Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What does MiscSAR have to offer over other System Activity Reporters?

    MiscSAR is the Miscellaneous System Activity Reporter. MiscSAR collects and displays data that SAR overlooked.

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  3. What does MiscSAR collect that SAR does not?

    Process - number and type of processes running on the system. MiscSAR identifies the number of interactive processes (being run by users that are logged in), the number of batch (system level) processes, and the number of session level processes.

    User - number and type of users logged in. MiscSAR collects statistics about the number of interactive and batch users that have logged into the system.

    Load Average - how much the system is getting beat up.

    Uptime - number of days the system has been up without interuption.

    Memory - total amount and amount of used RAM.

    Swap - total amount and amount of used swap space.

    Ports - total, number of unique, and type of ports open.

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  1. What is required to run MiscSAR?

    A Bourne shell derivative (e.g. bash)

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  3. How much space should I allocate for data collection?

    Roughly 1 MB for 10 days of data.

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  5. What Operating Systems are supported?

    The following table shows the operating systems support status in Feb 2007. Currently, development is done entirely on Linux, so MiscSAR may not work out of the box on other OS's.

    Operating SystemSupport
    Mac OSXSupported

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  1. If a machine is off the network, will the data still be collected? depends on what's "down".

    If the remote system is down, then no MiscSAR data is being collected.

    If the remote system is unreachable due to a network problem, MiscSAR will continue to collect data automatically.

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  3. Can you control how much data is collected and how long it is kept?

    You can edit the miscsa2 script run by cron to change the length of time old data files are kept. Files are kept for 7 days by default.

    You can change the frequency of data collection by editing the crontab installed by enable_miscsar. The default five minute data collection interval was chosen based on input from colleagues and years of running monitoring tools.


  4. Does MiscSAR run continually in the background on the clients?

    No. Data is collected every 5 minutes.

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  6. Does MiscSAR use up a lot of system resources on the clients?

    Resource usage is neglible (< 1% CPU utilitazation).

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  8. What about firewalls and the operation of MiscSAR?

    Data collection for MiscSAR occurs locally and does not cross any network boundaries, so no firewalls should be encountered.

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Data Collection

  1. No data is being collected on the client. What's wrong?

    Make sure that MiscSAR is enabled.

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  3. What is load average?

    According to Wikipedia:

    In UNIX computing, the system load is a measure of the amount of work that a computer system performs. The load average represents the average system load over a period of time. It conventionally appears in the form of three numbers which represent the system load during the last one-, five-, and fifteen-minute periods.

    It can basically be interpreted as the number of processes that were waiting for CPU time during the previous one, five, and fifteen minutes.

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