Sun Java System Directory Server Enterprise Edition 6.3 Deployment Planning Guide

Directory Server and Memory

The following factors significantly affect the amount of memory needed:

To estimate the memory size required to run Directory Server, estimate the memory needed for a specific Directory Server configuration on a system loaded as in production, including application load generated for example using the Directory Server Resource Kit commands or SLAMD.

Before you measure Directory Server process size, give the server some time after startup to fill entry caches as during normal or peak operation. If you have space to put everything in cache memory, you can speed this warm up period for Directory Server by reading every entry in the directory to fill entry caches. If you do not have space to put everything in cache memory, simulate client access for some time until the cache fills as it would with a pattern of normal or peak operation.

With the server in an equilibrium state, you can use utilities such as pmap on Solaris or Linux, or the Windows Task Manager to measure memory used by the Directory Server process, ns-slapd on UNIX systems, slapd.exe on Windows systems. For more information, see the pmap(1) man page. Measure process size both during normal operation and peak operation before deciding how much memory to use.

Make sure to add to your estimates the amount of memory needed for system administration, and for the system itself. Operating system memory requirements can vary widely depending on the system configuration. Therefore, estimating the memory needed to run the underlying operating system must be done empirically. After tuning the system, monitor memory use to your estimate. You can use utilities such as the Solaris vmstat and sar commands, or the Task Manager on Windows to measure memory use.

At a minimum, provide enough memory so that running Directory Server does not cause constant page swapping, which negatively affects performance. Utilities such as MemTool, unsupported and available separately for Solaris systems, can be useful in monitoring how memory is used by and allocated to running applications.

If the system cannot accommodate additional memory, yet you continue to observe constant page swapping, reduce the size of the database and entry caches. Although you can throttle memory use with the heap-high-threshold-size and heap-low-threshold-size server settings, consider the heap threshold mechanism as a last resort. Performance suffers when Directory Server must delay other operations to free heap memory.

On Red Hat Linux systems, you can adjust the /proc/sys/vm/swappiness parameter to tune how aggressively the kernel swaps out memory. High swappiness means that the kernel will swap out a large amount and low swappiness means that the kernel will try not to use swap space at all. Decreasing the swappiness setting may therefore result in improved Directory performance as the kernel holds more of the server process in memory longer before swapping it out. If the system is dedicated to a single Directory Server instance, set the swappiness to zero. If the system runs several heavy processes or multiple concurrent instances of Directory Server, consider testing the Directory performance with various swappiness settings.