17.2 About Swap Space

Oracle Linux uses swap space when your system does not have enough physical memory to store the text (code) and data pages that the processes are currently using. When your system needs more memory, it writes inactive pages to swap space on disk, freeing up physical memory. However, writing to swap space has a negative impact on system performance, so increasing swap space is not an effective solution to shortage of memory. Swap space is located on disk drives, which have much slower access times than physical memory. If your system often resorts to swapping, you should add more physical memory, not more swap space.

You can configure swap space on a swap file in a file system or on a separate swap partition. A dedicated swap partition is faster, but changing the size of a swap file is easier. Configure a swap partition if you know how much swap space your system requires. Otherwise, start with a swap file and create a swap partition when you know what your system requires.