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So here is the situation: We have a couple of linux servers which we use for our work. So one of the users has a script running (just for fun, no work), which distribute a ton of other scripts to all resources but having lower priority so they will shut down if somebody else submits a job. My feeling is, that the server react really slowly to my jobs and run really unstable since these scripts were introduced, even though the person sais the jobs won't have any effect on ours. Attached is a 'top' of one of the servers. These scripts only use CPU and hardly any memory.

My question is: Do these low priority processes really not effect any other jobs? I don't know much about this kind of stuff so I am very gratefull for any advice. Thank you!

Best, AL

top - 11:41:04 up 48 days, 21:04,  6 users,  load average: 61.01, 62.19, 65.57
Tasks: 743 total,  13 running, 730 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
Cpu(s):  0.0%us,  0.0%sy, 99.9%ni,  0.0%id,  0.0%wa,  0.0%hi,  0.0%si,  0.0%st
Mem:    258462M total,    92204M used,   166258M free,      295M buffers
Swap:    20481M total,       42M used,    20438M free,    80112M cached
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yes they do have an impact but if done correctly I'd think it would be unnoticeable. –  tony roth Apr 8 '13 at 13:54

2 Answers 2


The number of processes, what they're doing, priorities and the server's configuration all have an impact. This looks like a relatively-large server, but if it's not tuned well or there are other resource conflicts, this can happen.

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Your load average (number of runnable processes averaged over time) is quite large, the machine is under heavy load unless you have 16 to 32 cores. No wonder it feels sluggish. Almost all the load is nice(1)d processes, but they clog the machine up anyway.

Perhaps run them with higher niceness? Having so many taks running could create a problem too, instead of running many scripts run fewer?

You don't have memory problems, but CPU overload.

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