A learned a long time ago about the
vmstat 1 command, which will allow you to watch some of the action that’s happening in your system. It’s a useful command, and I find myself relying on it most often when I want to get an idea of drive input and output.
But for an application that is dedicated to watching drive throughput as it occurs, by process, iotop is a better solution.
In the vein of iftop, htop and perhaps even iptraf, iotop looks a lot like the age-old
top, and behaves similarly too. Process by process, you get a full list of everything running and what it requires in disk access. Aside from that there are some filters available, a batch mode that will run uninterrupted, sorting options and so forth, as you might expect.
It’s a python program, and as mentioned in the past, programs that run through python or other interpreters can be more taxing on underdog hardware. I get the feeling this one is fairly lightweight though, and considering it might help you pinpoint that annoying drive hog somewhere, it’s probably worth the resources it requires.
P.S.: fbterm in the background once more. Suddenly I have a use for all my old wallpaper again. …