[nycbug-talk] Memory sizing
o_sleep at belovedarctos.com
Sun Apr 23 14:46:25 EDT 2006
I reread some of McKusick's book; I think I found the answer for
buffer vs cache in top. cache is just another memory pool like
inactive or free. It contains pages that still can be referenced to
something ( process, file, etc) but does not contain any information
that is backed by disk (i.e. clean). Buffer is a layer that sits
between the file system and cache. When they merged filesystem
buffering into the vm, they kept a sort of emulation layer so they
didn't have to rewrite all the filesystems. This buffer cache
basically behaves the same way it used to on the filesystem side but
references the vm system instead of ram directly.
On Apr 23, 2006, at 1:18 PM, Francisco Reyes wrote:
> The 'r' column in vmstat from what I have read is number of
> processes waiting for CPU and the 'b' column is number of pending
> transactions waiting to get done.
That is my understanding too. More distinctly, r is also referred to
as runqueue, b is processes that are being blocked because they are
waiting for a resource to free up.
> Also I believe the vmstat numbers depend on some variables that are
> updated every 5 secons so any number below 5 will not be all that
> meaninfull. Best explanation of vmstat I have found is Absolute BSD
> by Michael Lucas (page 432 onward).
"These are averaged each five seconds, and given in units per
second." -man vmstat, I am assuming this takes the average over the
past 5 seconds every second. This is also just for the page option,
I believe the rest is based on the interval you set for the tool.
You may not see the extent of a spike, but you should see some
movement at least.
> Ok I am with you so far.
> Specially I think I mostly get/understand/agree with the meaning of
> active, inactive and wired.
> If we tally up those numbers:
> 92 Active
> 111 Inact
> 56 Wired
> 13 Cache
> 38 Buf
> 1 Free (rounded)
Looking at these numbers, it looks like you are in the same boat as
me :) When I reread some parts of the McKusick book, I found that
Inactive, Cache, and Free has a percentage that the vm tries to
maintain. I guess it's not enough to look at your free list and
assume you need more ram because it's empty.
>> this is pretty much due to vm swapping:
>> bjorn at host=>ps -axo inblock,oublock,comm | sort -n -k 2 | tail -3
>> 325 1152 ntpd
>> 0 8695 bufdaemon
>> 69360 5017287 syncer
> Can you explain that a little more please?
> Inblock and outblook is what? The read and written by and app?
> Man page has:
> inblk total blocks read (alias inblock)
> oublk total blocks written (alias oublock)
That is my understand of it. I am not sure if this is specific to
disk though, it might also be network, or anything else that can be
opened using an open syscall. Also, the metric for this is your
block size I believe, 4096 for instance. Someone on the list pipe in
if they know the right metric for this (is it 1024?)
> I will have to readup on those two keywords.
> From man page...
> majflt total page faults
> minflt total page reclaims
> Is a page fault basically reading from swap?
> Re-reading the vmstat section on absolute BSD as I type this. :)
> I think I am for the most part clear on majflt.
> minflt seems simmilar to 're' in vmstat..
> "shows how many pages have been reclaimed or reused from cache
> (Absolute BSD page 434).
minfaults are reclaims from inactive and I believe cache as well.
> What is that "cache" referred to by the book?
I believe Michael is referring to inactive and cache.
>> bjorn at host=>ps -axo majflt,minflt,comm | sort -n -k 1 | tail -5
>> 18 394 sshd
>> 19 1746 named
>> 24 18078 python
>> 41 220 httpd
>> 128 22273 httpd
> You say your server is mostly "pagin in". Again from Absolute BSD
> page 434
> pi "Short for pages in, it shows how many pages are moving from
> physical memory to swap"..
Which flies in the face of McKusick:
pagein: An operation done by the virtual-memory system in which the
contents of a page are read from secondary storage.
pageout: Ano operation done by the virtual-memory system in which the
contents of a page are written to secondary storage. (McKusick,
Neville-Neil. The Design and Implementation of the FreeBSD Operating
System. Pearson. 2005. p 635)
> So page in is going into swap.. and major fault is coming out from
> Look at this output from one of my machines:
> ps -axo majflt,minflt,comm | grep -v " 0 0 " | sort -n -k
> .... lines of interest ....
> MAJFLT MINFLT COMMAND
> 106 1717796 mysqld
> 1 142441891 bacula-fd
Pagein is grabbing from swap same as major fault. Although I don't
think a pagein will necessarily go to res. So it looks like bacula-
fd is active enough to keep from having to reclaim from disk, but not
active enough to hold on to its pages.
>> minor faults show that my mail and imap servers are reclaiming
>> from the inactive memory pool. These process are probably the
>> most active since they don't have a high number of minfaults but
>> not major faults.
Sorry I meant to say they _do_ have a high number of minfaults but
not major faults.
> That was going to be my next question. :-)
> Ok.. so those processes above are hitting "Inactive" memory. I wish
> they had used a different name.. doesn't sound like that memory is
> inactive at all. :-)
> The memory for the machine running bacula is
> Mem: 333M Active, 2269M Inact, 301M Wired, 104M Cache, 112M Buf,
> 4564K Free
> Device 1K-blocks Used Avail Capacity
> /dev/da0s1b 6291456 216 6291240 0%
> So basically the Inact pool is what is getting used the most.
> Specially given all the minfaults and few major faults.. plus swap
> rarely used.
One thing that is kind of interesting is just to watch vmstat 1 and
see what happens with your system when you perform the tasks you will
be doing normally. When I click my "Get Mail" button on my page, my
0 6 0 199560 15360 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1296 234 354 1 2 98
0 6 0 199560 15360 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1290 234 344 1 2 98
3 6 0 202744 13744 934 3 6 0 617 0 37 1355 1831 684 42 12 46
1 6 0 203684 12552 314 0 0 0 303 0 5 1449 808 585 86 14 0
0 8 0 202920 11660 212 0 0 0 350 0 72 1388 1994 749 85 8 7
0 8 0 202920 10692 0 0 0 0 242 0 98 1396 2952 823 25 8 67
When you do a query or a backup on your server what do you see in
vmstat? Also, what kinds of config are you trying to spec? DB
server and backup for the db server, or general backup server?
>> The result of this is that I would probably be fine with a gig of
> Only two pieces of info I didn't see.
> What is the amount of physical memory? What is your "swapinfo"?
My current ram size is 256M and my swap:
bjorn at host=>swapinfo
Device 1K-blocks Used Avail Capacity
/dev/ad0s1b 524288 716 524288 0%
>> Francisco, can you apply this to what you are contending with?
> In particular you put in content info I had read from the Absolute
> It is one thing to see explanations and another to see them in
Good, this is forcing me to check my facts as well and apply what I
read from McKusick's book. I also have to recommend McKusick's video
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