Why Is Taking Swap If My Server Still Have Free Ram

Apr 14, 2008

Look this:

root@empresarios [~]# free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 2017 1966 50 0 20 1054
-/+ buffers/cache: 892 1125
Swap: 2000 1378 621

U know more than me, but why my dedicated server is taking Swap if as u cann se still have 50 Mb free of RAM?

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Server Hang - No Free Swap

Mar 24, 2008

I encounter this problem in one of my server today..

Memory is 99% used
Swap is 100% used

top - 20:50:53 up 2 days, 7:05, 2 users, load average: 69.58, 41.63, 24.91
Tasks: 397 total, 57 running, 334 sleeping, 1 stopped, 5 zombie
Cpu(s): 1.9% us, 96.5% sy, 0.1% ni, 0.0% id, 0.0% wa, 0.5% hi, 1.0% si
Mem: 2076300k total, 2027140k used, 49160k free, 1116k buffers
Swap: 5245212k total, 5245212k used, 0k free, 13108k cached

Over my KVM, it just hang. When I try to type something, it shows this on the KVM screen:

[17379796.260000] HighMem 59*4kB 3*8kB 0*16kB 0*32kB 0*64kB 1*128kB 1*256kB 0*512kB 0*1024kB 0*2048kB 0*4096kB = 664kB
[17379796.260000] Swap cache: add 6615861, delete 6615849, find 2695269/27558673, race 0+86
[17379796.260000] Free swap = 0kB
[17379796.260000] Total swap = 5245212kB

Based on the message on screen, what is the message telling me?

[17379796.260000] HighMem 59*4kB 3*8kB 0*16kB 0*32kB 0*64kB 1*128kB 1*256kB 0*512kB 0*1024kB 0*2048kB 0*4096kB = 664kB
[17379796.260000] Swap cache: add 6615861, delete 6615849, find 2695269/27558673, race 0+86

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Jun 22, 2009

I'm having an issue with what I believe is Apache. Things will be running nicely, then all of a sudden things will just 'blow up'. Apache seems to fork a bunch of new processes, and it starts ripping into the memory. I've had it essentially eat through all the free memory and swap, and the system will then freeze up as there's no more memory. This is a CentOS server running CPanel, the configuration had been up and running for a long time without problems then this suddenly started happening.

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I was on a 100mbps shared port with a dedicated server from FDC and I use it only for downloads. The downloads took a little long to start but once they did, were as fast as they could be.

Thinking this was definitely a shared bandwidth problem, I ordered a dedicated port of 25mbps from FDC to fix it but it seems to have gotten worse.

The website uses around 10/15mbps but it takes forever for the server to respond. Even logging into cPanel takes around 40/50 seconds for the dialog box to appear but everything is fast once I log into my cPanel.

I also hired a sys admin to look into the server and He says everything is fine. I don't know what to do. I could increase my port bandwidth higher but it'll be disappointing if I do and it's just a waste of bandwidth (and money!)

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i havent made any change.my server is linux has centos 4.7

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2007-02-13 23:56:06 SMTP connection from (***.ca) [***.***.***.***] lost while reading message data (header)

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In fact, trying dnsreport.com tool on any of my server domains, I am getting the error message

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******.com: Timed out [Last data sent: RCPT TO: ]

If this is a timeout problem, note that the DNS report only waits about 40 seconds for responses, so your mail *may* work fine in this case but you will need to use testing tools specifically designed for such situations to be certain.

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I have a handful of machines running Rails on CentOS 5, each with 8GB RAM. They're monitored with Nagios, so I get paged if we exceed 80% memory usage usage or 2% swap. FWIW, they're primarily dual x. dual-core Opterons, and we're using PAE.

The problem is that I keep getting paged in the middle of the night for situations where we're using 2-20% swap yet there are still several gigs of RAM free.

On some level, this makes sense -- if nothing is using a big chunk of RAM, we might as well move it out to disk. On the other hand, when there's still several gigs of RAM free, I don't see any point in bothering, especially when it causes me to get paged at 2am.

