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Oracle memory leak troubleshooting

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonMarch 27,  2015

Question:  I have a problem with memory leaks in my Oracle database.  How do you find and troubleshoot memory leaks?

Answer:  As a refresher, a memory leak is a condition where an application program (or the database software) allocates RAM resources and then fails to release the RAM from the heap.  The main symptom of a memory leak is increasing RAM consumption on the server (as seen with the ipcs command) and RAM page swapping (as seen via vmstat). 

Swapping is detected using the "sr" column to designate the memory page scan rate. If we see the scan rate rising steadily, we will have hit the page-stealing daemon's first threshold, indicating that entire program's RAM memory regions are being paged-out to the swap disk.  As the process continues, we will begin to see high page-in numbers as the entire process in paged-back into RAM memory.

To troubleshoot memory leaks you must have knowledge about how the application manages the RAM resources, so it's often difficult to diagnose a Oracle memory leak because we do not have access to the Oracle source code.  Because the application controls the RAM heap, it can be difficult to find memory leaks without the source code, and you may want to open an SR with Oracle tech support, since it's hard to interpret a memory dump without the dsect's, and only Oracle has this information.

When you have confirmed a memory leak in Oracle, always open a service request with Oracle technical support and check MOSC for memory leak bugs and patches.

See these related notes on Oracle memory leaks:


 

 

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