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Get simple IO stats using Rust (throughput, ...)

martichou profile image Martin André ・4 min read

The other day I wanted to grab some information about my disk performance in real-time. I saw the really useful command iostat and got curious. How does this tool can know how many megabytes per seconds my disks is using, etc.

So I dug into the source code of this command and found my answer.

Basically it just read /proc/diskstats and that's all (if we don't care about formatting, sorting, etc).

As I'm learning Rust (and doing a project involving stats) I thought it would be great to write a simple program to only display how many megabytes per seconds my disks are using. And so my journey began.

Setting up the project

We can create our project with cargo. Cargo is a package manager for Rust and you can use it to simplify your life.

cargo new nameofbinary --bin
cd nameofbinary
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(if you've never used Rust before, take a look at @aligoren 's fantastic guide here)

Let's code our program

What will we need ? First take a look at the /proc/diskstats;

 259       0 nvme0n1 93188 31843 6970296 27235 1834264 427303 105983322 432380 0 411608 472996 0 0 0 0 33212 13380
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Wow. What a mess. However we can easily understand it by a little bit of googling (doc from kernel.org).
By reading it we understand that each value is organized and separated by whitespace. Great !

Now we can start coding (we'll do everything in the main.rs).
We'll first create a struct which will handle the number of megabytes one disk has read or written.

// This structure will hold our data for the disks
struct IoStats {
    pub mb_read: f64, // f64 cause it won't be an integer, we need precision
    pub mb_wrtn: f64,
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Here is the pseudo code of our program first;

hold_prev = previous stats reference
file = file descriptor to /proc/diskstats
    hold_curr = current stats reference
    io_stats = content of the file
    for line in io_stats:
        split_field = line.split (get each value in an array)
        compute_mb_s() = calculate the diff between hold_prev and hold_curr
    hold_prev = hold_curr
    wait 1s
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Let's dive into the real code now;

// Hashmap of previous drives stats to compute difference from
let mut prev: HashMap<String, IoStats> = HashMap::new();
// Open the file we'll use to get the stats
let mut fd = File::open(&"/proc/diskstats").unwrap();
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  • prev is a hashmap which will help us find the prev disk more easily by checking only by the disk name.
  • fd is our file descriptor (our way to read the diskstats file).
// Main program loop
loop {
    // Create the curr Hashmap, allow us to compare with the prev one
    let mut curr: HashMap<String, IoStats> = HashMap::new();


    prev = curr;
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  • curr is the same hashmap type as prev and will hold current value of disks stats.
  • prev = curr is where we give an utility to prev (now prev contains all the value as curr)
  • thread::sleep pause the loop for 1s (this avoid spamming the cpu/terminal)
let mut curr: HashMap<String, IoStats> = HashMap::new();
// Create the output string
let mut output = String::new();
// Add the header string to the output
output.push_str("\nDevice          mb_reads/s      mb_wrtn/s\n\n");
// Create a new empty string
let mut io_data = String::new();
// Read the content of the file (diskstats) to the io_data string
fd.read_to_string(&mut io_data).unwrap();
// Iterate over each line (each disk)
for line in io_data.lines() {


// Move the cursor to the start of the file
// Print the result
writeln!(io::stdout().lock(), "{}", output);
prev = curr;
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  • output is the string we'll print (single string to print everything at once)
  • output.push_str add the header to the output string
  • fd.read_to_string read the content of fd into io_data
  • for iterate over each line from io_data
  • fd.seek reset the cursor position to the start of the file (allow use to read it again)
  • writeln! write the output string in stdout (terminal)
for line in io_data.lines() {
    // Split field (separated by whitespace) and collect them without specific type
    let fields = line.split_whitespace().collect::<Vec<_>>();
    let ds = IoStats {
        mb_read: fields[5].parse::<f64>().unwrap() / 2048.0,
        mb_wrtn: fields[9].parse::<f64>().unwrap() / 2048.0,
    // If prev already contains the info we compute the diff to get mb/s
    // Else we add to the print line the "fake" data.
    if prev.contains_key(fields[2]) {
        // Get the object from the hashmap
        let pds = prev.get(fields[2]).unwrap();
        // Construct speed line and append it to curr hashmap
        let mb_read_s = ds.mb_read - pds.mb_read;
        let mb_wrtn_s = ds.mb_wrtn - pds.mb_wrtn;
        // Add the line, formatted with color and spacing
        output.push_str(&format!("\x1b[0;32m{:16}\x1b[0m\x1b[0;34m{:10.2}{:15.2}\x1b[0m\n", fields[2], mb_read_s, mb_wrtn_s));
        // Insert the current disk data to the curr HashMap
        // the curr will later be saved as prev
        curr.insert(fields[2].to_owned(), ds);
    } else {
        // Add the line with fake data and formatting
        output.push_str(&format!("\x1b[0;32m{:16}\x1b[0m\x1b[0;34m{:10.2}{:15.2}\x1b[0m\n", fields[2], 0.00, 0.00));
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  • line.split_whitespace().collect::<Vec<_>>() simply return us each values, without whitespace, as &str
  • ds create our IoStats struct for this disk
  • ds -> mb_read/mb_wrtn are first converted to f64 and then divided by 2048.0 to convert from sector (one sector is almost always 512kb) to mb.
  • prev.contains_key check if the previous hashmap contains the disk (in case of first run or usb stick)
  • pds is the IoStats of the previous run of the loop for that particular disk
  • mb_read_s and mb_wrtn_s are the mb/s value (/s as we loop every 1s)
  • output.push_str add the current disk's info to the output string
  • curr.insert add the current disk's info to the curr hashmap

Final words

As we saw it's pretty easy to get stats from our disks in Rust. Everything is properly placed inside /proc/diskstats for us.

If you want to take a look at the full code github.

Thanks for ready it, hope you learned something new ! ❤


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