Memory allocation issues on huge memory servers running Oracle database

  • 7018190
  • 25-Oct-2016
  • 25-Jan-2017

Environment

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 Service Pack 1 (SLES 12 SP1)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 3 (SLES 11 SP3)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 4 (SLES 11 SP4)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 Service Pack 2 (SLES 12 SP2)

Situation

Servers with huge memory running into memory allocation and paging issues. NUMA is set to 'off' on the affected servers.

Resolution

Remove the boot option 'numa=off' and reboot.

Cause

Customer who have experience of running Oracle database on Oracle Linux may be familiar with using the Oracle Linux pre-install rpms for Oracle database which automatically add 'numa=off' to the default boot item in the boot menu.

SUSE's standpoint is that it can have a crippling effect on a server by forcing all memory to be viewed as belonging to node 0 and preventing the kernel from making  node-local memory allocations.
There is no such requirement on SUSE Linux and SUSE advises that unless NUMA is shown to cause an issue for a specific workload, that NUMA should be enabled regardless of whether the version of Oracle database being run has any NUMA specific code enabled or disabled.

SUSE Linux has it's own version of a pre-Oracle database environment setup tool. It is called orarun and can be installed by selecting the Oracle Server pattern or by installing the orarun package from the installation media.

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