Latest 3.0 and swappiness

I have a 512 running Debian Squeeze 32 bit with a normal LAMP stack which seems to be OOMing, yet it shows plenty of memory, and a Munin graph shows plenty as well:

~~![](<URL url=)http://bryantrv.com/images/temp/memory-day.png" />

My kern log has a bunch of entries like this (though note the server was running fine at the time of this log entry):

Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: swapper: page allocation failure: order:5, mode:0x20
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: Pid: 0, comm: swapper Not tainted 3.0.4-linode38 #1
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: Call Trace:
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c018b258>] ? warn_alloc_failed+0x98/0x100
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c018baa4>] ? __alloc_pages_nodemask+0x3f4/0x630
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c01b22b3>] ? T.833+0xb3/0x2e0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c01b2726>] ? cache_alloc_refill+0x246/0x290
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c01b282d>] ? __kmalloc+0xbd/0xd0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c053a7fe>] ? pskb_expand_head+0x12e/0x200
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c066530d>] ? packet_rcv_spkt+0xfd/0x140
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c053ad3d>] ? __pskb_pull_tail+0x4d/0x2b0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c0607ad3>] ? ipv4_confirm+0xf3/0x1b0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05436dd>] ? dev_hard_start_xmit+0x1dd/0x3e0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05c8020>] ? ip_finish_output2+0x260/0x260
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05c8020>] ? ip_finish_output2+0x260/0x260
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c0557a62>] ? sch_direct_xmit+0xb2/0x170
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05439d9>] ? dev_queue_xmit+0xf9/0x320
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05c815b>] ? ip_finish_output+0x13b/0x300
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05c83ca>] ? ip_output+0xaa/0xe0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05c7568>] ? ip_local_out+0x18/0x20
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05daf25>] ? tcp_transmit_skb+0x385/0x670
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05dd965>] ? tcp_write_xmit+0x1e5/0x4f0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05ddcd4>] ? __tcp_push_pending_frames+0x24/0x90
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05d9a1b>] ? tcp_rcv_established+0xfb/0x610
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c057fb3c>] ? nf_iterate+0x6c/0x90
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05e080e>] ? tcp_v4_do_rcv+0xce/0x1a0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05e0f99>] ? tcp_v4_rcv+0x6b9/0x7a0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05c2fc7>] ? ip_local_deliver_finish+0x97/0x220
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05c2f30>] ? ip_rcv+0x320/0x320
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c05c298b>] ? ip_rcv_finish+0xfb/0x380
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c0540dae>] ? __netif_receive_skb+0x2fe/0x370
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c0542597>] ? netif_receive_skb+0x67/0x70
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c04e35fc>] ? handle_incoming_queue+0x17c/0x250
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c04e38ec>] ? xennet_poll+0x21c/0x540
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c0542d2a>] ? net_rx_action+0xea/0x190
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c0139cfc>] ? __do_softirq+0x7c/0x110
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c0139c80>] ? irq_enter+0x60/0x60
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: <irq>  [<c0139ade>] ? irq_exit+0x6e/0xa0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c047829d>] ? xen_evtchn_do_upcall+0x1d/0x30
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c06c0947>] ? xen_do_upcall+0x7/0xc
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c01013a7>] ? hypercall_page+0x3a7/0x1000
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c0105c7f>] ? xen_safe_halt+0xf/0x20
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c010f41e>] ? default_idle+0x2e/0x60
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c0107f72>] ? cpu_idle+0x42/0x70
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c086977f>] ? start_kernel+0x2ce/0x2d3
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c08692ef>] ? kernel_init+0x112/0x112
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: [<c086c943>] ? xen_start_kernel+0x4f7/0x4ff
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: Mem-Info:
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: DMA per-cpu:
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: CPU    0: hi:    0, btch:   1 usd:   0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: CPU    1: hi:    0, btch:   1 usd:   0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: CPU    2: hi:    0, btch:   1 usd:   0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: CPU    3: hi:    0, btch:   1 usd:   0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: Normal per-cpu:
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: CPU    0: hi:  186, btch:  31 usd:  47
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: CPU    1: hi:  186, btch:  31 usd: 102
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: CPU    2: hi:  186, btch:  31 usd: 170
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: CPU    3: hi:  186, btch:  31 usd: 157
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: active_anon:25003 inactive_anon:20896 isolated_anon:0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: active_file:29166 inactive_file:21213 isolated_file:0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: unevictable:0 dirty:40 writeback:0 unstable:0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: free:23517 slab_reclaimable:2127 slab_unreclaimable:1688
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: mapped:8184 shmem:2983 pagetables:550 bounce:0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: DMA free:4952kB min:84kB low:104kB high:124kB active_anon:1252kB inactive_anon:892kB active_file:0kB inactive_file:0kB unevictable:0kB isolated(anon):0kB isolated(file):0kB present:15808kB mlocked:0kB dirty:0kB writeback:0kB mapped:0kB shmem:0kB slab_reclaimable:24kB slab_unreclaimable:80kB kernel_stack:8kB pagetables:100kB unstable:0kB bounce:0kB writeback_tmp:0kB pages_scanned:0 all_unreclaimable? no
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: lowmem_reserve[]: 0 500 500 500
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: Normal free:89116kB min:2816kB low:3520kB high:4224kB active_anon:98760kB inactive_anon:82692kB active_file:116664kB inactive_file:84852kB unevictable:0kB isolated(anon):0kB isolated(file):0kB present:512064kB mlocked:0kB dirty:160kB writeback:0kB mapped:32736kB shmem:11932kB slab_reclaimable:8484kB slab_unreclaimable:6672kB kernel_stack:984kB pagetables:2100kB unstable:0kB bounce:0kB writeback_tmp:0kB pages_scanned:0 all_unreclaimable? no
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: lowmem_reserve[]: 0 0 0 0
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: DMA: 274*4kB 152*8kB 89*16kB 26*32kB 6*64kB 0*128kB 0*256kB 0*512kB 0*1024kB 0*2048kB 0*4096kB = 4952kB
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: Normal: 171*4kB 3764*8kB 2923*16kB 353*32kB 4*64kB 0*128kB 0*256kB 0*512kB 0*1024kB 0*2048kB 0*4096kB = 89116kB
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: 57321 total pagecache pages
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: 3950 pages in swap cache
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: Swap cache stats: add 46723, delete 42773, find 336587/339261
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: Free swap  = 217200kB
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: Total swap = 262140kB
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: 133104 pages RAM
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: 0 pages HighMem
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: 5833 pages reserved
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: 51022 pages shared
Sep 29 16:26:16 linpear kernel: 78602 pages non-shared</c086c943></c08692ef></c086977f></c0107f72></c010f41e></c0105c7f></c01013a7></c06c0947></c047829d></c0139ade></irq></c0139c80></c0139cfc></c0542d2a></c04e38ec></c04e35fc></c0542597></c0540dae></c05c298b></c05c2f30></c05c2fc7></c05e0f99></c05e080e></c057fb3c></c05d9a1b></c05ddcd4></c05dd965></c05daf25></c05c7568></c05c83ca></c05c815b></c05439d9></c0557a62></c05c8020></c05c8020></c05436dd></c0607ad3></c053ad3d></c066530d></c053a7fe></c01b282d></c01b2726></c01b22b3></c018baa4></c018b258>

