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How to gather statistics at regular intervals

I gather a lot of statistics such as performance data. Sometimes I have multiple things going on a system and I want to be able to align and compare the resulting data from multiple processes later. That means they need to be aligned on time intervals. Here is a naive way to gather stats at intervals:

while sleep 1; do gather-some-stats; done

There are two problems: each iteration will take longer than a second, so there will be drift; and the iterations will not be aligned exactly on the clock ticks, so the data isn’t as easy to correlate with other samples. This becomes a bigger problem when there are many such jobs gathering data at longer intervals such as 15 seconds or 5 minutes, where the lack of correlation between samples can be frustrating.

Here is what I’ve been doing recently. Is there a better way?

INTERVAL=1
while true; do
   sleep=$(date +%s.%N | awk "{print $INTERVAL - (\$1 % $INTERVAL)}")
   sleep $sleep
   gather-some-stats
done

Posted on Fri, Mar 18, 2011. Approximately 200 Words.

Operations Programming