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I have a server that recently got knocked offline when when a blog article hosted on the box made the front page of Hacker News. From what I've heard, it seems like the server became unresponsive when it ran out of memory from the deluge of requests.

Does anyone know if there's a way to configure the system to notify me somehow when memory usage gets really high, so that I can start to scale out the system or shut off some processes?

I'm certainly not that experienced with this stuff, but a quick Google search turned up nothing. Let me know if I'm way off base or there's a better monitoring solution. Thanks!

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You want to know if your server isn't responding or isn't responding well. Don't try to look for memory usage specifically. (Except perhaps in addition to basic response monitoring.) – David Schwartz Jan 27 '12 at 19:30
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Sure, any decent monitoring solution will do that.

The real solution, though, is to configure your webserver (and database server as well, if they're on the same host) so that they can't use up all available memory.

In addition to a monitoring/notification system, you ought to have something like Munin running as well. Munin can do some rudimentary notifications, but its core competency is collecting data on your system and graphing it. Munin makes it very easy to, at a glance, get a read on how your system is performing.

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