thoughts on “Monitoring Linux server performance with procallator”

  1. pls help me to understand.
    a) procallator is meant for data collection, correct/not?
    b) to get the data graphed/displayed, we do need orca which somehow installable on sun solaris platform only, don’t we?

  2. > procallator is meant for data collection, correct/not?

    You are correct. The procallator script that comes with Orca will only collect performance data.

    > to get the data graphed/displayed, we do need orca which somehow
    > installable on sun solaris platform only, don’t we?

    You will need to install Orca to graph the data collected by the procallator script.

  3. I don’t see that orca is sun only. Where did you get that impression? The whole thing compiles and installs on redhat cleanly for me.

  4. matty, can you explain why you are using these tools vs tools like sar and rrdtool to graph? Any benefits?

  5. Hey Don,

    Procallator graphs numerous metrics by default, so there is no need to parse sar data and generate graphs. It provides awesome visibility into my systems, which is the reason I use it.

    – Ryan

  6. I get this – please advise.

    Use of uninitialized value in numeric ne (!=) at /usr/sbin/procallator line 1120.

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