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My nagios is suggesting that one of my hosts has a critical amount of processes.

However the load seems fine.

This server is providing mysql database and mailserver.

Should I be worried ?

244 processes but load average 0.30 0.59 0.51

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If you keep seeing this pattern, you could tweak the alert values in nagios to better reflect your situation. So you'll only get alerts when something is out of the ordinary –  artifex Aug 23 '11 at 9:22
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Depends on what those processes are doing, most likely nothing to worry about and I'd up the Nagios alerting threshold. Machines with several thousand processes aren't uncommon, on an Oracle database box for example. On modern systems you get loads of kernel threads if you have many CPU cores/threads as well. Just make sure you keep an eye on load and response times in whatever application is running on the box.

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As noted in the comment, tweak Nagios alert levels to better reflect your situation. One thing you should be looking at in addition to process count is the amount of free memory on your machine (i.e., if you have enough memory, the number of nginx child processes don't matter that much).

I think the default Nagios free memory check doesn't take into account the amount of memory in buffers (that will be freed if needed). You can write a check script that parses the output of "/usr/bin/free" in a more sensible manner (i.e., you want to look at the "-/+ buffers/cache line, at the "free" column to figure out the available remaining physical RAM).

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On a machine with single-core processor, load avearage is calculated by the number of processes that are currently running plus the number that are waiting to run. You have 244 processes but I guess almost in sleeping state (type top to verify). So, no need to worry.

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