I need a step-by-step, simple and easy way to configure swappiness.
The Linux kernel provides a tweakable setting that controls how often the swap file is used, called swappiness.
A swappiness setting of zero means that the disk will be avoided unless absolutely necessary (you run out of memory), while a swappiness setting of 100 means that programs will be swapped to disk almost instantly.
Ubuntu system comes with a default of 60, meaning that the swap file will be used fairly often if the memory usage is around half of my RAM. You can check your own system's swappiness value by running:
one@onezero:~$ cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness 60
As I have 4 GB of RAM I'd like to turn that down to 10 or 15. The swap file will then only be used when my RAM usage is around 80 or 90 percent. To change the system swappiness value, open
/etc/sysctl.conf as root. Then, change or add this line to the file:
vm.swappiness = 10
Apply the change.
sudo sysctl -p
You can also change the value while your system is still running with:
You can also clear your swap by running
swapoff -a and then
swapon -a as root instead of rebooting to achieve the same effect.
To calculate your swap Formula:
free -m (total) / 100 = A A * 10 root@onezero:/home/one# free -m total used free shared buffers cached Mem: 3950 2262 1687 0 407 952 -/+ buffers/cache: 903 3047 Swap: 1953 0 1953
so total is 3950 / 100 = 39.5 * 10 = 395
So what it mean is that when 10 % (395 MB) of ram is left then it will start using swap.
The swappiness parameter controls the tendency of the kernel to move processes out of physical memory and onto the swap disk. Because disks are much slower than RAM, this can lead to slower response times for system and applications if processes are too aggressively moved out of memory.
swappinesscan have a value between 0 and 100.
- Kernel version 3.5 and newer: disables swapiness.
- Kernel version older than 3.5: avoids swapping processes out of physical memory for as long as possible.
- Kernel version 3.5 and over: minimum swappiness without disabling it entirely.
- Tells the kernel to aggressively swap processes out of physical memory and move them to swap cache.
The default setting in Ubuntu is
swappiness=60. Reducing the default value of swappiness will probably improve overall performance for a typical Ubuntu desktop installation. A value of
swappiness=10 is recommended, but feel free to experiment.
Started using swap at 91%:
As I have configured my system & vm to make use of RAM at 90%, at 90% there was no swapping.
After that I opened some applications like Firefox & Shutter, and it started swapping because RAM usage is above 90%.
I need a step-by-step, simple and easy way to configure swappiness.
I'd like to expound upon the answers already here by adding:
- A very concise summary of how to change the swappiness.
- Some quotes from the latest Linux kernel source code (see here for how to download it if interested) on what "swappiness" really means, and what its ranges really are.
So, here it goes:
1. How to configure swappiness
# read current swappiness setting sysctl vm.swappiness # or (same thing) cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness # change setting to zero sudo sysctl vm.swappiness=0
The above commands are not persistent across reboots. To make the setting persistent, you need to use
sudo and edit the file at
/etc/sysctl.conf to add your desired swappiness setting to the end of it. Example:
# edit the file with the `nano` editor sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf
Add this to the end of "/etc/sysctl.conf":
# my custom swappiness setting vm.swappiness=0
If you choose to only edit that file to set your custom
swappiness setting, rather than setting it with
sudo sysctl vm.swappiness=0, then to activate your new setting as set in the file, you will need to either reboot or call the following command to reload the config file:
# reload just the "/etc/sysctl.conf" config file sudo sysctl --load # or: from `man sysctl`: # # Load settings from all system configuration files, namely: # # /run/sysctl.d/*.conf # /etc/sysctl.d/*.conf # /usr/local/lib/sysctl.d/*.conf # /usr/lib/sysctl.d/*.conf # /lib/sysctl.d/*.conf # /etc/sysctl.conf # sudo sysctl --system
At the end of running either of the above commands, the terminal will print this to stdout:
vm.swappiness = 0
To see what your current settings are in
2. What is swappiness, straight from the Linux kernel developers' mouths
Download the Linux source code yourself by following my instructions here: Where and how to get the official Linux kernel source code.
As shown in the Linux Stable repo by
git blame Documentation/admin-guide/sysctl/vm.rst, this documentation was written by Peter W Morreale, Mauro Carvalho Chehab, and Johannes Weiner (see the kernel source code here) (emphasis added, & formatting slightly modified):
This control is used to define the rough relative IO cost of swapping and filesystem paging, as a value between 0 and 200. At 100, the VM assumes equal IO cost and will thus apply memory pressure to the page cache and swap-backed pages equally; lower values signify more expensive swap IO, higher values indicates cheaper.