So my question is threefold:

Is there any easy way to see what's using swap? top can be made to show a swap column, but it's not what you'd think it is. (For example, most processes show as using lots of swap, and the sum vastly exceeds the actual size of our swap partition.) Can I get a list of what processes are actually swapped out to disk?

Is this a problem other people have? Are others just less aggressive in getting alerted at swap usage, or does this not happen to other people? Our setup is probably not too common (Opterons, PAE, adn 8GB on an older CentOS release?), which makes me think there's a small chance a bona fide bug plays into this somehow.

Is this a case for playing with the swappiness sysctl to make the machine less obsessed with swapping things out to disk? And if so, is there any good documentation on what the 0-100 value actually means, beyond the one sentence explaining that 100 is most likely to swap and 0 is least? Does the current setting of 60 "mean" anything, for example? 98% of the stuff online is just a mirror of the e-mail thread in which Andrew Morton and others go back and forth about what setting is ideal, which doesn't help and is tiring to read over and over.

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I have a server that I have had for a little while now that was runnning perfectly fine. All of the sudden it started just using up a ton of the memory and started using up swap. This has caused the server to slow down and e-mail to stop working. I would upgrade to more memory but I suspect it is someone on the server doing something they shouldn't be. My only reasoning for this is due to the fact that this problem just suddenly arised. I cannot for the life of me determine where this ram usage is coming from.

Here are a few of the errors I have recently got just while logging in..

RIGHT after logging in...
id: cannot find name for group ID 0
id: cannot find name for user ID 0
[root@www root]# top
top: Unknown terminal "xterm" in $TERM
[root@www root]# killall -9 spamd
bash: /usr/bin/killall: Too many open files in system

I have added 2 screen shots as well. First one (top1) is what happens once I can get the command "top" to actually run (normally takes quite a few tries). Second attachement (top2) is after I sorted by mem usage...

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Server Load 75.90 (2 cpus)
Memory Used 92 %
Swap Used 65.78 %

When I was still inside SSH when it happens, the processes I can see inside "top" are a lot of httpd processes.

So I "killall -9 httpd", I had to do it 30~40 times

#killall -9 httpd
#killall -9 httpd
#killall -9 httpd
x 30~40 times until no pid process found & the server load is back to normal.

Before that, I check httpd fullstatus, they look very normal, same goes to what I see inside WHM Apache status & cpu usage status.

At first I thought it was a memory problem after consulting with a server admin, so I replaced all 4GB new ram stick (such a waste)

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total used free shared buffers cached
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-/+ buffers/cache: 1678 2375
Swap: 4094 0 4094

The buffer has 2375 MB of free ram. However this is a heavy mysql server. I want the empty ram be used by mysql so it becomes faster.

We are currently moving to a 8GB ram server, and the free ram will be around 7 GB if we use the exact same configuration. I want the free ram to be 1 GB at most, why pay for 8 GB ram if I'm going to use a fraction of it?

What optimizations should I attempt?

I know about harddisk I/O bottlenecks, I have two SATA drives in the system, and a SAS drive dedicated to mysql, that's all we can afford currently.

All mysql databases are for SMF forums, and currently using MyISAM tables. Switching to another storage engine is a possibility, if it won't create problems in restarts and hot backups.

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I received a phone call from an old customer asking me if I was considering changing my computer, i said "well, maybe". My customer then asked me to go an pickup a present. The present was a DELL PowerEdge 2950 server with 6 SCSI (SAS) hard drives 133 gigs each, 2 64-bit Intel-Xeon Quad-Core processors, 4 Gigs FBD RAM, server include an Integrated Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) 2.0 management controller (with SMASH Command Line Protocol), plus an optional DRAC 5 remote management card with continuous video and Active Directory integration for robust remote server management, Red Hat Enterprise edition with 3 years of support, mounting rack, wheels and cables.

What a present huhh? OK, I'm really excited cause I know this is a top of the line server but i also know that this isn't that easy. I guess if i plug the server to the Internet it will load the IPMI management Controller and try to connect to DELL to activate the product registration or something. My customer said that he was paying a favor he owed me and that the server was too much for him. He got it on an erroneous delivery along with a bunch of boxes and he wanted me to have it since he doesn't know what to do with it. This is not like he did something wrong, he actually asked the delivery guy and his answer was to wait two weeks to see if someone claims it... after the two weeks he said that the package was already paid up to that point by the insurance and if nobody has claimed it means that the package was his possession.