My question- does the 3.0 kernel deal with swappiness differently than the 2.6 series? It seems to be using swap even when it doesn't need it. I do have the folowing entry in my sysctl.conf:

vm.panic_on_oom=1
kernel.panic=10
vm.swappiness=25

??~~

9 Replies

What's your 'free -m' look like, and what does 'vmstat 1' output during periods of slow performance? Swapping is perfectly OK and normal, even if you do have plenty of free RAM, and it isn't necessarily a cause of slowness.

Happens on real hardware, too:

[email protected]:~$ free -m
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:         11662      11269        393          0        158       2613
-/+ buffers/cache:       8498       3164
Swap:        12287        379      11908

After dumping out the swap (swapoff -a, swapon -a), I have found that the kernel WILL swap stuff out to make room for caching when a lot of I/O or memory allocation is going on. Here's one of my more I/O-intensive nodes:

[email protected]:~$ uname -a
Linux framboise 3.0.4-linode38 #1 SMP Thu Sep 22 14:59:08 EDT 2011 i686 GNU/Linux
[email protected]:~$ free -m
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:           497        454         42          0         23        267
-/+ buffers/cache:        163        333
Swap:          255        122        133
[email protected]:~$ vmstat 1
procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- -system-- ----cpu----
 r  b   swpd   free   buff  cache   si   so    bi    bo   in   cs us sy id wa
 0  1 125524  43672  24168 273884    0    1     1     1    0    1  2  1 94  4
 0  0 125524  44664  24176 273948    0    0     0    40 1489  614  0  0 96  4
 0  0 125524  44788  24184 273968    0    0    16    40 3669 1788  0  0 97  3
 0  0 125524  44788  24188 273968    0    0     0     1 2510 1186  0  0 99  0
 0  0 125524  46144  24196 274072    0    0   148     0 1205  345  0  0 97  3
 0  0 125524  46144  24212 274100    0    0     0    52  959  328  0  0 100  0
 0  0 125524  46144  24212 274108    0    0     0     0  848  275  0  0 100  0
 0  1 125524  46184  24224 274096    0    0    16     0  884  321  0  0 99  1
 0  0 125524  45316  24224 274272    0    0   160     0 1069  315  0  0 99  0
 0  0 125524  45316  24224 274276    0    0     0     0  920  319  0  0 100  0
 0  1 125524  46184  24244 274384    0    0   112   500 1199  444  0  0 93  6
[Disabled swap: swapoff -a]
 1  1 121028  42300  24256 275912 4156    0  4264    68 3536 4025  2  1 68 29
 1  0 116796  38952  24256 277440 3368    0  3368     0 5368 4429  0  1 79 20
 0  1 113376  36720  24256 277572 2176    0  2176     0 3264 2763  0  2 75 23
 0  1 109728  33372  24256 277588 3356    0  3356     0 2359 2804  0  1 79 19
 0  1 100212  26676  24256 278632 6656    0  6656   128 3095 5267  0  3 78 19
 0  1  98068  24692  24256 278596 2088    0  2088     0 1918 1860  0  2 80 18
 0  1  90796  22708  24264 279228 2020    0  2020    36 1936 1840  1  1 75 23
 0  1  89332  22212  24264 279364  440    0   440     0 1281  624  0  0 78 21
 0  1  84716  19648  24264 279560 2676    0  2676     0 2009 2291  0  2 77 21
 0  1  82820  17664  24280 280068 1860    0  1860   720 1838 1718  1  1 77 21
procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- -system-- ----cpu----
 r  b   swpd   free   buff  cache   si   so    bi    bo   in   cs us sy id wa
 1  1  75676  10720  24280 280696 6896    0  6896     0 3612 5616  0  3 75 22
 1  1  72304  25852  18732 266940 3340    0  3368     0 5735 4541  1  2 77 19
 0  1  68320  22616  18756 267556 3628    0  3716    84 3993 3971  1  1 77 20
 1  0  63076  18772  18756 268584 3796    0  3796     0 2391 3154  0  2 78 21
 0  1  54536  78260   8820 212820 6864    0  7199    40 3296 5505  0  3 77 20
