pmdaoverhead - Man Page

performance metrics domain agent (PMDA) exporting resource consumption metrics for groups of processes


$PCP_PMDAS_DIR/overhead/pmdaoverhead [-C] [-c config] [-d domain] [-l logfile] [-R interval]


pmdaoverhead is a configurable Performance Metrics Domain Agent (PMDA) for exporting resource consumption for groups of related processes.

The pmdaoverhead command line options are:


parse the configuration file(s) and exit after reporting any errors.


configuration file(s), config may be either a file or a directory; in the latter case all the files within config are assumed to be configuration files for pmdaoverhead and they will all be processed.

Each configuration file defines one or more “groups” of processes of interest, using the syntax described in the “Configuration” section below.

By default all configuration files below the $PCP_SYSCONF_DIR/overhead/conf.d/ directory are used.


It is absolutely crucial that the performance metrics domain number specified here is unique and consistent. That is, domain should be different for every PMDA on the one host, and the same domain number should be used for the same PMDA on all hosts.


Location of the log file.  By default, a log file named overhead.log is written in the current directory of pmcd(1) when pmdaoverhead is started, i.e. $PCP_LOG_DIR/pmcd. If the log file cannot be created or is not writable, output is written to the standard error instead.


The PMDA uses a separate thread to periodically scan all processes to determine which processes are deemed “interesting” in each group, and extracting resource consumption for those processes. The interval (in seconds) determines how often this scanning and resource calculation is done, the default is 60 (seconds).


Each configuration file defines one or more “groups” of processes. The file format is simple and follows the following rules.

  1. Lines beginning with a hash “#” are treated as comments. More generally, except for the pattern: clause described below, all text between a hash and the end of line is treated as a comment.
  2. White space (spaces or tabs or newlines) are required to separate lexical components.  Spaces and tabs are otherwise ignored. Other than terminating comments and the regex in a pattern: clause, newlines are also ignored.
  3. Each group is introduced by a group clause that has the form

    group name { parameters }
    where name is a unique name for the group across all groups in the pmdaoverhead configuration files. As name becomes embedded in the Performance Metrics Name Space (PMNS) if must follow the rules for metric name components as described in PMNS(5), namely beginning with an alphabetic character, followed by zero or more characters drawn from the alphabetics, numerics and the underscore “_” character.

  4. The parameters must include one id: clause and one pattern: clause.
  5. An id: clause has the form

    id: ident
    where ident is a unique identifier number for the group across all groups in the pmdaoverhead configuration files. Valid values for ident are in the range 0 to 4094 (inclusive).

  6. A pattern: clause has the form

    pattern: regex
    where regex is an extended regular expression notation in the style of egrep(1). The regex starts at the first non-whitespace character after pattern: and extends to the next newline.

    The processes that are considered to be members of the group are those for which the command name, as reported by

    $ pminfo -f proc.psinfo.cmd
    is matched by regex plus all the descendents of those processes. So for example the regex ^pmcd$ will match pmcd(1) and all the PMDA processes launched by pmcd(1) and any of their children, etc.


If you want access to the names, help text and values for the overhead performance metrics, do the following as root:

# cd $PCP_PMDAS_DIR/overhead
# ./Install

If you want to undo the installation, do the following as root:

# cd $PCP_PMDAS_DIR/overhead
# ./Remove

pmdaoverhead is launched by pmcd and should never be executed directly. The Install and Remove scripts notify pmcd when the agent is installed or removed.



command line options used to launch pmdaoverhead


installation script for the pmdaoverhead agent


undo installation script for the pmdaoverhead agent


default log file for error messages and other information from pmdaoverhead


directory containing configuration files for the overhead metrics

PCP Environment

Environment variables with the prefix PCP_ are used to parameterize the file and directory names used by PCP. On each installation, the file /etc/pcp.conf contains the local values for these variables. The $PCP_CONF variable may be used to specify an alternative configuration file, as described in pcp.conf(5).

See Also

PCPIntro(1), pmcd(1), pmdaproc(1), pcp.conf(5), pcp.env(5) and PMNS(5).


PCP Performance Co-Pilot