Since i manage remotely my host through a control panel i don't have enough experience to build the infrastructure to provide the connection, so here are my questions...

I guess (i don't know you can correct me) that all software and licenses are pretty much unusable, right?

I cannot even think in keeping the Redhat, right?

What else should I need besides the broadband connection in order to run it at home?... i mean router type-brand-specs, firewall type-brands-specs, etc.

Do you know of any good-cheap-quality High speed connection that i can use on south Florida to provide connection to the server?

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/usr/sbin/mysqld --basedir=/ --datadir=/var/lib/mysql --user=mysql --pid-file=/var/lib/mysql/zeus1.forcium.net.pid --skip-external-locking --socket=/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock

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then i create myself a free host at no-ip.com and i used the .servegame.com option so its MySite.servegame.com.

it succesfully resolves to my ip becuese when i ping it from the wndows command line it pings the IP of my router.

but for some reason it cant be used to acces my site through a web browser.

the only thing i can think of is that it has somehhing to do with the "domain name" and "server name" fields that you have to fill in while installing apache although no matter what i put into those fields i can stil access my site using my routers IP.

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I'm currently considering a host change, so I'm putting out feelers to potential candidates. As always, I'm putting on my difficult customer mask (turning down my rationality and patience module) to find out if the host can actually handle real-life customers (one of the things I find most important and that I don't want to find out once the server is already on fire). Most companies pass the test very well. Here's how LiquidWeb handles new customers:


Originally Posted by yosmc

Hi guys,

I'm looking to switch hosts in the next couple of months. I'd probably wait until January, but since the recent experience has been a bit bumpy with our current host, I'd like to get some basic info now so we can move more quickly if circumstances force us to do so.

MY SITUATION: I'm a do-it-yourself webmaster who has been managing his own server for years. It's become a curse though because managing your own server means you have to be online virtually every day. I'm looking for a solution that will allow me to be offline for several weeks (a REAL vacation, something I haven't had in a decade), knowing that whatever major issue there is with my sites, someone will take action and make sure the service stays available.

- Last year, I've switched to my first managed solution, but as it turns out, they're not doing what I need. Yesterday, for example, I came home to find my sites offline. The site was unavailable for over 40 minutes, and after asking about it I learned that they didn't take action because the server wasn't quite dead yet, only really, really, really slow. To me, this is hairsplitting, the only thing that matters is whether or not my site is available to visitors. - And once the service has been restored, I would also expect a managed host to figure out what caused the issue, and to propose a solution (or just implement one, e.g. change the mysql configuration) so that a similar issue won't happen anymore under the same circumstances.

- If my sites are unavailable due to a fatal error (e.g. a table needing repairs, or max users reached, "can't connect" or whatever else) I would also expect my managed host to catch it on their own, restore things to normality, and possibly think of ways to keep similar issues from happening in the future.

- If my site suffers a DOS attack, I would expect a managed host to think about how my site can be protected.

And so on.

- My largest database tables are 2.5 GIGs in size, but the /tmp disk my host configured has only 600 MB available, so everytime I perform a major operation (even if it's about slimming it down and running an OPTIMIZE afterwards) everything goes down the crapper (/tmp 100% full and load average shooting up to 200). Seems like the fact that /tmp is 100% full doesn't even trigger any alarms with my host, they send the alert to me, and expect me to contact them and ask for a fix. - When I needed to run a business-critical script that keept failing due to the small /tmp, it was me who reconfigured mysql so that it would temporarily use another partition for /tmp - no suggested solution from the host whatsoever. Not good at all.

- I would also like to see a host being able to learn from past incidents. This would require the host admitting though when they made a mistake, or gave the wrong advice. A host not admitting mistakes means that they will not learn, and will therefore keep making the same mistakes all over again (for the client that's a horrible outlook).

- I also think it's embarrassing if a host tells the client that fixing a certain issue is beyond the scope of their support, if it turns out afterwards that the issue happened because of some update done by the host. If in doubt, the host should always provide assistance.

