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Determining server load from client

I've found that it would be helpful to be able to tell how busy my dedicated PG server is ( Linux 2.6 kernel, v8.0.3 currently ) before pounding it with some OLAP-type queries. Specifically, I have a multi-threaded client program that needs to run several thousand sequential queries. I broke it into threads to take advantage of the multi-core architecture of the server hardware. It would be very nice if I could check the load of the server at certain intervals to throttle the number of concurrent queries and mitigate load problems when other processes might be already inducing a significant load.

I have seen some other nice back-end things exposed through PG functions ( e.g. database size on disk ) and wondered if there was anything applicable to this. Even if it can't return the load average proper, is there anything else in the pg_* tables that might give me a clue how "busy" the server is for a period of time?

I've thought about allowing an ssh login without a keyphrase to log in and capture it. But, the client process is running as an apache user. Giving the apache user a shell login to the DB box does not seem like a smart idea for obvious security reasons...

So far, that's all I can come up with, other than a dedicated socket server daemon on the DB machine to do it.

Any creative ideas are welcomed :)



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