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So if im logged into a linux-vserver and run the command top. Is the fields 'load average' and cpu's for the virtual server or the host machine?

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3 Answers 3

This will be for the "guest" or as you call it the "virtual server". It really doesn't have much insight as to what the host is doing.

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the thing is when I run top it says cpu's 50% but none of my processes are using any cpu... – nullptr Jul 11 '11 at 3:43
CPU performance measurement in virtual machines is always tricky. – TomTom Jul 11 '11 at 3:59
The exact answer to your question depends on a number of factors including how exactly the virtualization is implemented, the hypervisor host OS, BIOS setting on some Intel servers and other variables. A more specific answer would require more details about the exact setup – Matt Jul 16 at 1:49

In my experience with Dreamhost VPS (which I believe to be running Linux-VServer) the top-level CPU usage is possibly from the host, as it appears to report numbers higher than the guest's usage, while the load average and CPU usage per process relates to the guest.

This is confusing and based on a experience from a single virtual machine, so take it with a grain of salt, but if it's right, you might consider this misreporting of CPU usage data in guests. See this summary of an investigation by New Relic monitoring of the Dreamhost server I refer to:

Dreamhost's VPS (and this may not be the case with all of their plans) reports metrics from the kernel that don't match the actual load and process usage for the guest machine. This is often dependent on the specific provider, and it's usually a result of either the virtualization software in use, or a particular configuration that the host is using which shows strange kernel statistics as a result.

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The top command in vserver will give you load average of the server not the virtual machine.

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Since your answer is contradicting the existing, upvoted answer, you may want to cite some documentation to back up your position. – Ladadadada Oct 22 '13 at 10:21

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