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What are the biggest signs that a ( LAMP ) server is working too hard? Are there any metrics you take into consideration before beefing up your box or scaling out?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Surely the most straight forward indicator is page loading speed? Google certainly put a lot of emphasis on it.

This will be affected by everything that goes into your system (disk io, network, physical memory, etc). So if your looking for a metric, this must be the one to monitor!

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+1 - it doesn't matter if the server is running at 10% or 90% utilisation, or if you have 1 or 100 web servers - if your page load time is slow, end users will be unhappy! –  Mark Henderson Feb 13 '10 at 22:44
    
Straight forward, yes. But would this lead you to a false sense of security? What if you observed satisfactory page load speeds but your server was just about to die? –  Rimian Feb 13 '10 at 23:44
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