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Server Load: When is high too high?
If you have a dual core CPU and the following load averages:
20.98 6.94 3.10
Is this bad?...What do the numbers actually mean for a dual core CPU rather than a single core CPU?
Load is typically 1 for each CPU / core. So a dual core would be 2 (fully loaded)
There are many factors to how those numbers are derived. if you watch top in the SSH window this will show you the top processes
Do you have some heavy mysql sites on the server ? it could be heavy disk I/O which is causing high file wait times..
Unfortunatley from the information you have provided its impossible to determine the cause.
If you dont know where to look, then it maybe best getting your server looked at by a specialist company.
Load can be affected by a lot of factors but ultimately it represents the number of processes waiting for access to the CPU. The cause can be pure CPU usage/over-usage, disk i/o wait time, etc...
Generally a load of 1 per CPU (as mentioned by abtme) is about right as a rough estimation.
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