pmprobe(1) — Linux manual page


PMPROBE(1)                 General Commands Manual                PMPROBE(1)

NAME         top

       pmprobe - lightweight probe for performance metrics

SYNOPSIS         top

       pmprobe [-fFIiLVvz?]  [-a archive] [-b batchsize] [-h hostname] [-K
       spec] [-n pmnsfile] [-O time] [-Z timezone] [--container=name]
       [--derived=file] [metricname ...]

DESCRIPTION         top

       pmprobe determines the availability of performance metrics exported
       through the facilities of the Performance Co-Pilot (PCP).

       The metrics of interest are named in the metricname arguments.  If
       metricname is a non-leaf node in the Performance Metrics Name Space
       (PMNS(5)), then pmprobe will recursively descend the PMNS and report
       on all leaf nodes.  If no metricname argument is given, the root of
       the namespace is used.

       This recursive expansion of the PMNS can be inhibited by the -F (go
       faster) option, which reduces the number of roundtrips to pmcd(1)
       when the metricname arguments are known to be leaf nodes ahead of

       The output format is spartan and intended for use in wrapper scripts
       creating configuration files for other PCP tools.  By default, there
       is one line of output per metric, with the metric name followed by a
       count of the number of available values.  Error conditions are
       encoded as a negative value count (as per the PMAPI(3) protocols, but
       may be decoded using pmerr(1)) and followed by a textual description
       of the error.

       Unless directed to another host by the -h option, pmprobe will
       contact the Performance Metrics Collector Daemon (PMCD) on the local

       The -a option causes pmprobe to use the specified set of archives
       rather than connecting to a PMCD.

       The -L option causes pmprobe to use a local context to collect
       metrics from PMDAs on the local host without PMCD.  Only some metrics
       are available in this mode.

       The -a, -h and -L options are mutually exclusive.

OPTIONS         top

       The available command line options are:

       -a archive, --archive=archive
            Performance metric values are retrieved from the set of
            Performance Co-Pilot (PCP) archive log files identified by the
            archive argument, which is a comma-separated list of names, each
            of which may be the base name of an archive or the name of a
            directory containing one or more archives.

       -b, --batch
            This option may be used to define the maximum number of metrics
            to be fetched in a single request for the -v option and any
            pmLookupName(3) request that pmprobe calls with a list of leaf
            metric names.  The default value for batchsize is 128.  This
            option is useful to avoid limitations on PDU request sizes and
            also to stagger fetches, which may otherwise timeout if pmcd(1)
            or a PMDA is slow to respond, particularly if a large number of
            metrics are probed.

       -n pmnsfile, --namespace=pmnsfile
            Normally pmprobe operates on the distributed Performance Metrics
            Name Space (PMNS), however, if the -n option is specified an
            alternative local PMNS file is loaded from the file pmnsfile.

       -f, --force
            When used with -i or -I the set of instances reported will be
            all of those known at the source of the performance data.  By
            default the set of reported instances are those for which values
            are currently available, which may be smaller than the set
            reported with -f.

       -I, --external
            Report the external identifiers for each instance.  The literal
            string PM_IN_NULL is reported for singular metrics.

       -i, --internal
            Report the internal identifiers for each instance.  The values
            are in decimal and prefixed by ``?''.  As a special case, the
            literal string PM_IN_NULL is reported for singular metrics.

       -K spec, --spec-local=spec
            When using the -L/ option to fetch metrics from a local context,
            this option controls the DSO PMDAs that should be made
            accessible.  The spec argument conforms to the syntax described
            in pmSpecLocalPMDA(3).  More than one -K option may be used.

       -O time, --origin=time
            When used in conjunction with an archive source of metrics and
            the options -f/, the time argument defines a time origin at
            which the metrics should be fetched from the set of archives.
            Refer to PCPIntro(1) for a complete description of this option,
            and the syntax for the time argument.

       -v, --values
            Report the value for each instance, as per the formatting rules
            of pmPrintValue(3).  When fetching from a set of archives, only
            those instances present in the first archive record for a metric
            will be displayed; see also the -O option.  The -v option is
            mutually exclusive with either the -I or -i options.

       -V, --verbose
            This option provides a cryptic summary of the number of messages
            sent and received across the PMAPI interface.

       -?, --help
            Display usage message and exit.

            Specify an individual container to be queried.

            The dmfile argument specifies a file that contains derived
            metric definitions in the format described for
            pmLoadDerivedConfig(3).  This option provides a way to load
            derived metric definitions that is an alternative to the more
            generic use of the PCP_DERIVED_CONFIG environment variable as
            described in PCPIntro(1).  Using the --derived option and the
            PCP_DERIVED_CONFIG environment variable to specify the same
            configuration is a bad idea, so choose one or the other method.

EXAMPLES         top

       $ pmprobe 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

       $ pmprobe -I 2 "sda" "sdb" 2 "sda" "sdb" 1 PM_IN_NULL

       $ pmprobe -v pmcd.numagents pmcd.version pmcd.control.timeout
       pmcd.numagents 1 9
       pmcd.version 1 "5.0.0"
       pmcd.control.timeout 1 5

       $ pmprobe -v -1012 Unknown metric name 1 4992466

FILES         top

            default PMNS specification files


       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).

       For environment variables affecting PCP tools, see pmGetOptions(3).

SEE ALSO         top

       PCPIntro(1), pmcd(1), pmdumplog(1), pminfo(1), PMAPI(3), pmErrStr(3),
       pmGetOptions(3), pmSpecLocalPMDA(3), pcp.conf(5), pcp.env(5) and

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the PCP (Performance Co-Pilot) project.
       Information about the project can be found at ⟨⟩.
       If you have a bug report for this manual page, send it to  This page was obtained from the project's upstream
       Git repository ⟨⟩ on
       2020-09-18.  (At that time, the date of the most recent commit that
       was found in the repository was 2020-09-18.)  If you discover any
       rendering problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe
       there is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
       corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

Performance Co-Pilot                 PCP                          PMPROBE(1)

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