Collectl – A System Admins’ Dream Tool

We run Linux on all our servers at Bluehost and Hostmonster. Our particular flavor of linux is CentOS 4 and 5. For a variety of reasons we feel that Linux is head and shoulders better than Windows in virtually every way. But in order to really squeeze the best performance out of a system or diagnose a performance related issue you used to have to rely on many different tools to give you the bits and pieces on information you would need.

Enter “collectl” (Yes that is an L on the end of collect). Collectl is indispensable to any system admin. It replaces sar, vmstat, top, atop, iostat, and many other tools that I USED to use. Now instead of having to rely on those various tools that did 80% of what I needed I just use collectl.

Collectl was the brain child of Mark Seger over at HP’s Scalable Computing & Infrastructure group. He developed this as a tool to monitor huge clusters of HP servers, but saw the benefit that the “average” linux user could get from using this tool.

The best part of collectl in my opinion is that it is CONSTANTLY being updated and improved. This means that you have access to data and reporting that is available in many of the newer kernels. So many of the other tools out there simply don’t keep up and so get left by the wayside as the rapid development of the kernel continues.

An example of this is when I need realtime IO breakdown of processes that simply can’t be had without the data in a newer kernel. No other monitoring software out there supported what the kernel was kicking out except collectl.

Rarely do I endorse a product on my blog, but since Mark has done so much for me personally with regards to developing colleclt and helping us get the most out of collectl I feel it is the least I can do.

Collectl is a free product. You can read up on it, or download it for free at the following URL –

http://collectl.sourceforge.net/

Thanks again to Mark for all his hard work! The community greatly appreciates it!

Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com

5 Responses to “Collectl – A System Admins’ Dream Tool”

  1. Collectl – A System Admins’ Dream Tool…

    We run Linux on all our servers at Bluehost and Hostmonster. Our particular flavor of linux is CentOS 4 and 5. For a variety of reasons we feel that Linux is head and shoulders better than Windows in virtually every way. But in order to really sq…

  2. Rishi says:

    I’m not sure if this has been mentioned in the past, but it’s wonderful that as a President, you take such an obvious and sincere concern in constantly improving your service. Keep up the good work. You’ll always have my business. :-)

  3. Mark Seger says:

    First I want to thank Matt for his great endorsement. I really enjoyed working with him on adding in some pretty nifty features. He knows what he wants and made sure I did too! ;-)

    Second I want to echo his comments about collectl continually evolving and hopefully getting better with each version. I try to both keep up with new and useful kernel feature as well as to talk to as many users as I can to hear about what they like, don’t like and think could/should be added. So if anyone has any opinions I’d sure like to hear from you. If anyone is going to be attending the Super Computing show in Austin in a couple of weeks, stop by the HP booth and I’ll give you a demo…

    -mark

  4. Xoli says:

    Hi
    I have collectl installed on the cluster, I would like to use it to monitor lustre on the Sun Cluster, I have trouble installing colplot. How should I do this? the rpm packages require a lot of dependencies.

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