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I have a complex directory structure with lot of small files in it. like:


When I launch a du or find on this directory (/opt/data/) my server load increases a lot (0,5 --> 25) and my system doesn't respond any more.

Can I "slow down" the execution of the du/find command to keep my system accessible? I don't care if the command takes 3 days to run :-) I've tried with nice -n 19 with no success...

Thank you !

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I'm not 100% sure, but the problem is that DU is disk I/O intensive, and I think NICE will only prioritize CPU resources. I don't really have an answer, but I though that this comment could help. – Bob Rivers Dec 3 '09 at 15:15
yes bob, you're right. the problem is I/O... – Matthieu Dec 3 '09 at 15:29
up vote 8 down vote accepted

You could use "ionice" to be more gentle to the system.


$ ionice du /opt/data

You can even set the io scheduling on a pid:

$ ionice -c 3 -p 1023

See man page for more info on how to use "ionice"

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+1, I didn't know ionice existed! Very nice! – pauska Dec 3 '09 at 15:14
Thank you! I've tried... but nothing change. Note: this tool is in debian "schedutils" package. – Matthieu Dec 3 '09 at 15:31

I would do both ionice and nice:

So after running ionice, then run renice:

renice -n 20 -p 1023

You could also just launch the process with nice in the first place.

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