Date: 28-02-24  Time: 16:41 PM

Author Topic: huge paging space on AIX 7.1 TL05 SP04 lpars  (Read 3743 times)

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huge paging space on AIX 7.1 TL05 SP04 lpars
« on: May 14, 2021, 09:33:44 AM »
Hi Experts,
i need to understand if there are contraindications in rootvg growth due to huge paging space needs (up to 1TB of ps inside rootvg).
Best practices and reasonable aspects have been already evaluated, so i'd create a dedicated vg with n 64GB PVs to make room for n PSs avoiding usage of hot disks, and so on... but unfortunately i am not independent in decision making right now.

I'd just like understand if i could get into troubles doing so.
For example if mksysb could run into issues, even if it doen't save ps contents, and so on..

I really appreciate to hear your positions.

Many thanks


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Re: huge paging space on AIX 7.1 TL05 SP04 lpars
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2021, 06:07:50 PM »
How much real memory are we talking about?

And, what is the value of `lsps -s`


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Re: huge paging space on AIX 7.1 TL05 SP04 lpars
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2021, 04:25:17 PM »
Hi Micheal, thanks for your answer. Realmem is 900GB, usual ps usage is very low(lsps -s shows less than 10% normally) but the customer would manage sudden and very quick ps requests as happened at least one time some weeks ago.


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Re: huge paging space on AIX 7.1 TL05 SP04 lpars
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2021, 05:39:00 PM »
Well, 900G - and page space is 1TB? And 10% occupied, on average.

I'll just say - ok, but not really happy about it - on average.

First off, I consider paging space "SLOOOOOOW" memory.

Memory hierachy:
proc: registers, caches: L1, L2, L3, L4 (this is all on processor), LS registers (Load-Store) deal, ideally, with processor cache lines; then comes real-memory and SRAD (aka Resource Affinity Domains) - and then disk storage (paging space for working memory, file-system space for 'permanent' aka persistent data.

The idea that paging space is an alternative for real memory is no longer 'acceptable', imho. And, from your comment is sounds as if application owners see paging space as a viable alternative.

Going back in time: when system memory of 32M (mega) byte was considered large - paging space was a bit more accepted as an alturnative because it was near impossible to go above boundaries such as 32M, or 64M. 16-bit was still considered 'large' rather than 'tiny' now.

So, when 2^16 was large, 2^32 was just entering the picture - systems with paging space at 2x real memory was normal.

Here is a minimal situation:

root@x065:[/root]lparstat -i | grep Memory
Online Memory                              : 1024 MB
Maximum Memory                             : 4096 MB
Minimum Memory                             : 1024 MB
Desired Memory                             : 1024 MB
root@x065:[/root]lsps -s
Total Paging Space   Percent Used
      512MB              18%

Normally I would consider 18% paging space on the high side, but this is a stable system.

root@x065:[/root]svmon -G -O unit=MB
Unit: MB
               size       inuse        free         pin     virtual  available
memory      1024.00      813.21      210.79      339.06      508.24     259.21
pg space     512.00        91.9

               work        pers        clnt       other
pin          264.56           0           0        74.5
in use       464.59           0      348.62

So, yes, the system has had a need to page out 92MB, and that remains allocated, but atm, 20% (roughly), of system memory is free.

root@x065:[/root]vmstat -s
             60748468 total address trans. faults
               923790 page ins
              1346183 page outs
                70317 paging space page ins
               181723 paging space page outs
                    0 total reclaims
             29693425 zero filled pages faults
                30344 executable filled pages faults
              1222006 pages examined by clock
                    4 revolutions of the clock hand
               329788 pages freed by the clock
               200629 backtracks
                13971 free frame waits
                    0 extend XPT waits
               521134 pending I/O waits
              1189333 start I/Os
               947549 iodones
             31003617 cpu context switches
              4368283 device interrupts
              5913498 software interrupts
             16396623 decrementer interrupts
                 1904 mpc-sent interrupts
                 1904 mpc-receive interrupts
               351637 phantom interrupts
                    0 traps
             79721468 syscalls

 17:20:29  up 1 day  6:27,  1 user,  load average: 0.99, 0.99, 1.00

From above, I would say the statistics indicate 1024MB is on the small size (as I know real work was last done 24 hours ago).

*                    4 revolutions of the clock hand

*               923790 page ins
*              1346183 page outs
*                70317 paging space page ins
*               181723 paging space page outs

This system has scanned all of it's memory, looking for memory to steal - 4 times, and the paging space activity is roughly 10% of all i/o activity (page ins/outs include of paging space page ins/outs)

* Above is an example of some of the items a performance consultant should discuss with you.

* Since your application 'requires' paging space - your needs as administrator is to arrange paging space sections as separate disks, from memory - 64GB max size
* paging space gets allocated round-robin, so all paging space areas should be the same size.
* while there is a historical preference for all paging space to be in rootvg - I would not worry about that. A separate VG for additional paging space support can be considered - to make rootvg backups (i.e., mksysb) more manageable.
** Note - having 1TB (or whatever) of paging space does not make the backup larger - paging space is not a file system so it's contents is not in the mksysb
** paging space is no longer used for dumps (aix 3.X used hd7, AIX4 and AIX5 used hd6 (paging space) AIX7 uses lg_dumplv

* a more in-depth study of WHEN paging space is demanded
* a monitor should be started to monitor `lsps -s` statistics, e.g., using a cron job and run it every minute. Will be boring - but will help with the when (not directly who/what, but you could add extra logic to query system when it goes above 15% or 20%, or whatever. Having the % every minutes will help target a trigger/threshold value.

** Hope this helps,


p.s. (This would have never worked, for me, via linkedIn or twitter.)