HugePages for Oracle database in Oracle Cloud

Posted in: Cloud, Oracle, Technical Track

I recently published a blog post about large pages support in AWS RDS for Oracle and someone asked me if and how it works on Oracle cloud. I didn’t actually know the answer and decided to look it up. Documentation for Oracle Cloud didn’t say much about HugePages or large pages support for Oracle Cloud Database Service. I only found directions for Oracle Database Exadata Cloud Service in the documentation. The most reliable way, of course, was to go and check and that’s what I did. Please keep in mind that the information in this post may become obsolete since Oracle Cloud is constantly undergoing changes.

Oracle has two types of Oracle Cloud platforms where one is called “Classic” and another is called “Oracle Cloud Infrastructure” or “OCI”. I started my tests with the latter. In the OCI interface I created a DB system (VM based) with “VM.Standard1.1” shape which comes with 1 OCPU and 7 GB of memory.

As soon as the VM was successfully deployed I started to check the system. To my surprise I found that the HugePages were not configured. On the OS level we saw 0 defined large pages in the memory:

[opc@gl ~]$ cat /proc/meminfo | grep Hu
AnonHugePages:         0 kB
HugePages_Total:       0
HugePages_Free:        0
HugePages_Rsvd:        0
HugePages_Surp:        0
Hugepagesize:       2048 kB
[opc@gl ~]$

And the database instance parameter “use_large_pages” was explicitly setup to false:

SQL> SHOW parameter large_pages
 
NAME				     TYPE	 VALUE
------------------------------------ ----------- ------------------------------
use_large_pages 		     string	 FALSE
SQL>

The large pages were not set up out of the box with the provisioned service as I was expecting. On the Oracle Cloud, we possessed full control on OS level for our VM. What if we tried to enable the HugePages for the database? The database was not using AMM and was configured for ASMM instead which was fully aligned with using large pages for SGA.

SQL> SHOW parameter memory_target
 
NAME				     TYPE	 VALUE
------------------------------------ ----------- ------------------------------
memory_target			     big INTEGER 0
SQL> SHOW parameter memory_max_target
 
NAME				     TYPE	 VALUE
------------------------------------ ----------- ------------------------------
memory_max_target		     big INTEGER 0
SQL> SHOW parameter sga_target
 
NAME				     TYPE	 VALUE
------------------------------------ ----------- ------------------------------
sga_target			     big INTEGER 1792M
SQL> SHOW parameter sga_max
 
NAME				     TYPE	 VALUE
------------------------------------ ----------- ------------------------------
sga_max_size			     big INTEGER 1792M
SQL>

Also I noticed that the users limits for Oracle were already configured to support up to almost 5Tb of locked memory.

[oracle@gl ~]$ ulimit -a
core file size          (blocks, -c) unlimited
data seg size           (kbytes, -d) unlimited
scheduling priority             (-e) 0
file size               (blocks, -f) unlimited
pending signals                 (-i) 26559
max locked memory       (kbytes, -l) 5158329
max memory size         (kbytes, -m) unlimited
open files                      (-n) 131072
pipe size            (512 bytes, -p) 8
POSIX message queues     (bytes, -q) 819200
real-time priority              (-r) 0
stack size              (kbytes, -s) 10240
cpu time               (seconds, -t) unlimited
max user processes              (-u) 131072
virtual memory          (kbytes, -v) unlimited
file locks                      (-x) unlimited
[oracle@gl ~]$

It seemed like the system was almost ready and we should just enable HugePages on OS level, switch the use_large_pages parameter to “TRUE” or “ONLY” and bounce the instance. It was exactly what I did.
I changed the database instance parameter:

SQL> ALTER system SET use_large_pages=TRUE sid='*' scope=spfile;
 
System altered.
 
SQL>

Stopped the instance using srvctl:

[oracle@gl ~]$ srvctl stop database -db orcl_iad1zp

Modified the hugepages.

