I want to monitor the running processes of a linux machine over time.

My do-it-yourself solution would be:

Dump ps aux --forest every minute to a file.

Background: If I get a message "something was wrong, yesterday around 8 o'clock" I want to see what was going on.

There are plenty of tools which summarize the load and io values, but I need more details.

I can do makeshift plumbing like the above dump of ps, but I guess there are better solutions.

Which tool could help me?

  • +0. Your question itself is a good one, but please edit and improve its title. Jun 22, 2015 at 21:34
  • @unforgettableid the title was updated. Does it still need improvement?
    – guettli
    Jun 23, 2015 at 14:34
  • It's still perhaps a rather ambiguous title. It doesn't do such a great job of summarizing what the question is about. That said, thank you for having fixed its capitalization. Jul 6, 2015 at 14:58

2 Answers 2


You could give atop a try. It is licensed under GPL.

It has raw data logging capability with the -w (write) switch, which creates logs in /var/log/atop/atop_YYYYMMDD.

You can later analyze with the -r YYYYMMDD (read) switch. You specify the interesting interval with -b hh:mm -e hh:mm and you can define what information you're interested in, e.g.

  • -m: memory
  • -d: disk
  • -n: network
  • -v: process characteristics
  • -c: command lines

Monit monitors server processes (and more) and restarts them if they die. You can set it up to send you an alert if a process fails. The details will be logged in a log file which you can see what happened on certain events. It even has a web client.


Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monit

In addition, danschultzer created a PHP based tool, Monit Graph, to help graph monit data.

  • How can monit show me the processes tree which ran yesterday at 12:30? The screen shot displays summarized values only.
    – guettli
    Jun 23, 2015 at 14:32

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