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SubjectRe: Overcommitable memory??
On Thu, 23 Mar 2000 14:54:49 -0800, you wrote:

>> >BTW, could you please point at a clean example of a program in actual use
>> >that handles freeing up memory when OOM looms? Would be useful to have
>> >handy...
>> A description of one was just posted to this thread. On malloc()
>> failure, it starts diverting new connections elsewhere and garbage
>> collecting itself. Quite nice, although it should do so before
>> malloc() starts failing...
> If there was a portable way to detect imminent resource exhaustion before
>malloc starts to fail, I'd happily use it. On Linux, I don't even have
>malloc failing. And on no platform do I have a good way to detect when I'm
>starting to force the system to swap and it might help performance-wise if I
>shrink my memory usage.
> What I tell our Linux customers to do is use resource limits to force
>'malloc' to fail. That requires some manual tuning, you have to think about
>how much RAM you have, how much the kernel will be using for network stuff,
>and how much other applications will be using. It's better than forcing the
>system to a crawl though.
> DS
> PS: The issue of helping applications detect resource issues and respond to
>them is completely orthogonal to the issue of overcommittment. If a system
>has 90Gb of swap, I still want to know that I'm forcing the system to use
>it, because performance is going to start going down the toilet.

Yes, I know. Examining Squid may help you here (or just bring your
last meal back - portable - yes, stable - yes, fast and efficient -
yes. Nice clear code? Not quite...)

Really, the kernel should "talk" to applications a lot more about
things like this. You could probably do something similar via a /proc
entry, but that's not exactly portable...

What sort of applications are these, by the way?

I suppose Unix has evolved in this way because most applications can't
be very flexible about memory usage; if an application requests 10Mb
to do something, 9Mb probably won't do. Then along come WWW servers
etc., with almost the opposite requirements - the more memory the
better, but they can operate on fairly trivial levels if needed
(thanks to overcommit).


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