Introduction to Sysstat

The Sysstat package contains utilities to monitor system performance and usage activity. Sysstat contains the sar utility, common to many commercial Unixes, and tools you can schedule via cron to collect and historize performance and activity data.

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS 12.1 platform.

Package Information

Sysstat Dependencies

Installation of Sysstat

Install Sysstat by running the following commands:

sa_lib_dir=/usr/lib/sa    \
sa_dir=/var/log/sa        \
conf_dir=/etc/sysstat     \
./configure --prefix=/usr \
            --disable-file-attr &&

This package does not come with a working test suite.

Now, as the root user:

make install

Install the systemd unit by running the following commands as the root user:

install -v -m644 sysstat.service /usr/lib/systemd/system/sysstat.service                      &&
install -v -m644 cron/sysstat-collect.service /usr/lib/systemd/system/sysstat-collect.service &&
install -v -m644 cron/sysstat-collect.timer /usr/lib/systemd/system/sysstat-collect.timer     &&
install -v -m644 cron/sysstat-rotate.service /usr/lib/systemd/system/sysstat-roate.service    &&
install -v -m644 cron/sysstat-rotate.timer /usr/lib/systemd/system/sysstat-rotate.timer       &&
install -v -m644 cron/sysstat-summary.service /usr/lib/systemd/system/sysstat-summary.service &&
install -v -m644 cron/sysstat-summary.timer /usr/lib/systemd/system/sysstat-summary.timer

Fix the systemd unit by running the following command as the root user:

sed -i "/^Also=/d" /usr/lib/systemd/system/sysstat.service

Command Explanations

sa_lib_dir: This environment variable specifies the location of the package-specific library directory.

sa_dir: This environment variable specifies the location of the directory containing the data files.

conf_dir: This environment variable specifies the location of the system configuration directory.

--disable-file-attr: Do not set attributes on files being installed. This parameter causes the installation to ignore the man group variable resulting in the man files having root: root ownership.



Run ./configure --help to see other influential environment variables you can pass to configure. You may want to use the history and compressafter variables to customize the amount of data files kept on the system.

Configuring Sysstat

Config Files

/etc/sysconfig/sysstat and /etc/sysconfig/sysstat.ioconf

Cron Information

To begin gathering Sysstat history information, you must add to, or create a privileged user's crontab. The history data location is /var/log/sa. The user running Sysstat utilities via cron must have write access to this location.

Below is an example of what to install in the crontab. Adjust the parameters to suit your needs. Use man sa1 and man sa2 for information about the commands.

# 8am-7pm activity reports every 10 minutes during weekdays
0 8-18 * * 1-5 /usr/lib/sa/sa1 600 6 &

# 7pm-8am activity reports every hour during weekdays
0 19-7 * * 1-5 /usr/lib/sa/sa1 &

# Activity reports every hour on Saturday and Sunday
0 * * * 0,6 /usr/lib/sa/sa1 &

# Daily summary prepared at 19:05
5 19 * * * /usr/lib/sa/sa2 -A &

Ensure you submit the revised crontab to the cron daemon.

System Startup Information

At system startup, a LINUX RESTART message must be inserted in the daily data file to reinitialize the kernel counters. This can be automated by enabling the previously installed systemd unit by running the following command as the root user:

systemctl enable sysstat


Installed Programs: cifsiostat, iostat, mpstat, pidstat, sadf, sar, and tapestat
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: /usr/lib/sa, /usr/share/doc/sysstat-12.7.5 and /var/log/sa

Short Descriptions


displays statistics about read and write operations on CIFS filesystems


reports CPU statistics and input/output statistics for devices and partitions


writes activities for each available processor


is used for monitoring individual tasks currently being managed by the Linux kernel


is used for displaying the contents of data files created by the sar command. But unlike sar, sadf can write its data in many different formats


is used for displaying the contents of elected cumulative activity counters in the operating system


is used for monitoring the activity of tape drives connected to a system