I have four VMs that are all having CPU usage spikes every 10 minutes. These spikes coincide perfectly with DNS lookups for hostnames including archive.canonical.com and security.ubunutu.com (per tcpdump), so I assume apt is checking for updates. It's configured to check for updates daily. I can't figure out what's causing this 10-minute interval.

I've looked in /var/log/unattended-upgrades/, /var/log/dpkg.log, /var/log/apt and journalctl and can't find anything corresponding to a 10-minute interval.

These VMs are stock Google Cloud Ubuntu 19.10 images with very few changes (MongoDB installed [which added repo.mongodb.org as an apt source], logging and monitoring agents installed, THP disabled).

What should I do/where should I look to troubleshoot this?

  • 1
    Start with ls -l /var/lib/apt/periodic. That will tell you the last time unattended-upgrades ran. Next, try systemctl list-timers apt-daily.timer apt-daily-upgrade.timer for the next time apt will update/upgrade automatically.
    – user535733
    Apr 7, 2020 at 21:37
  • @user535733 Thanks. /var/lib/apt/periodic/update-success-stamp's timestamp coincides with the 10-min interval. unattended-upgrades-stamp and all others are much older. Those two systemd timers have intervals of 6h and 24h. None of the other systemd timers have short intervals either. -- So the question remains, why is apt updating ever 10 mins...
    – ZachB
    Apr 7, 2020 at 22:21
  • Oddly ... there's an entry in /var/log/apt/history.log from yesterday for Commandline: /usr/bin/apt-get remove -y unattended-upgrades.
    – ZachB
    Apr 7, 2020 at 22:30

1 Answer 1


Urg, this is the Google osconfig-agent. Apparently it polls every 10 minutes and disables automatic apt updates (re: my comment about the surprising apt-get remove -y unattended-upgrades line in the apt history).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.