ORACLE-BASE – Configuring HugePages for Oracle on Linux (x86-64)

ORACLE-BASE – Configuring HugePages for Oracle on Linux (x86-64)

  • Introduction
  • Configuring HugePages
  • Force Oracle to use HugePages (USE_LARGE_PAGES)
  • Disabling Transparent HugePages (RHEL6/OL6 and RHEL7/OL7)
  • Configuring 1G Hugepagesize


For large SGA sizes, HugePages can give substantial benefits in virtual memory management. Without HugePages, the memory of the SGA is divided into 4K pages, which have to be managed by the Linux kernel. Using HugePages, the page size is increased to 2MB (configurable to 1G if supported by the hardware), thereby reducing the total number of pages to be managed by the kernel and therefore reducing the amount of memory required to hold the page table in memory. In addition to these changes, the memory associated with HugePages can not be swapped out, which forces the SGA to stay memory resident. The savings in memory and the effort of page management make HugePages pretty much mandatory for Oracle 11g systems running on x86-64 architectures.

Just because you have a large SGA, it doesn’t automatically mean you will have a problem if you don’t use HugePages. It is typically the combination of a large SGA and lots database connections that leads to problems. To determine how much memory you are currently using to support the page table, run the following command at a time when the server is under normal/heavy load.

# grep PageTables /proc/meminfo  PageTables:      1244880 kB  #

Automatic Memory Management (AMM) is not compatible with Linux HugePages, so apart from ASM instances and small unimportant databases, you will probably have no need for AMM on a real database running on Linux. Instead, Automatic Shared Memory Management and Automatic PGA Management should be used as they are compatible with HugePages.

Configuring HugePages

Run the following command to determine the current HugePage usage. The default HugePage size is 2MB on Oracle Linux 5.x and as you can see from the output below, by default no HugePages are defined.

$ grep Huge /proc/meminfo  AnonHugePages:         0 kB  HugePages_Total:       0  HugePages_Free:        0  HugePages_Rsvd:        0  HugePages_Surp:        0  Hugepagesize:       2048 kB  $

Depending on the size of your SGA, you may wish to increase the value of Hugepagesize to 1G.

Create a file called “” with the following contents.

#!/bin/bash  #  #  #  # Linux bash script to compute values for the  # recommended HugePages/HugeTLB configuration  #  # Note: This script does calculation for all shared memory  # segments available when the script is run, no matter it  # is an Oracle RDBMS shared memory segment or not.  # Check for the kernel version  KERN=`uname -r | awk -F. '{ printf("%d.%dn",$1,$2); }'`  # Find out the HugePage size  HPG_SZ=`grep Hugepagesize /proc/meminfo | awk {'print $2'}`  # Start from 1 pages to be on the safe side and guarantee 1 free HugePage  NUM_PG=1  # Cumulative number of pages required to handle the running shared memory segments  for SEG_BYTES in `ipcs -m | awk {'print $5'} | grep "[0-9][0-9]*"`  do     MIN_PG=`echo "$SEG_BYTES/($HPG_SZ*1024)" | bc -q`     if [ $MIN_PG -gt 0 ]; then        NUM_PG=`echo "$NUM_PG+$MIN_PG+1" | bc -q`     fi  done  # Finish with results  case $KERN in     '2.4') HUGETLB_POOL=`echo "$NUM_PG*$HPG_SZ/1024" | bc -q`;            echo "Recommended setting: vm.hugetlb_pool = $HUGETLB_POOL" ;;     '2.6' | '3.8' | '3.10' | '4.1' ) echo "Recommended setting: vm.nr_hugepages = $NUM_PG" ;;      *) echo "Unrecognized kernel version $KERN. Exiting." ;;  esac  # End

Thanks to Bjoern Rost for pointing out the issue when using the script against UEK3 and the suggested fix. I’ve subsequently added support for 3.10 and 4.1. There is a newer version of this script available from MOS (Doc ID 401749.1) which includes these kernel versions also.

Make the file executable.

$ chmod u+x

Make sure all the Oracle services are running as normal on the server, then run the script and make a note of the recommended “vm.nr_hugepages” value.

$ ./   Recommended setting: vm.nr_hugepages = 305  $

Edit the “/etc/sysctl.conf” file as the “root” user, adding the following entry, adjusted based on your output from the script. You should set the value greater than or equal to the value displayed by the script. You only need 1 or 2 spare pages.


One person reported also needing the hugetlb_shm_group setting on Oracle Linux 6.5. I did not and it is listed as a requirement for SUSE only. If you want to set it, get the ID of the dba group.

# fgrep dba /etc/group  dba:x:54322:oracle  #

Use the resulting group ID in the “/etc/sysctl.conf” file.


Run the following command as the “root” user.