 0  1  51172  74912   8820 213216 3260    0  3284     0 2137 2733  0  1 75 24
 0  1  47516  71440   8820 213636 3504    0  3560     0 2173 2914  0  1 77 22
 0  1  41004  64992   8828 214008 6384    0  6384    48 3066 5074  0  2 78 20
 0  1  33372  57428   8828 216384 7520    0  7520     0 3259 5893  0  2 77 21
 0  1  29028  53212   8828 216604 4240    0  4240     3 2484 3453  0  2 78 20
 0  1  26272  50556   8828 216880 2740    0  2740     0 2517 2503  0  1 77 22
 0  2  24352  48700   8832 217024 1856    0  1856   336 4382 3089  0  1 77 22
 1  0  23292  47584   8860 217236 1056    0  1096   532 2900 1929  0  1 75 25
 0  2  21444  45080   8904 217876 1800    0  2076     0 2262 1894  1  1 72 27
 0  1  16956  41336   8920 218428 4364    0  4508    60 2947 3807  1  2 76 21
 0  1   9816  34392   8920 222188 6988    0  6988     0 3326 5544  0  2 78 20
 0  1   2060  28316   8920 223320 6064    0  6064     0 2824 4821  0  2 78 20
 0  0      0  25828   8956 224140 1836    0  2656     0 2160 1918  0  1 79 20
 0  0      0  25844   8956 224228    0    0     0     0  793  260  0  0 100  0
 0  0      0  25844   8964 224224    0    0     0    68  826  272  0  0 100  0
 0  0      0  25844   8964 224228    0    0     0     0 1008  441  0  0 100  0
[Re-enabled swap: swapon -a]
[... 20 seconds of boring ...]
procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- -system-- ----cpu----
 r  b   swpd   free   buff  cache   si   so    bi    bo   in   cs us sy id wa
 1  0      0  22116   9148 226220    0    0     0     0 2364 1070  0  0 100  0
 0  0      0  22172   9148 226220    0    0     0     0  932  281  0  0 100  0
 1  0      0  22172   9156 226216    0    0     0    41  904  325  0  0 100  0
 0  0      0  22172   9156 226220    0    0     0     0  644  234  0  0 100  0
 0  0      0  22172   9156 226220    0    0     0     0  849  299  0  0 100  0
[munin-update starts polling 9 nodes]
 1  0      0  21156   9164 226212    0    0     8    44 1051  544  2  0 95  3
 0  3      0  21240   9172 226248    0    0    40     0 1108  376  0  0 90  9
 0  2      0  20084   9208 226556    0    0   300   640 1225  496  0  0 50 49
 0  3      0  13016   9268 227192    0    0   656     0 2081  687  2  1 73 23
 0  4  10340  34672   8428 201444    0 10340   636 10344 3770 1670  4  3 68 18
 1  2  12504  50420   8312 196256   96 2328  1270  2356 2677 1333  1  1 54 44
 0  1  12496  50844   8312 196652    0    0   436     0 1534  469  0  0 76 24
 0  1  12496  50720   8312 196872    0    0   204     4  977  338  0  0 74 25
 1  0  12456  47420   8344 198308   28    0  1528    48 1640  477  6  0 80 13
 0  1  12452  34180   8348 198504  128    0   372     0 1620  467  4  2 61 32
 2  2  12432  26948   8396 199396  228    0  1032    44 2210  798  1  1 69 28
 0  2  12404  23476   8460 199848   64    0   580     0 2074  646  2  1 57 39
 0  7  12316  23120   8472 200120    8    0   292    12 1157  389  1  0 57 41
 0  5  12308  22608   8476 200272   28    0   116   168 1617  633  1  0 53 46
 1  7  12228  21180   8496 200308   32    0   172   236 4177 2053  3  1 34 59
 1  5  12144  20476   8544 200832   32    0   392   164 2963 1210  2  2 51 41
procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- -system-- ----cpu----
 r  b   swpd   free   buff  cache   si   so    bi    bo   in   cs us sy id wa
 3  2  12064  20316   8588 201436   64    0   700    76 2232 1049  6  1 64 27
 0  3  12064  20060   8612 201512    0    0   180   340 1994  592  2  1 65 31
 0  0  12064  19052   8628 202488    0    0   860    84 1474  554  0  0 72 27
 0  0  12064  19068   8636 202688    0    0   264     0 2268  812  2  2 84 12
 1  0  12064  18448   8648 202836    0    0   180     0 3161 1013  2  3 85 10
[...]

