linux performance - identifying highly resource consumptive programs

Hello Experts,
I am trying to analyze the performance of a linux system, focusing on I/O.  I see some mechanisms to determine which processes are using the most I/O, however is there a way to track what program a given process is running at a point in time?  Thanks
markdolarAsked:
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TintinCommented:
strace will give you lots of information on the system calls a particular process is using.

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TintinCommented:
For example, if the PID of the process you want to examine is 1234, you do

strace -p 1234
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Let_Me_BeCommented:
Install iotop. It works like top, but for I/O.

If that is not what you are looking for, please explain what you mean by: "however is there a way to track what program a given process is running at a point in time"
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markdolarAuthor Commented:
iotop *does* look like it will give me what I'm looking for.  I think you understand what I'm looking for.

However, I don't get to install anything on the system being evaluated until it's been tested/retested/verified/processed/change managed/scheduled and approved.  Turns out strace isn't available on the machine.   Guess it wasn't in the kernel build?

For the moment, I will pursue the non-trival task of getting iotop running on the machine.  In the meantime any other suggestions welcome.
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Let_Me_BeCommented:
strace doesn't require any kernel components, its basically a system call monitor (it hooks between the program you want to monitor and the kernel and shows you system calls). Similar to strace is ltrace (which works for library calls instead of system calls). I don't think you could use either for performance monitoring, however you might be able to use them to see what kind of actions is a certain process doing.

strace, ltrace and iotop should be available in current distributions (if not in main repository, then definitely in some that is very well supported).
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