# sysctl -p

Alternatively, edit the “/etc/grub.conf” file, adding “hugepages=306” to the end of the kernel line for the default kernel and reboot.

You can now see the HugePages have been created, but are currently not being used.

$ grep Huge /proc/meminfo  AnonHugePages:         0 kB  HugePages_Total:     306  HugePages_Free:      306  HugePages_Rsvd:        0  HugePages_Surp:        0  Hugepagesize:       2048 kB  $

Add the following entries into the “/etc/security/limits.conf” script or “/etc/security/limits.d/99-grid-oracle-limits.conf” script, where the setting is at least the size of the HugePages allocation in KB (HugePages * Hugepagesize). In this case the value is 306*2048=626688.

* soft memlock 626688  * hard memlock 626688

If you prefer, you can set these parameters to a value just below the size of physical memory of the server. This way you can forget about it, unless you add more physical memory.

Check the MEMORY_TARGET parameters are not set for the database and SGA_TARGET and PGA_AGGREGATE_TARGET parameters are being used instead.

SQL> show parameter target    NAME                                 TYPE        VALUE  ------------------------------------ ----------- ------------------------------  archive_lag_target                   integer     0  db_flashback_retention_target        integer     1440  fast_start_io_target                 integer     0  fast_start_mttr_target               integer     0  memory_max_target                    big integer 0  memory_target                        big integer 0  parallel_servers_target              integer     16  pga_aggregate_target                 big integer 200M  sga_target                           big integer 600M  SQL>

Restart the server and restart the database services as required.

Check the HugePages information again.

$ grep Huge /proc/meminfo  AnonHugePages:         0 kB  HugePages_Total:     306  HugePages_Free:       98  HugePages_Rsvd:       93  HugePages_Surp:        0  Hugepagesize:       2048 kB  $

You can see the HugePages are now being used.

Remember, if you increase your memory allocation or add new instances, you need to retest the required number of HugePages, or risk Oracle running without them.

Force Oracle to use HugePages (USE_LARGE_PAGES)

Sizing the number of HugePages correctly is important because prior to, if the whole SGA doesn’t fit into the available HugePages, the instance will start up without using any. From onward, the SGA can run partly in HugePages and partly not, so the impact of this issue is not so great. Incorrect sizing may not be obvious to spot. Later releases of the database display a “Large Pages Information” section in the alert log during startup.

****************** Large Pages Information *****************    Total Shared Global Region in Large Pages = 602 MB (100%)    Large Pages used by this instance: 301 (602 MB)  Large Pages unused system wide = 5 (10 MB) (alloc incr 4096 KB)  Large Pages configured system wide = 306 (612 MB)  Large Page size = 2048 KB  ***********************************************************

If you are running Oracle or later, you can set the USE_LARGE_PAGES initialization parameter to “only” so the database fails to start if it is not backed by hugepages. You can read more about this here.


On startup the “Large Page Information” in the alert log reflects the use of this parameter.

****************** Large Pages Information *****************  Parameter use_large_pages = ONLY    Total Shared Global Region in Large Pages = 602 MB (100%)    Large Pages used by this instance: 301 (602 MB)  Large Pages unused system wide = 5 (10 MB) (alloc incr 4096 KB)  Large Pages configured system wide = 306 (612 MB)  Large Page size = 2048 KB  ***********************************************************

Attempting to start the database when there aren’t enough HugePages to hold the SGA will now return the following error.

SQL> STARTUP  ORA-27137: unable to allocate large pages to create a shared memory segment  Linux-x86_64 Error: 12: Cannot allocate memory  SQL> 

The “Large Pages Information” section of the alert log output describes the startup failure and the appropriate action to take.

****************** Large Pages Information *****************  Parameter use_large_pages = ONLY    Large Pages unused system wide = 0 (0 KB) (alloc incr 4096 KB)  Large Pages configured system wide = 0 (0 KB)  Large Page size = 2048 KB    ERROR:    Failed to allocate shared global region with large pages, unix errno = 12.    Aborting Instance startup.    ORA-27137: unable to allocate Large Pages to create a shared memory segment    ACTION:    Total Shared Global Region size is 608 MB. Increase the number of    unused large pages to atleast 304 (608 MB) to allocate 100% Shared Global    Region with Large Pages.  ***********************************************************

Disabling Transparent HugePages (RHEL6/OL6 and RHEL7/OL7)

Starting from RHEL6/OL6, Transparent HugePages are implemented and enabled by default. They are meant to improve memory management by allowing HugePages to be allocated dynamically by the “khugepaged” kernel thread, rather than at boot time like conventional HugePages. That sounds like a good idea, but unfortunately Transparent HugePages don’t play well with Oracle databases and are associated with node reboots in RAC installations and performance problems on both single instance and RAC installations. As a result Oracle recommends disabling Transparent HugePages on all servers running Oracle databases, as described in this MOS note.

