How and Why to Monitor Server CPU Usage | Scalyr

When I ’ thousand using any application, I want it to be fast. Fast applications make me happy. And I ’ thousand certain it ’ s the lapp with everybody. If you own any application that works with the internet, it ’ mho all-important to focus on server performance. There are a bunch of things to take care of to have a well-performing server. But to improve something, you need to know where it stands in the first place. consequently, monitoring your server is the first step to increasing your server ’ sulfur performance .
When talking about what to monitor to understand a server ’ second performance, there are many metrics that might come up. We ’ ll focus on fair one in this mail : server CPU custom. We ’ ll originate by explaining what server CPU usage is, and then we ’ ll discus why and how to monitor it .
CPU in Scalyr colors signifying server cpu usage monitor

What Does Server CPU Usage Mean?

Everything that happens on the server is a undertaking to the system. This tax breaks down to processes that are executed by the server. Processes can be of different complexities and differ in how fast they can be completed. And based on this, the CPU takes some prison term to execute the process. In early words, the CPU is being used to execute the process. CPU use is the share of prison term that the CPU is being used to complete its tasks.

server cpu usage monitor
When your system is up and running, a CPU can be in three states : dead, interfering, or waiting for I/O .


When the CPU is in the idle state of matter, the CPU is doing nothing. It ’ mho precisely waiting for a tax to be assigned to it. It ’ sulfur highly unlikely to see a CPU in idle department of state if you have a unmarried central processing unit system. even if you aren ’ triiodothyronine running any application or doing anything, the CPU would be used to execute operating system tasks. But if your system has multiple processors, you could see one or some of them idle. This could be because lone one or few processors are being used and the others have nothing to do .


The antonym of the idle country is the busy state, which is when the CPU is being used to execute a action. A CPU is responsible for different types of tasks. During the procedure of executing tasks, a CPU does four things :

  1. Fetch: The instructions to complete the task are stored in the memory. The CPU has to get these instructions from the memory to understand what to do.
  2. Decode: The instructions for the CPU can be in different formats, such as a program. For example, let’s say you wrote a program in C, Java, or Python. CPUs can’t directly understand these coding languages. It has to decode it into a form that it can understand.
  3. Execute: This is when the CPU is actually doing the task.
  4. Storage: Once the CPU completes the task, it has to give feedback about the task. The results after task execution are stored to the memory.

I/O Operations

This is the express where the CPU is not completely idle but is not busy, either. During a process murder, a CPU might have to output some data to another part or process. Or the CPU might have to wait to get data from another process or component. In that case, it ’ s waiting for the I/O operation to be complete so that it can resume executing its tax .
CPU custom is the measure of the CPU when it ’ s in a non-idle submit. Although CPU usage is measured in percentage, you could see CPU use values being greater than a 100 %. This doesn ’ thymine mean that the CPU is overloaded. For exemplar, you would see CPU usage greater than 100 % in multiprocessor systems. The value of CPU use for a system is the sum of share of CPU usage of individual CPUs. so, if you have two processors and one of them has a CPU use of 60 % and the other has a CPU usage of 50 %, the total CPU usage rate would be 110 % .

What Causes High CPU Usage?

Finding the congress of racial equality of the problem helps you enforce better solutions for high CPU use. There can be respective reasons for CPU custom based on use-cases. I ’ meter listing the most common causes .

Processes With High CPU Requirement

Some programs require high CPU resources. If you have a moo specification system and are trying to run a high-end video game, obviously the CPU use will go through the roof. similarly, there can be different processes that require high CPU resources in order to work. such processes or a number of processes which as a subtotal utilize high gear CPU can be one of the causes. On servers, running multiple services to keep the server tend, simulations, etc., can cause high CPU custom .

Background Processes

Processes can be primarily divided into 2 categories : system processes and lotion processes. system processes are the processes that are needed in order to keep your system running. application processes are the processes that you ’ five hundred use for a specific determination. When these processes keep running in the background, they eat up CPU resources .
A draw of application processes keep running in the background even after you close the application window. This is less likely to happen on a server because a waiter is normally maintained and cleaned sporadically to have entirely the processes it needs but it ’ s distillery possible .


Malware ( Mal icious Soft ware ) are programs used by malicious actors to attack your system or to perform bastard actions on your organization. initially, malware doesn ’ thyroxine utilize senior high school CPU resources to stay hidden but when they start performing malicious actions, they cause high CPU use. I witnessed this incident where malware had been induced in a server a week before and one day it started transferring all sensitive data from the waiter to cloud storage. so, this malware didn ’ triiodothyronine use much CPU resources while it was setting up things and finding critical data. But once it found everything it needed, there was a huge ear in CPU usage ascribable to data transfer .

Unoptimized Code

It ’ sulfur common to have custom code running on servers for specific tasks. If such codes are not optimized, they might end up using a lot of CPU resources. Unoptimized loops and recursion are some of the most park causes for high CPU usage ascribable to unoptimized code .

Common Fixes For High CPU Usage

Based on the previously address common causes, let ’ s expect at some of the park fixes for high CPU Usage .


A arrangement resume is a solution for most computer problems. How would that avail in reducing CPU use ? A resume would close all the background processes that might have started due to some military action but you no longer need it. It would besides terminate automaton processes or other processes that are indefinitely running due to malfunction. So restarting your organization would clean all ( at least most ) of the unnecessary processes and reduce CPU custom .

