We are using the Nagios plugin check_total_procs to check the total number of processes on our servers. The default settings for this that are installed are:

command[check_total_procs]=/usr/lib/nagios/plugins/check_procs -w 150 -c 200

With these settings almost all of our servers are in either a warning (over 150 processes) or critical state (over 200 processes). The servers are all Debian based and are primarily web and database servers.

My question is are those default values a good baseline? Should I worry that most of my servers appear to have over 200 running processes, or for a machine running standard LAMP stack is that pretty normal?


Every server is different - web servers in particular tend to have a lot of processes, especially if they are busy.

The best thing you could do would be to monitor your server over the space of a week of normal operation, and see how many processes are normal for your server, then configure Nagios appropriately.

Don't pay any attention to defaults like this, there is no such thing as a typical server!

  • That was kinda my assumption, especially since my processor load is really low. Thanks for the help. Nov 1 '11 at 16:13

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