How to tell if Linux system is running low on memory ?

Posted on 2005-04-18
Last Modified: 2008-03-06

I need to find a way to tell if a Linux server is running low on memory. On solaris, I would use vmstat -p or sar -g to see the paging activity.
Question by:Anonymouslemming
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Try command 'free'. It will show you how much of swapspace is used.

    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    vmstat (without option) is working on Linux, too.
    "free" or "top" will tell you the paging activities, too.
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    'free -m' will give you a good report.  top also gives good real-time analysis, while vmstat gives more cryptic analysis..  You can also review /proc/meminfo for extremely detailed info.

    Note that MemFree is calculated based not only on application memory usage, but also disk cache.  The disk cache will grow, even if it means pushing application memory into swap.  Usually this works out okay, but it can be problematic.  The 2.6 kernel is much improved for tuning kernel swappiness, and some of these features have been backported to 2.4 by RedHat.

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