Compare vmstat and iotop

vmstat (virtual memory statistics) is a system monitor which provides activity information about processes, CPU, memory, block IO, paging and more. It is commonly used for displaying virtual memory statistics.

Iotop is like top but for monitoring disk I/O by processes. It lists running processes alongwith the disk bandwidth (read/write bytes per second) they are using in real-time. It is written in Python and requires Python >= 2.7 to run.

Let's see how vmstat and iotop compare on various factors and features.

vmstat

iotop

Overall

Type

Type
Virtual memory monitor
Type
Disk I/O and bandwidth monitor

Author

Author

Operating System

Operating System
Linux distributions, macOS
Operating System
Linux distributions, macOS

Installation

Installation
Not always. Manual installation is needed in many cases.
Installation
Doesn't come preinstalled. Manual installation is needed

Release Date

Release Date
1985
Release Date
2010

License

License
GNU General Public License (GPL-2.0)
License
GNU General Public License (GPL-2.0)

Website

Website
N/A
Features

Screenshot

Screenshot
iotop output
Output of vmstat
Screenshot
iotop output
Output of iotop

User Interface

User Interface
1.5 Stars
Command line ASCII output that is produced once and never updated by default. To make it update at regular intervals pass a numeric argument which acts as delay in seconds e.g. vmstat 3 updates every 3 seconds.
User Interface
2.5 Stars
Basic ASCII monochrome screen which refreshes automatically.

Scrolling Support

Scrolling Support
No
Scrolling Support
No

Mouse Support

Mouse Support
No
Mouse Support
No

Process utilization

Process utilization
No
Process utilization
No

Network Utilization

Network Utilization
No
Network Utilization
No

Disk Utilization

Disk Utilization
Yes with -d option
Disk Utilization
Yes

Comments

Comments
Though it is very basic, it is a very handy tool for monitoring memory I/O and block activity.
Comments
Useful for monitoring disk I/O activity by process or threads. Use the -o flag to only display processes which are performing I/O. atop also displays disk usage.

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