As you can see, despite having plenty of free RAM, it immediately dumped about 12 MB to swap the moment things got busy. It will do that. This particular task occurs every five minutes, and if it can move something that is only accessed every fifteen minutes to swap so that it doesn't have to hit the disk to read something it needs every five minutes, it is a win. (It takes a little while for it to reach a steady state.) There's also some memory allocation going on here, which results in a direct pressure on the memory system, but I've seen it happen with small processes, too.

Yes, there was a sudden shift in memory usage, and yes, there was high I/O wait. However, in the long run, swapping results in decreased I/O, and therefore lower I/O wait.

Really weird, but amazing to watch in real time.

There is no major difference between the 2.6 series and 3.0. The kernel devs decided to use 2.6.40 to start off the 3.0 series, so 3.0 is just 2.6.40 with a different number on it.

This post looks like it deals with the same issue on a 3.0 kernel. Since I don't know much about how the kernel handles memory, I don't know that will help.

I r ninja! :lol:

At least I know I didn't link to the wrong post :)

That does look like the same issue- I'll monitor that thread.

Yup; you're seeing the same problem as me.

Can you see, from syslog, if the errors were occuring at times of heaving network activity? On my machine it seems to coincide with an rsync kicking off…

I have a very similiar problem. My munin graph looks just the same as yours. Plenty of free memory, but I'm getting slow performance and going into swap (just with me using the website, haven't launched it yet!)

I'm also running Debian Squeeze 32bit on a 512mb Linode (latest 3.0 kernel (3.0.4-linode38).

Here's an example error from my kern.log:

http://pastebin.com/Dm3feept

It's driving me mad trying to figure out why my linode is going into swap and behaving like it's OOM when I have so much free memory.

OK, I think I have found my problem. PHP is hogging all the memory:

~~![](<URL url=)http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/2554 … a69926.png">http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/2554/9d6ca2cb79f840caba69926.png" />

Is this symptomatic of a memory leak? For the moment I'm going to switch pm to static with a low number of max_children to see if I can get memory consumption under control.~~

The amount of memory consumed by PHP in a fast cgi environment should be fairly constant (unless there is some sort of dynamic component to deciding the number of processes). I'd suggest limiting the number of processes and ensuring that PHP has a sane memory limit for each process (64MB works as a good default, although some scripts might require 128MB).

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