SUMMARY: Urgent: memory disappearing

From: Angel Lopez Luengo (
Date: Mon Jun 14 1999 - 03:15:24 CDT

Hi to all,

    thanks to all for your quick responses,

    the problem was related with an application running under Lotus
Notes. Since we stopped it, free memory is now stabilised.

    Bellow are the responses that I have received.


    Angel Lopez Luengo

Casper Dik <>

The solaris FAQ says:

5.72) After the system has been up for a while, freemem is only a couple
of MB.

    This is normal. When the system operates, it will gather more and
    more cached data. E.g., every file ever read will be cached until
    the memory is needed for some other purpose.

    Free memory is wasted memory.

    --- end of excerpt from the FAQ

Questions marked with a * or + have been changed or added since
the FAQ was last posted

The most recently posted version of the FAQ is available from

"Johannessen, Erik" <>

I would first check how much memory is being used for the buffer cache.
Solaris will happily it your memory down to about 60mb with file buffer
cache. This is very normal. The easiest way to check this is to download
memory toolkit from

After installing it, run the command "prtmem" and you can see where all
memory is going.

Erik Johannessen
CSS Technology - Systems Management Services

"Reichert, Alan" <>

What is the output of top? Memory might be getting allocated to
buffers, and not really under "someone's" use.

- Alan

"John Clinton" <>

I would download top from, install it, and take a look
is using the memory. My guess it your tmp/swap is being used up by an

Top can sort your processes by cpu util, memory size, etc. A very handy



"Leonard, Roger" <>

try /usr/ucb/ps aux and see who is the culprit.

"Mike Allmen (rp1251)" <>

I don't know that I can be much help, but I did have a similar problem.

At the time, we had a UE450 with 1GB RAM, running Solaris 2.5.1, and
Notes 4.6.1c.
We had the same problem where the notes processes seemed to run away
all of the memory.
It basically used everything it could get and the loads shot up on all

To remedy the situation in our case, I backed up my notes data, did a
install of Solaris 2.6,
a clean install of Lotus Notes 4.6.2a, and restored the data directory.
Since then, we have had no issues
with runaway memory usage on the system.

Unfortunately, we were never able to determine a "cause" for this
Lotus Notes is not the greatest
program out there IMHO, and I chalk it up to the unpredictable nature of

Lotus Notes. BTW, we have other Solaris servers running 4.6.4 with no
problems, smaller configurations though, and our plan is to upgrade the
to 4.6.4. Based on your experiences, I hope we are not going to revisit

this problem again.


Somesh Nagthan <>


The figure that u are getting from vmstat is the no. of pages on the
free list but not the actual memory that is free...this is a misleading
this has to do with the way memory is managed in Solaris. Please see
infodoc no. 14136 which i have attached below.

the real criteria for memory shortage wud be the sr column which is
always zero....which means u are ok.

hope this helps.

"Ram Kumar" <>


do it like this to find out which process(es) eat away memory....

put the following script in cron and collect the statistics and see
process grows with time...

ps -ae -o user,pid,pcpu,pmem,vsz,args > "file"

hope this helps


"Morel, Joe" <>


I use the following methods to see where my
memory is:

1. As root I use the pmap command to give
memory usage for each process and even splits
it out to subprocesses.

/usr/proc/bin/pmap -r /proc/* > mymemory

I them do a more on mymenory and find the
heaviest user.

Do a man on pmap to educate yourself.

2. ps -ly will also show the size (SZ) and resident (RSS) memory
columns for each process.

3. Now the hard part, finding out if it's the user (owner) of the
process causing the problem, or the application itself.

Have fun,


"Anit G. Lulla" <>

This is normal. Memory is used for file-system buffering.

As SUN always says, free memory is wasted memory.

Alvaro Coronel - CECAL <>

Los comandos top, ps o proctool no muestran cual es ese proceso glotón?

Buena suerte.

            Alvaro Coronel Ligrone
            Facultad de Ingenieria
               Centro de Calculo
 Universidad de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay
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Reboot now? [ OK ]


 You can use top to see which process use the memory or ps as follow
ps -ef -o user,pid,rss,vsz,comm | sort -nr +2 | more
The third and fourth column is the real a virtual memory usage.

Best regards

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