Sun Solaris 技术文档

原创 2006年05月26日 03:18:00
Special: Retaining Content Control
ITworld Home Page ITworld Webcasts ITworld White Papers ITworld Newsletters ITworld News ITworld Topics Careers ITworld Voices ITwhirled Changing the way you view IT

Sizing up memory in Solaris

Unix Insider 3/1/98

Q: How can I tell how much memory I need?

A: I've tried to answer this question a few times, but the real problem is that Solaris doesn't give you enough information on what memory is being used for. A few years ago a Sun systems engineer based in Adelaide, Australia, started looking for solutions to this problem. He came to work with me for a month in November 1995 and developed some new tools. In April 1997 we hired him to work full-time in our group, and now Richard McDougall is ready to share his knowledge with the world via a new white paper The Solaris Memory System -- Sizing Tools and Architecture (see Resources section), and a new tool set, the RMCmem package.

On this topic

The RMCmem tools

The white paper contains details on how to obtain the tools. The package includes a kernel module that provides extra instrumentation, and is not a supported Sun product. As with any unsupported package, you should not depend upon it in a production environment. Bugs, patches, or interactions with other kernel modules could crash your system, and there is some additional data-collection overhead. Part of the package was integrated into Solaris 2.6, and we're using the tools as a proof-of-concept prototype to guide future enhancements to Solaris. An earlier collection of these tools was known as the RMCbunyip package -- the Bunyip is a legendary monster in Australia.

The four main uses of memory

Solaris is a virtual memory system. The total amount of memory that you can use is increased by adding swap space to the system. If you ever see "out of memory" messages, adding swap space is the usual fix. Performance of the system is very dependent on how much physical memory (RAM) you have. If you don't have enough RAM to run your workload, performance degrades rapidly. In this discussion I'm mainly concerned with RAM usage, and knowing how much is enough.

Physical memory usage can be classified into four groups:

  • Kernel memory mapped into kernel address space
  • Process memory is mapped into a process address space
  • Filesystem cache memory that is not mapped into any address space
  • Free memory that is not mapped into any address space

RMCmem includes a simple command to summarize this:


Total physical memory

The total physical memory can be seen using prtconf. Memory is allocated in units called pages, and you can use the pagesize command to see whether you have 4096 or 8192 bytes per page:


From an application you can call sysconf(_SC_PHYS_PAGES) to find out how many pages of memory you have, and getpagesize() to see the size. In some cases the result you get is less than the total -- as during boot, the first few megabytes are grabbed by the kernel, and what remains is made available to the system as pages (counted by the kernel as physmem).

Kernel memory

Kernel memory is allocated to hold the initial kernel code at boot time, then grows dynamically as new device drivers and kernel modules are used. Kernel tables also grow dynamically, unlike some older versions of Unix. As you add hardware and processes to a system, the kernel will grow. In particular, to keep track of all the memory in a system, the kernel allocates a page table structure. If you have several gigabytes of RAM this table gets quite large. The dynamic kernel memory allocator grabs memory in large "slabs," then allocates smaller blocks more efficiently. This means that the kernel tends to grab a bit more memory than it's really using. If there is a severe memory shortage, the kernel unloads unused kernel modules and devices and frees unused slabs. The simplest summary of kernel memory usage comes from sar. The old memory allocator architecture is still reflected in sar's output format, which lists a pool of small allocations (under 512 bytes each), large allocations (512 bytes to a page), and oversize allocations (a page or more). The new allocator is more sophisticated and is best seen by running the crash command as root and using the kmastat option to list the individual memory pools:


Totaling up the small, large, and oversize allocations, the kernel has grabbed 12,083,200 bytes of memory and is actually using 10,186,028 at present.

Application process memory

Application processes consist of an address space divided into segments, where each segment maps either to a file, anonymous memory (the swap space), System V shared memory, or a memory mapped device. The mapped files include the code and initialized data for the command and all its shared libraries. Files that the process has accessed via the mmap call may also be included, but not files that have been read and written in the normal manner. The segments can be viewed using /usr/proc/bin/pmap on any system running Solaris 2.5 or later.


