[Users] memory leak in 2.6.18 ovz kernels

Kir Kolyshkin kir at openvz.org
Mon Jun 30 17:00:48 EDT 2008

First, I hope you know the difference between memory shortage and memory 
used for buffer/cache. In short: Linux tries to use all unused memory 
for cache -- and if more memory is needed cache is shrunk. This behavior 
is sometimes a source of confusion for some Linux users.

Second, can you give us more details regarding "Athlon died after 
exhausting memory"? If it was an oops -- we need its text.

Third, are you using x86_64 kernel? What is your exact kernel version?

Cliff Wells wrote:
> Hi,
> I've been running 2.6.18 releases on two servers and both of them have
> suffered a slow but steady memory leak.  The first server is a dual
> Athlon MP with 3GB of RAM, the second a quad Opteron 275 with 8GB of
> RAM.  I first noticed the issue on the Opteron a few days ago when I
> realized it was using 7.6GB of RAM and had started using swap (it's only
> got about 2GB allocated to VE's).  Today the Athlon died after
> exhausting memory.  Both had been up for around 70 days.
> When investigating the situation on the Opteron, I stopped all the VE's
> but no memory was reclaimed.  Nothing in "top" showed any significant
> memory consumption.  I wasn't able to investigate on the Athlon system
> as it was in an unusable state.
> My immediate solution was to upgrade the Opteron system to 2.6.24 and
> boot the Athlon system into a stock kernel (I'm not currently using
> OpenVZ on it).
> Anyway, my concern is that I've seen no mention of similar issues from
> anyone else (and in fact, until the Athlon server failed today, I was
> inclined to believe it was a configuration issue on the Opteron), so I
> have a fear that if there is a leak, it might still exist in newer
> kernels.
> I'm going to babysit these machines to see if the problem reappears, but
> has anyone else noticed similar patterns of memory consumption and is
> there anything I can do to track this down?
> Regards,
> Cliff 
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