My embedded system has 2 GB RAM and 100 MB swap partition. I recognize, after continues monitoring that average memory usage of RAM is ~50 %. For some reason system start use SWAP memory and use almost 40 % of it (40 MB). I want prevent such thing because my device flash has a big problem with number of writes and I need it for ~10 years of use. After run these set of commands I get to list of processes that use SWAP :

for file in /proc/*/status ; do awk '/VmSwap|Name/{printf $2 " " $3}END{ print ""}' $file; done | sort -k 2 -n -r | less​

My system file /etc/sysctl.conf confiured with parameter : vm.swappiness=1 , so according articles I read it should use SWAP only if it really need. (I investigated the results with vm.sappiness=0, but didn't have results yet.)

I know that there is a way to prevent from specific processes use swap, but what is a correct one?

  • This doesn't answer your question, but with that setup, do you need the swap in the first place? 100 MB isn't that much on a 2 GB machine, so you could probably do without it, and avoid this issue too. Also, the amount of swap in use at one time doesn't tell how much writes go to the swap: some rarely-if-ever used data might end up in swap the first the memory is full, and if it's never modified, there are no further writes. – ilkkachu Nov 6 '17 at 14:56
  • This sounds like a job for the nice family... ionice nice renice – RubberStamp Nov 6 '17 at 15:03
  • You may also want to decrease verbosity level of logs in rsyslog configuration. – Jaroslav Kucera Nov 6 '17 at 15:36
  • my system is embedded base very shrink Debian 8 based system , that has problem with number of writes/read per-block on his flash drive, but it run an application that use pretty more resources. This is a reason why we declare swap partition if system get to critical point it will use swap partition. – Sergey Meerovich Nov 7 '17 at 12:15

You can set swappiness per process with cgroups

echo 0 > /sys/fs/cgroup/<your custom group>/memory.swappiness

Anyway my advice is to use zram for compressed swapping in ram.

  • Just to add, this can also be achieved with the libcgroup and the cgset command. – Raman Sailopal Nov 6 '17 at 15:28

I test on two systems , where I detect previously use of 40% of SWAP option of :


This option really helped . I didn't see any use of swap for last 4 days

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