What is shown here is the base address and size of each segment, together with its mapping. Inode 108245 is the cat command itself. The cat command uses mmap for its input file, and inode 226 matches the file being read.

What we really want to know, however, is the amount of RAM used by each segment. This is shown by the pmem command in the RMCmem package in Solaris 2.5.1. The new kernel measurement used by this command was added to Solaris 2.6, where it can be seen using /usr/proc/bin/pmap-x.


Now we can see that the process address space size is 864 kilobytes; 846 kilobytes of that are currently resident in main memory, wherein 720 kilobytes are shared with other processes while 128 kilobytes are private. When this command started only the 128 kilobytes of private memory were taken from the free list.

If we now go through all the processes on the system, add up how much private memory they use, and also add in the shared memory for each mapped file, we'll know how much application memory is in use. This summary is shown by prtmem as we saw in the beginning, and the detail is listed by the memps command in RMCmem. Note that the X server maps over 100 megabytes of Creator3D framebuffer hardware address space in this example, and processes that run only in the kernel address space do not have any address space of their own.


Filesystem cache memory

This is the part of memory that is most confusing, as it is invisible. You can only tell it's there if you access the same file twice and it's quicker the second time. The RMCmem package adds kernel instrumentation that counts up all the pages for each cached file. The memps -m command lists the files that are cached in order of the amount of memory they're consuming. One problem is that within the kernel the file is only known by its inode number and filesystem mount point. The directory pathname for the file may not be known. The RMCmem package tries to solve this problem by catching file names as files are opened (by interposing on the vnode open code) and making an inode-to-name lookup cache in the kernel. This cache size is limited (to 8192 entries by default), and the file may have been opened before the kernel module was loaded, so it can't always find the name. You see a mount point (in this case /800000 or /800008) and the inode number for that mount point:


To add up all the memory taken up by shared library files another command is provided by RMCmem:


Free memory

Free memory is maintained so that when a new process starts up or an existing process needs to grow, the additional memory is immediately available. Just after boot, or if large processes have just exited, free memory can be quite large. As the filesystem cache grows, free memory settles down to a level set by the kernel variable lotsfree. When free memory falls below lotsfree, all the other memory in the system is scanned to find pages that have not been referenced recently. These pages are moved to the free list.

Graphical user interface tools

There is now a lot of new data available. To view it more easily and interactively, Richard wrote a Motif-based GUI tool. The memtool program comes up with a list of the files that are in memory and also shows the pageins and pageouts that have occurred for each file in the last measurement interval.

Example display of filesystem cache using memtool

There are three displays available. The second one shows process memory usage, and clicking on a process gives the detailed segment list as shown here for the X server.

Example display of process memory usage using memtool

The third display is a matrix that combines the two views. It shows the processes across the screen and the files down the side, with each cell holding the amount of memory mapped from that file by that process.

Example memtool process and file matrix display

Wrap up

So, finally, we can tell where all the memory is going. Richard's white paper contains a lot more information, including typical memory sizes for many common commands and daemons, and a full explanation of how the memory system works, and how to size memory configurations for desktop and server systems.

The white paper is at

The tools can be obtained by sending e-mail to:

New book update
On another recurring subject, my new book is now in the final stages of the production process. It should become available sometime in April. It ended up being more than 600 pages long (the old book was about 250 pages). The title is Sun Performance and Tuning -- Java and the Internet, by Adrian Cockcroft and Richard Pettit, Sun Press/PTR Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-095249-4.

