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I have inherited a server that is a Virtuozzo guest. I just noticed that /usr/bin/free is reporting 100% or near-100% memory usage; no shared, no buffers, no cache:

# free -m
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:          4045       4045          0          0          0          0
-/+ buffers/cache:       4045          0
Swap:            0          0          0

All services are responsive. Both top and ps do not show any processes nearly close to 4GB of allocated memory.

Not to jump the gun but I've managed many Linux systems seen this situation. I vaguely remember reading that Virtuozzo has a dynamic over-committed memory management system, so I was wondering if that is it, and the striking results above are not cause for alarm.

Or should I begin to panic?


For the record, it turned out that a process was definitely consuming memory. It wasn't an artifact of Virtuozzo.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

No, I think that the important numbers are in /proc/user_beancounters and if those are okay, the system should be okay. But then again, you may want to look at where all that memory is going. There might be a memory leak somewhere.

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The weird thing is that top and ps do not report anything using that much memory, just tot overall numbers. Learning about user_beancounters now, thanks. – jhs Sep 16 '09 at 4:20
Pay particular attention to the last column. Anything other than 0 indicates a problem. – sybreon Sep 16 '09 at 6:29
Sybreon, would you mind amending your answer to clearly state "NO" at the beginning. I'd like to accept it while having it be helpful to future readers. Thanks. – jhs Sep 16 '09 at 13:40
No, you should not panic. – sybreon Sep 16 '09 at 18:46

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