Keep in mind that filesystem IO patterns under memory pressure tend to be more efficient than swap's random IO. An optimal value will require experimentation and will also be workload-dependent.
The default value is 60.
For in-memory swap, like zram or zswap, as well as hybrid setups that have swap on faster devices than the filesystem, values beyond 100 can be considered. For example, if the random IO against the swap device is on average 2x faster than IO from the filesystem, swappiness should be 133 (x + 2x = 200, 2x = 133.33).
At 0, the kernel will not initiate swap until the amount of free and file-backed pages is less than the high watermark in a zone.
So, values do not range between 0 and 100 anymore. As of this commit hash c843966c556d7 on Jun 3, 2020, the value now ranges from 0 to 200.
The commit hash 497a6c1b09902b22ceccc0f25ba4dd623e1ddb7d right before that stated this instead:
This control is used to define how aggressive the kernel will swap memory pages. Higher values will increase aggressiveness, lower values decrease the amount of swap. A value of 0 instructs the kernel not to initiate swap until the amount of free and file-backed pages is less than the high water mark in a zone.
The default value is 60.
The default swappiness value has been
60 going back at least to Linux kernel version v2.6.12-rc2, 18 years ago (as of 2005), as shown by
git blame in the
mm/vmscan.c file where it is set, here.
Which swappiness should I use?
I highly recommend
vm.swappiness=0! It makes my machine run soooo much better. From my anecdote in my answer here:
I have found that setting swappiness to 0 significantly improves the performance of my system which has 32 GB RAM, a 64 GB swap file on a high-speed m.2 SSD, and which is continually running out of RAM.
With swappiness set to the default of 60, I'd regularly get 1 to 2 minute lockup periods while
kswapd0is running (as shown by
top) to try to swap memory for some memory hog application like Chrome, Slack, Eclipse, or Google Meet (within Chrome). I'd start to get these lockups at 80% full RAM. The computer would be completely unusable during this time--unable even for me to type into a terminal or click on a menu.
Setting swappiness to 0 significantly helped!. I started not getting really high CPU usage until 90% RAM full, swap space would still get used plenty--but more efficiently, and when my RAM did get almost full my computer would become very sluggish, but still barely usable rather than completely unusable!
See some of my symptoms here, which I originally thought were due to a bug in Google Meet, but now think were due to memory swap making my computer slow: https://github.com/ElectricRCAircraftGuy/bug_reports/issues/3#issue-1177137900
On my system:
vm.swappiness=60, I'd see 1 to 2 minutes of 100% CPU lockup starting at about 79% RAM usage, every 4 to 6 minutes, forever. This was particularly exacerbated and prominent when using Google Meet.
vm.swappiness=0, that wouldn't happen. I'd be fine at 80% RAM usage, and would start to see major sluggishness, but not total lockup like before, by 90% RAM usage.
- Even with swappiness set to 0, I'd see some usage (a few MB) of swap used as early as 0 to 3% of RAM used, and I'd have heavy swap usage by 80% to 90% RAM used.
- https://linuxize.com/post/how-to-change-the-swappiness-value-in-linux/ - where I learned most of the sysctl cmds above
- https://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/reload-sysctl-conf-on-linux-using-sysctl/ - where I learned the
sysctl --systemcmd above
kswapd0is taking a lot of cpu - useful, but this quote is totally wrong though:
where 0 is the percent left out of 100 at which SWAP should be used (when you have 0% RAM left, SWAP will start taking in data).
My answers--I needed this swappiness info. for them:
- *****Very useful--I reference this one a lot: Problem: Eclipse and the Eclipse indexer take up all my resources / CPU%
- Unix & Linux: what is the different between settings swappiness to 0 to swapoff
For ZRAM swap without any actual swap partitions/files, use 100. It'll pre-compress everything what can be pre-compressed, leaving cache intact and quickly decompress data as needed (also, without real swap you'll need to increase admin_reserve_kbytes x2 or even x4 to avoid whole system freezing on low RAM instead of dropping a hungry application).
For SSD with actual swap partition, use 1. It'll prevent from swapping as long as possible, sacrificing the cache (but cache can be easily re-read from SSD).