Depending on which combination of switches are selected, collectl will run in one of 3 main modes with various options for added flexibility. The most basic mode, which you get if you don't select one of the other 2, is display. In this mode the output is displayed on the terminal in real-time as it is collected. In record mode, specified by the -f switch, data is written in real-time to a directory of the user's choosing with an optional prefix. In playback mode, selected with -p, data is read from a file that was generated in record mode at an earlier time.
The format of the results can also be selected as either Terminal or Plot. Terminal data is always displayed on the terminal while Plot data, selected by including -P with any of the 3 modes, can be either written to a file or displayed on the terminal. Since plot data is not intended for human consumption, the reason one would typically send it to a terminal would be with the intent of redirecting the output to a file or piping it into another script.
Using the -f, -p and -P switches in different combinations result in the following behaviors:
|No switches||Data is displayed on the terminal as formatted text|
|-P||Data is displayed on the terminal in Plot Format|
|-f file||Raw data is written to the file (whose name is constructed by collectl) in the same format as it occurred in /proc, with the extension raw. For more details on file naming see file naming.|
|-f file -P||Data is written to the specified file in plot format, with one or more of a number of extensions depending on what detail data may have been requested.|
|-p file||Data is played back from the raw file specified by -p and displayed on the terminal as formatted text. If one wishes to view a subset of the data recorded, -s can be included to provide that discrimination or --from/--thru to select a subset of the timeframe. Note that if one specifies subsystems for which data has not been recorded, they will be displayed as zeros. One can also change the format that the data is displayed though various switches such as --verbose and -o.|
|-p file -P||Data is played back from the raw file and displayed on the terminal in Plot Format. Note that since one often uses this mode to produce output usable by other tools/programs, the user can force the output format by including -s and only those subsystems specified will be displayed. Furthermore, subsystems for which data has not been collected will also be displayed as zeros to ensure consistent formatting across multiple data files.|
|-p file1 -f file2||This is NOT supported as you can only write data that is played back to another file in plot format. Someone wanting to do this should rethink what it is they are trying to do.|
|-p file1 -f file2 -P||Data is played back from the raw file and written to the specified file in Plot Format. Note that here too -s will force specific subsystems to be displayed.|
|updated Feb 21, 2011|