Is there any way to track a specific process and get stats for disk IO such as queue depth, total reading/writing threads, percent of reads/writes and so on?

The main goal is to use all that information to emulate IO activity with fio tool.
Or maybe any other way (tool) to estimate which hardware can be better for specific load?

Of course testing is the best option, but not fully available for me, I cannot buy all possible hardware.
So I have to compare with one which I already have to make some assumptions before buying.

1 Answer 1


You can use pidstat -d to get per-process IO statistics. Use -p if you want to get statistics for a specific process - e.g. getting disk stats for a java process every second:

pidstat 1 -d -p $(pgrep java)

Use iostat -x for extended disk stats like "average queue size", etc.

iostat -xmdz 1
Device            r/s     rMB/s   rrqm/s  %rrqm r_await rareq-sz     w/s     wMB/s   wrqm/s  %wrqm w_await wareq-sz     d/s     dMB/s   drqm/s  %drqm d_await dareq-sz  aqu-sz  %util
sda              0.00      0.00     0.00   0.00    0.00     0.00    2.00      0.01     1.00  33.33    0.50     6.00    0.00      0.00     0.00   0.00    0.00     0.00    0.00   0.40

See also https://medium.com/netflix-techblog/linux-performance-analysis-in-60-000-milliseconds-accc10403c55

Note that unless you're doing "raw disk IO" the file system OS layer can have a huge impact on your application's performance - e.g. page cache in Linux caches recent contents of files in memory so the read speed can be much higher than what's possible by the disk alone. To monitor the file system operation you can use BPF tools like vfsstat, biolatency, ext4slower, ext4dist et al. You can also hdparm to measure both raw disk IO speed and "cached IO" speed - e.g.

root@ubuntu-18:~# hdparm -tT /dev/sda

 Timing cached reads:   11568 MB in  1.99 seconds = 5807.23 MB/sec
SG_IO: bad/missing sense data, sb[]:  70 00 05 00 00 00 00 0a 00 00 00 00 20 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
 Timing buffered disk reads: 1682 MB in  3.00 seconds = 560.58 MB/sec

Notice how "cached reads" have a much larger throughput of almost 6GBs/sec compared to "buffered disk reads". There can be an even larger difference if you use a moderately sized cloud/AWS instance.

  • iostat looks promising, though I have to isolate process and disk it is using to get some per process values
    – Maxim
    Commented May 20, 2021 at 16:57

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