How to Check System Performance with AWS

By John Paul Mueller

AWS (Amazon Web Services) provides you with a number of methods for monitoring AWS-specific services. However, you may have underlying system performance issues or non-AWS application issues to deal with, which means having tools that can work outside of AWS. The Performance Tools group package contains a number of Linux-specific tools for accomplishing this task as follows (listed as mandatory, default, or optional packages):

Utility/Package What It Does
Mandatory Packages  
blktrace Performs block I/O tracing tasks to determine the time required to perform tasks such as data transfers. See http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~aaronc/iosched/doc/blktrace.html for additional details.
sysstat (includes: sar, sadf, mpstat, iostat, tapestat, pidstat, cifsiostat, and sa) Provides access to a set of utilities to perform a series of specific, system-level checks. For example, the sar command collects, reports, and saves system activity information. See http://sebastien.godard.pagesperso-orange.fr/ for additional details.
Default Packages  
dstat Generates system resource statistics for CPU, disk, I/O, memory, and network activity. See http://dag.wiee.rs/home-made/dstat/ for additional details.
iotop Focuses on generating statistics for block read and block write requests for disks. See http://linux.die.net/man/1/iotop for additional information.
oprofile Performs continuous, system-wide monitoring of resources and activity. See http://oprofile.sourceforge.net/news/ for additional information.
Optional Packages  
oprofile-jit Provides the capability of creating Executable and Linkable Format (ELF) files after an OProfile monitoring session. See http://oprofile.sourceforge.net/doc/getting-jit-reports.html for additional details.

Group packages that contain mandatory packages install those packages no matter how else you might install the group package. Mandatory packages give you the minimal functionality needed to use the group package.