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    SubjectRe: Overcommitable memory??
    On Fri, 17 Mar 2000 10:52:55 -0600 (CST), you wrote:

    >"Alan Curry" <>:
    >> James Sutherland writes the following:
    >> >
    >> >On 15 Mar 2000, Rask Ingemann Lambertsen wrote:
    >> >> Not at all. COW is a performance optimisation which does not depend on
    >> >> overcommitment of memory in any way. Why would you want to turn it off?
    >> >
    >> >Because it *IS* overcommitment of memory. You can have two processes, each
    >> >with their 200Mb of data, in a machine with 256Mb RAM+swap, quite happily
    >> >- until they start writing to it, at which point you discover you have
    >> >overcommitted your memory, and things go wrong.
    >> Just because you can describe an example scenario in which COW and
    >> overcommit are both used, does not mean that they are inseparable. You can do
    >> COW by simply *reserving* RAM or swap space at fork() time and copying data
    >> into it later. That is COW without overcommit.
    >> Unfortunately nobody with the necessary skills seems interested in
    >> implementing it that way.
    >Just doing this does force the administrator to give a very large amount
    >of swap space to the system. Currently, there is no way to tell fork not
    >to make such reservations (but only sometimes...). If the desired sequence
    >is fork()/exec() then the fork doesn't have to reserve anything more than
    >some stack space (and only one or two pages at that). Anything else
    >causes/permits the OOM condition.

    No. Allocating memory causes OOM conditions. Disabling overcommit just
    moves the allocation from being on-demand (allocate VM when the
    address space is used) to being on-request (allocate it when the
    address space is allocated).

    >I wonder if it could be coded as
    > fork() --- reserve one or two pages for anticipated fork.
    > on next page fault or syscall -- If page fault or non-exec syscall,
    > reserve the entire worst case memory amount.
    > If syscall is exec then allocate/reserve memory for the
    > new image.
    >The pagefault must be a COW page that is not one of the already reserved
    >stack pages for the fork...

    All this does is inflate the memory usage of the process early on.

    >An alternative would be to reserve (say) 10 pages. Anytime the new process
    >exceeds this reserved amount (via COW) the entire process size must be reserved.
    >If this exceeds the users resource limit, then the process is aborted and
    >the parent process recieves the child termination signal of OOM (either
    >a per user resource limit signal or a system signal.
    >If an exec system call is called first, then the new process starts with
    >the reserve allocation for the new image.
    >Memory allocation (via sbrk or whatever) would always reserve the additional
    >memory allocated (or free reserved memory if deallocating, even though noone
    >does that).
    >On second thought - I like the alternative better:
    >a. It requires no coding change in applications
    >b. It should be relatively straight forward implementation
    >c. transparent to users, except when they run out of virtual memory.

    Why not just allocate the memory on-demand? If the process then
    becomes too big, you terminate it. Otherwise, it's fine.


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