Alpha Beast

Charly’s Column – Sysdig

Article from Issue 209/2018

In this issue, sys admin columnist and tool veterinarian Charly Kühnast invites Sysdig, the jack-of-all-trades among system diagnostic tools, into his surgery for a quick checkup. The project promises to unite the functionality of lsof, iftop, netstat, tcpdump, and others.

Where an alpha beast claims to replace an entire herd, the bar is naturally fairly high. Of course, the Wireshark authors, who are also the people behind the Sysdig [1] project, are no beginners. The software only performs well if you have root privileges; otherwise, it can't access all the required system areas. If you launch the tool without parameters, a steady stream of system messages scrolls by: It meticulously logs every single syscall. To thin out the thicket, Sysdig uses what it calls chisels. You can find out which chisels exist with the sysdig -cl command.

The chisels are sorted into categories (Net, IO, application, logs, and so on). For example, the Performance category has a chisel named netlower. I decided to pass in a time value of 10 milliseconds as a parameter:

sysdig -c netlower 10


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