- And if an issue does go beyond what can be expected from managed hosting, it would be the icing on the cake if the host could offer to fix it anyway, possibly against a fee. Such a situation could occur if a major site error is due to a broken script that was provided by the client. ("Looks like your script blah.php is causing the fatal error, we can look into it but this will likely take X hours and cost you Y USD.") Again, the ultimate goal for me is to be able to be offline for several weeks at a time, knowing that any major interruptions to my sites can be resolved without me.

- I would also appreciate a system that will allow trusted site members to report issues - i.e. one where I can give users the ability to report problems without at the same time giving them the privilege to push any red buttons that may damage my site.

So in a nutshell I'm trying to figure out if Liquid Web is the right hosting solution for me. Please let me know if your hosting philosophy meets me needs (and don't hesitate to let me know if it doesn't ).




Thank you for contacting us. Liquid Web offers Heroic Support which covers the
hardware, OS, and installed components. We will also monitor your server, and
if a service fails one of our reps will log into your box and restart the
service. We do not provide support for your content (including backups). If
you are having a problem we will help you to troubleshoot the problem, however
if the fault is in your content or scripts we will not be able to assist you
with that.

For more information on what your support covers please see our website at:

If you have any further questions please let us know.


Originally Posted by yosmc


I hadn't written such a long email because I'm bored, but because I wanted to know where Liquid Web stands on the issues mentioned ("what would have happened in these situations if I was hosting with Liquid Web"). You have basically answered the question about fixing script problems, and for the rest sent me to a page with unspecific promotional teasers. If that's all I can get as a reply I guess that also answers my questions (I'm already Googling for alternatives) but then again maybe you just want to give it another try?

Thank you.


Originally Posted by LiquidWeb


We will take care of server administration issues, we do not take care of any
content issues. From the email you sent it sounds as if you are looking for a
web developer that can watch over your site, and make corrections and
adjustments as needed. This is beyond the scope of what we offer.

If you have further questions please let us know.


Originally Posted by yosmc

XY, right now I am just looking for someone to answer my questions. For what it's worth, I didn't draw the name "Liquid Web" out of a hat, and I had already been to your website prior to sending you my mail. Anyway, here's what I read from your responses:

- Even if it's a one-time emergency, you are paid extra and not providing help would ruin the client's business because the client is currently in a thunderstorm in the middle of the Atlantic, it is not possible to convince Liquid Web support to fix a fatal error that may have been triggered by a programming error in one of the client's scripts.
- Although Liquid Web's server monitoring is called "Sonar" it is - in practice - just as slow as the one I've described in my intitial mail (because if it was any better, you would have told me by now how LW would have handled the given example differently).
- Even if all my sites are down because your staff has misconfigured mysql to break under heavier traffic, or because one of the tables crashed, Liquid Web's staff will do nothing until notified because as long as the mysql service itself is up, you don't see any reason to intervene (if this is something you'd care about and fix, I'm sure you would have let me in on it by now). - EDIT: Or wait - you guys are installing mySQL but you're not configuring/tweaking it so it actually works for the client? Not sure, seems like I actually have to *guess* on that one.

- Liquid Web's ticket system cannot provide sub-accounts with lesser privileges (because if it could, you would have advertised it to me).

- When Liquid Web sets up new servers, /tmp is below 1 gigabyte as well, and when this causes issues, it is definitely not Liquid Web's fault (because if you would be handling this any differently, you would have pointed it out).

- Liquid Web has too many customers already, which is why even customers who know what they want aren't told what they can get, but instead receive links to canned information that doesn't answer their questions, along with the info that Liquid Web probably isn't for them anyway.

- Generally you're in a hurry and can't spend more than 5 minutes on the average ticket.


- LiquidWeb offers DoS protection (I had missed that, but see it clearly now).

Hope there was nothing I missed. So - thanks for all the extensive information you gave me (and sorry for using up so much of your precious time), I will make sure to honor it when I reach my decision.

No further replies.

Anyone know what's wrong with these people? Are they full, or do they only take on easy customers who need nothing?

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Here's a screenshot of the same:


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