Install Sar (Sysstat) on Linux

Using sar you can monitor performance of various Linux subsystems (CPU, Memory, I/O..) in real time.

Using sar, you can also collect all performance data on an on-going basis, store them, and do historical analysis to identify bottlenecks.

Sar is part of the sysstat package.

This article explains how to install and configure sysstat package (which contains sar utility) and explains how to monitor the following Linux performance statistics using sar.

  1. Collective CPU usage
  2. Individual CPU statistics
  3. Memory used and available
  4. Swap space used and available
  5. Overall I/O activities of the system
  6. Individual device I/O activities
  7. Context switch statistics
  8. Run queue and load average data
  9. Network statistics
  10. Report sar data from a specific time

This is the only guide you’ll need for sar utility. So, bookmark this for your future reference.

I. Install and Configure Sysstat

Install Sysstat Package

First, make sure the latest version of sar is available on your system. Install it using any one of the following methods depending on your distribution.

sudo apt-get install sysstat
yum install sysstat
rpm -ivh sysstat-10.0.0-1.i586.rpm

Install Sysstat from Source

Download the latest version from sysstat download page.

You can also use wget to download the Sysstat.


tar xvfj sysstat-10.0.0.tar.bz2

cd sysstat-10.0.0

./configure --enable-install-cron

Note: Make sure to pass the option –enable-install-cron. This does the following automatically for you. If you don’t configure sysstat with this option, you have to do this ugly job yourself manually.

  • Creates /etc/rc.d/init.d/sysstat
  • Creates appropriate links from /etc/rc.d/rc*.d/ directories to /etc/rc.d/init.d/sysstat to start the sysstat automatically during Linux boot process.
  • For example, /etc/rc.d/rc3.d/S01sysstat is linked automatically to /etc/rc.d/init.d/sysstat

After the ./configure, install it as shown below.


make install

Note: This will install sar and other systat utilities under /usr/local/bin

Once installed, verify the sar version using “sar -V”. Version 10 is the current stable version of sysstat.

$ sar -V
sysstat version 10.0.0
(C) Sebastien Godard (sysstat

Finally, make sure sar works. For example, the following gives the system CPU statistics 3 times (with 1 second interval).

$ sar 1 3
Linux 2.6.18-194.el5PAE (dev-db) 03/26/2011 _i686_ (8 CPU)

01:27:32 PM CPU %user %nice %system %iowait %steal %idle
01:27:33 PM all 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 100.00
01:27:34 PM all 0.25 0.00 0.25 0.00 0.00 99.50
01:27:35 PM all 0.75 0.00 0.25 0.00 0.00 99.00
Average: all 0.33 0.00 0.17 0.00 0.00 99.50

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