The following examples use the base path of “/sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/” which is used by OL6/OL7. For RHEL6/RHEL7 use “/sys/kernel/mm/redhat_transparent_hugepage/” as the base path.

You can check the current setting using the following command, which is displaying the default value of “enabled=[always]”.

# cat /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/enabled  [always] madvise never  #

For Oracle Linux 6 the preferred method to disable Transparent HugePages is to add “transparent_hugepage=never” to the kernel boot line in the “/boot/grub/grub.conf” file.

title Oracle Linux Server (2.6.39-400.24.1.el6uek.x86_64)          root (hd0,0)          kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.39-400.24.1.el6uek.x86_64 ro root=/dev/mapper/vg_ol6112-lv_root rd_NO_LUKS  KEYBOARDTYPE=pc KEYTABLE=uk  LANG=en_US.UTF-8 rd_NO_MD SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16  rd_NO_DM rd_LVM_LV=vg_ol6112/lv_swap rd_LVM_LV=vg_ol6112/lv_root rhgb quiet numa=off  transparent_hugepage=never          initrd /initramfs-2.6.39-400.24.1.el6uek.x86_64.img

Oracle Linux 7 is similar, but uses GRUB2 so you need to edit the “/boot/grub2/grub.cfg” file using the grubby command.

# grubby --default-kernel  /boot/vmlinuz-4.1.12-61.1.6.el7uek.x86_64    # grubby --args="transparent_hugepage=never" --update-kernel /boot/vmlinuz-4.1.12-61.1.6.el7uek.x86_64    # grubby --info /boot/vmlinuz-4.1.12-61.1.6.el7uek.x86_64  index=2  kernel=/boot/vmlinuz-4.1.12-61.1.6.el7uek.x86_64  args="ro vconsole.font=latarcyrheb-sun16 crashkernel=auto  vconsole.keymap=uk rhgb quiet LANG=en_GB.UTF-8 transparent_hugepage=never"  root=/dev/mapper/ol-root  initrd=/boot/initramfs-4.1.12-61.1.6.el7uek.x86_64.img  title=Oracle Linux Server 7.2, with Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 4.1.12-61.1.6.el7uek.x86_64

The server must be rebooted for this to take effect.

Alternatively, add the following lines into the “/etc/rc.local” file and reboot the server.

if test -f /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/enabled; then     echo never > /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/enabled  fi  if test -f /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/defrag; then     echo never > /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/defrag  fi

Whichever method you choose, remember to check the change has work after reboot.

# cat /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/enabled  always madvise [never]  #

In OL7/RHEL7 you also need to consider the “tuned profile”. The following script shows how to create and enable an amended version of the currently active tuned profile.

# # Check the active profile  # tuned-adm active  Current active profile: virtual-guest  #    # # Create directory to hold revised profile.  # mkdir /etc/tuned/virtual-guest-nothp    # # Create new profile based on the curren active profile.  # cat <<EOF >> /etc/tuned/virtual-guest-nothp/tuned.conf   [main]  include= virtual-guest    [vm]  transparent_hugepages=never  EOF    # # Make the script executable.  # chmod +x /etc/tuned/virtual-guest-nothp/tuned.conf     # # Enable the new profile.  # tuned-adm profile virtual-guest-nothp

Thanks to Mor for pointing this out and directing me to the notes here and here.

With Transparent HugePages disabled, you should proceed to configure conventional HugePages, as described above.

Configuring 1G Hugepagesize

As mentioned by Eugene in the comments, Oracle currently don’t recommend using 1G Hugepagesize. You can read more about this in MOS Doc ID 1607545.1. With that in mind, the rest of this section should probably be considered more of an academic exercise.

Check if your current hardware can support a Hugepagesize of 1G. If the following command produces any output, it can.

# cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep pdpe1gb

Thanks to Kevin Closson for pointing out the hardware support requirement.

Edit the “/etc/grub.conf” file, adding the following entries on to the kernel line of the default grub entry. Adjust the “hugepages” entry to the desired number of 1G pages. Notice this includes the disabling of Transparent HugePages, which is not mandatory, but a good idea.

transparent_hugepage=never hugepagesz=1G hugepages=1 default_hugepagesz=1G

Check the current HugePages setup.

# grep Huge /proc/meminfo  HugePages_Total:       0  HugePages_Free:        0  HugePages_Rsvd:        0  HugePages_Surp:        0  Hugepagesize:       2048 kB  #

Reboot and check the HugePages setup again.

#  grep Huge /proc/meminfo  HugePages_Total:       1  HugePages_Free:        1  HugePages_Rsvd:        0  HugePages_Surp:        0  Hugepagesize:    1048576 kB  #

For more information see:

Hope this helps. Regards Tim…