Resources and Related Links

Richard McDougall's The Solaris Memory System -- Sizing Tools and Architecture

Other Cockcroft columns at

Sponsored Links

Trend Micro Enterprise Anti-Spyware Solutions
"Trend Micro is delivering what enterprise customers want." -The Forrester WAVE/Enterprise Anti-Spyware, Q1 2006/Forrester 2006. Download a FREE 30-day trial of Trend Micro Anti-Spyware Solutions for Enterprise Today.
Network Monitoring, Help Desk and Asset Management
Get OpManager and ServiceDesk Plus today - The Next Generation Network Monitoring, HelpDesk and Asset Management software that offers you fully integrated functionality at less than point product prices! Download Now!
Want to know your CIS security score?
The CIS has developed detailed IT security benchmarks which will help make your computer more secure. Click here to download the Belarc Advisor which will automatically show you how secure your system is compared to the CIS benchmark configurations.
Reduce the risk and cost of IP Telephony!
Use the software many global financials utilize to proactively identify, isolate and troubleshoot end user impacting conditions. Validate end to end performance, including telephony features and calling patterns. Track and analyze configurations.
Identify, Visualize, and Quantify Security Risks
Get your FREE guide 5 Questions for Every CISO: Managing Risk Exposure and learn more about how you can now better identify, visualize, and quantify information security risks to optimize security investments.燰eriSign(R) Managed Security Services
» Buy a link now

Sponsored links
Inquiero On-Demand Remote Support - 15-Day Free Trial.
CIO Guide to SOX & Self-Assessment Checklist. Download now.
Live Demo. NTR Inquiero On-Demand Remote Support. Go Now!.
Free 180-day SQL Server 2005 Trial Software ?Go Now!
Develop once deploy everywhere!
Linux or Windows? Get the facts.
UNIX, Linux, Windows 32 or 64-bit?develop once deploy everywhere!
Free Security Tools & Updates from Microsoft.
New Webcast Takes A Strategic Look at Email Security
Webcast - Managing IT Performance Across the Life Cycle
Home   Computers and Peripherals Operating systems Network-server operating systems Unix network operating systems Sun Solaris server OS
Contact Us   About Us   Privacy Policy    Terms of Service   Webcast & Marketing Solutions
Copyright © 2006 Accela Communications, Inc. All rights reserved

浅谈Sun Solaris启动

浅谈Sun Solaris启动   整理:Ackarlix  原文: ...

Sun Solaris指令大全

原文: 一、Sun发展简史 (本节不作学习要求) (一)硬件...

Sun Solaris 的基本命令

(一)基本命令  命令格式: 命令 参数 显示文件名,等同于dos下dir命令  命令格式:ls [option] file  option:  -l 显示详细列表  域1 :文件类型和文...
  • lyr1985
  • lyr1985
  • 2011年03月02日 12:27
  • 527

sun solaris 下vi编辑命令的用法,参数不同于linux

在solaris下,vi编辑器的语法不同于一般linux vi的用法,不过可以用基于图形介面的gedit工具代替,语法是bash# gedit filename 下面介绍常用vi命令的语法,常用命令...

Sun T2000(Solaris 10)上安装MB-System的历程

一、install_makefiles中参数设置 #-------------------------------------------------------------------- # E...

Sun Solaris系统大全


Sybase ASE 12.5 For SUN Solaris (NFS方式)

Sybase ASE 12.5 For SUN Solaris 数据库安装步骤 (1) 准备安装介质 如果在本地安装,则直接将Sybase光盘插入到光驱中。 如果在远程安装,则需要将本...
  • wwp1026
  • wwp1026
  • 2011年12月13日 16:52
  • 444

Sun T2000(Solaris 10)上安装SU的历程(一)

在Sun T2000(Solaris 10)上安装SU,笔者颇花费了一段时间,现将安装的辛苦历程记录如下,以待后来者参考。 一、makeinstall 出现问题: cd ./cwp; make ...

Sun Solaris 培训教材 五 用户管理

  • 2014年09月26日 16:18
  • 28KB
  • 下载

sun solaris 系统

  • 2015年09月09日 16:48
  • 4.09MB
  • 下载
您举报文章:Sun Solaris 技术文档