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Here is the output for #vmstat for my VPS (Parallels virtualization):

procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- --system-- -----cpu------
 r  b   swpd   free   buff  cache   si   so    bi    bo   in   cs us sy id wa st
 0  0      0 323044      0 358840    0    0    56     0    0 25354  0  0 99  0  0
 0  0      0 322708      0 359056    0    0   208     0    0 23444  0  0 99  0  0
 0  0      0 322248      0 359500    0    0   440   452    0 23553  0  0 99  0  0
 0  0      0 321212      0 360076    0    0   576    24    0 23141  0  0 99  1  0

As you can see, the cs value is off-the-scale. It varies between 20000 and 30000. What could be causing this? My website runs fine, then occasionally spikes up to load average 80, disabling the website for 10 minutes at a time.

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1 Answer 1

cs is "context switches", a context switch is basically "the CPU changing between tasks". It's normal for this value to be high, they can happen hundreds of times a second, as part of normal multitasking.

Your load spike issue is unlikely to be related, busy systems will generally have a large cs counter.

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