End Background Processes

Restarting the system might not be feasible particularly for servers. then, you will have to handle unnecessary processes without restarting the system. To do this, you can list all the processes running, identify which processes are unnecessary, and end them. This is how it would look like in windows undertaking coach :

server cpu usage monitor
Another fix is to deal with startup processes. There are some processes that are configured to start a soon as your organization boots. Some of these are necessary and some are not. You can identify such processes and disabled them from autostarting. In windows, you can find them under the “ Startup ” check in the undertaking coach :
server cpu usage monitor


Malware is dangerous. not just in terms of CPU usage but in general besides. Some malware causal agent high CPU use and using anti-malware could be your best defense against such malware. modern anti-malware software are smart and advance. They can not entirely identify malware in your system and edit or quarantine them, but they can besides prevent malware from getting onto your system. so by using anti-malware, you will not alone be fixing high CPU custom but besides prevent high CPU usage due to malware .

Code Optimization

If you identify that the argue for high CPU custom is due to unoptimized code, then you need to optimize it. You will have to analyze the code and find out what contribution of the code is consuming CPU resources and optimize it .

CPU Upgrade

If you ’ ve fixed all the other problems and optimized everything and still see gamey CPU custom then it means that your CPU necessity is high. In such cases, there ’ s no other option than to upgrade your CPU resources .

Why Should You Monitor Server CPU Usage?

A waiter can have two types of jobs to complete on a high level : a job from the drug user and a job within the system. A speculate from the user is when a drug user has requested a service or datum from the server. Let ’ s say you go to YouTube and search for something. YouTube ’ second waiter has to fetch all the video relevant to your search and send it as a response to your request. This transaction of data uses CPU clock time .
A server has tasks early than barely responding to users. It goes without saying that its CPU is being used to run the operate system and web services. But aside from this, servers can be used to run some scripts to process data. One common exemplar is running Ansible playbooks. These playbooks can execute tasks flush without the exploiter having to intervene .

Managing Resources and Tasks

If your CPU usage is first gear, then you ’ re wasting your resources. And if your CPU usage is very high, the arrangement slows polish and might start lagging. You don ’ thyroxine want either of these to happen, which is why it ’ south authoritative to monitor waiter CPU use. Monitoring server CPU usage helps you understand how much your central processing unit is being used. This will help you in deciding whether you can make your CPU do more jobs or increase your resources to cater to the necessity .
Monitoring server CPU usage helps you understand how much your CPU is being used.

Optimizing Programs

Monitoring server CPU usage has been very advantageous to manage resources arsenic well as to optimize tasks. There have been cases where programs take more time than they ideally should be taking. When you see that CPU use is higher even while executing a unretentive, simple program, you know that there ’ s something wrong with your program. Often, programs aren ’ thymine effective due to poor program rehearse. Monitoring CPU use could help you find such instances and optimize code. Hence, monitoring CPU usage is like hitting two birds with a one pit .
now that we ’ re done with the “ what ” and “ why ” of CPU usage and learned how beneficial monitor waiter CPU custom can be, let ’ s get to the “ how ” share .

How to Monitor Server CPU Usage

CPU use is not something like money that you can save up over a time period of time and then use it when you want to. idle CPU is a squandered resource. That ’ south why everybody wants the waiter CPU use to be close to 100 %. And to keep it at its best, you might have to do some tweak and keep updating the system. To know what to do, you need to know the current status of server CPU usage .
You can check your server CPU usage with a single command. If you have a Windows engage system, open your command prompt and run this command :

wmic cpu get loadpercentage

You should see the CPU custom percentage as shown in this screenshot :
how and why to monitor CPU 01
Based on your prerequisite, you can query for CPU Usage sporadically and store the data somewhere, and then look at it late. Or you can stream CPU usage into a dashboard to monitor anytime .
Most operating systems come with built-in tools and utilities for CPU Usage monitor. But these tools have limitations and they ’ re normally besides basic. In the present age, we need gain capabilities to deal with and work on monitor data and that calls the indigence for advance monitor tools. Almost every service is on-line now. And servers play an significant function in making these services available. You can not afford to wait for a couple of hours to know your waiter is down due to senior high school CPU custom. You need to continuously monitor CPU custom and other waiter metrics.

Monitor Continuously

Checking server CPU use at one indicate in clock time is not of much use. You need a solution to monitor server CPU use continuously. Almost every server operating system comes with a operation monitor where you can see the CPU use at any given clock. When monitoring server CPU use, you should look for spikes, as sudden changes in CPU custom indicated that something out of the ordinary has happened .
You need a solution to monitor server CPU usage continuously.
Along with monitoring CPU use in real fourth dimension, you want to store this data sol that you can visualize and analyze it at different intervals. To get the most out of CPU use statistics, you should collect CPU custom data at regular intervals ( preferably in real time ) by generating logs, and you should visualize it in the form of graph. We ’ ve just spoken about one metric function, but don ’ thymine forget that server CPU usage is not the lone thing to monitor. To get everything you need in one station, habit Scalyr .
Scalyr is a fast and simpleton logarithm management and analytics platform. It provides support for different sources, live tail, logarithm parsers, real-time alerts, and a distribute more. To make monitoring server metrics simple, I suggest you try Scalyr and see for yourself how easy monitoring can be .

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