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Free code tracks Linux resource usage

Jul 16, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinux

* SGI’s open-source software monitors usage of Linux resources

Linux administrators looking for a little accountability of end-user activity on their networks may want to check out open-source software developed and maintained by Silicon Graphics Inc.

Comprehensive System Accounting (CSA) is a package of applications and scripts that can be used to track resource usage on a Linux server. The software can be used to monitor such system resources as disk space usage and CPU processing by individual end-user accounts. The software can also be used to set up a “billing” system for charging groups or individual users for server access.

CSA works by tracking jobs – tasks such as application usage, printing or other processes – executed on a Linux server. CSA can also track how long users are logged in, and how much disk space they’ve used.

CSA software matches the jobs to individual accounts, and compiles the data in a file. CSA also allows administrators to create system billing units (SBU), which can be defined and weighed in various ways, based on different processes available on a server. (Running a large database query can be given more weight than printing a document, for instance.)

Reports can be run on CSA to show patters of system usage, as well as for basic SBU accounting for department charge-back.

CSA is derived from the basic process accounting functions in SGI’s Irix (SGI’s Unix flavor), as well as GNU-based process accounting code. CSA could be useful for tracking processes on a specialized Linux resource, such as powerful Linux cluster for graphics rendering or scientific calculation. It can also work for managing large amounts of clients accessing a limited amount of servers. CSA can be installed on Linux 2.4 kernels.