[root@gl ~]# vi /etc/sysctl.conf
[root@gl ~]# cat /etc/sysctl.conf | grep nr_hugepages
vm.nr_hugepages = 900
[root@gl ~]# sysctl -p [root@gl ~]# cat /proc/meminfo | grep Hu
AnonHugePages:         0 kB
HugePages_Total:     900
HugePages_Free:      900
HugePages_Rsvd:        0
HugePages_Surp:        0
Hugepagesize:       2048 kB
[root@gl ~]#

And started the database back:

[oracle@gl ~]$ srvctl start database -db orcl_iad1zp

After that I could see that the memory in large pages had been used and the instance alert log clearly stated that 897 large pages out of 900 were allocated by the database.

[oracle@gl ~]$ cat /proc/meminfo | grep Hu
AnonHugePages:         0 kB
HugePages_Total:     900
HugePages_Free:        6
HugePages_Rsvd:        3
HugePages_Surp:        0
Hugepagesize:       2048 kB
[oracle@gl ~]$ 
 
 
 
**********************************************************************
2018-07-06T19:47:45.508519+00:00
Dump of system resources acquired for SHARED GLOBAL AREA (SGA)
 
2018-07-06T19:47:45.508680+00:00
 Per process system memlock (soft) limit = UNLIMITED
2018-07-06T19:47:45.508773+00:00
 Expected per process system memlock (soft) limit to lock
 SHARED GLOBAL AREA (SGA) into memory: 1794M
2018-07-06T19:47:45.508907+00:00
 Available system pagesizes:
  4K, 2048K
2018-07-06T19:47:45.509119+00:00
 Supported system pagesize(s):
2018-07-06T19:47:45.509173+00:00
  PAGESIZE  AVAILABLE_PAGES  EXPECTED_PAGES  ALLOCATED_PAGES  ERROR(s)
2018-07-06T19:47:45.509220+00:00
        4K       Configured               3               3        NONE
2018-07-06T19:47:45.509400+00:00
     2048K              900             897             897        NONE
2018-07-06T19:47:45.509481+00:00
**********************************************************************

Everything worked out fine and I got the database with SGA running in HugePages memory. I didn’t see any errors or problems while doing some small tests on the database. Everything worked correctly. I tried with a couple of different shapes for the VM and got the similar results. It appeared that on the OCI platform the HugePages were not used for database systems based on VM by default. I didn’t try all types of VM but the configuration and behaviour looked the same for the other shapes only SGA and PGA parameters were growing along with new size of the instances. For example, on the “VM.Standard1.2” we were getting more memory on the box, bigger SGA but the large pages were not used anyway.

The next step was to check the Oracle “Classic” cloud database service. It had different definition for the standard configurations and I started from “OC4” with 2 OCPU and 15 GB memory. The instance was created and I could see that it was using HugePages out of box. It was exactly what I expected from the Oracle Cloud.
The database instance parameter “use_large_pages” was setup to “TRUE”

SQL> SHOW parameter use_large_pages
 
NAME				     TYPE	 VALUE
------------------------------------ ----------- ------------------------------
use_large_pages 		     string	 TRUE
SQL> SHOW parameter sga_target
 
NAME				     TYPE	 VALUE
------------------------------------ ----------- ------------------------------
sga_target			     big INTEGER 5296M
SQL>

And the instance alert log showed clearly that 2649 large pages out of configured 2916 were used allocated.

Starting ORACLE instance (normal) (OS id: 13119)
2018-07-20T16:52:59.994496+00:00
**********************************************************************
2018-07-20T16:52:59.994556+00:00
Dump of system resources acquired for SHARED GLOBAL AREA (SGA)
 
2018-07-20T16:52:59.994659+00:00
 Per process system memlock (soft) limit = 128G
2018-07-20T16:52:59.994710+00:00
 Expected per process system memlock (soft) limit to lock
 SHARED GLOBAL AREA (SGA) into memory: 5298M
2018-07-20T16:52:59.994809+00:00
 Available system pagesizes:
  4K, 2048K
2018-07-20T16:52:59.994901+00:00
 Supported system pagesize(s):
2018-07-20T16:52:59.994948+00:00
  PAGESIZE  AVAILABLE_PAGES  EXPECTED_PAGES  ALLOCATED_PAGES  ERROR(s)
2018-07-20T16:52:59.994998+00:00
        4K       Configured               7               7        NONE
2018-07-20T16:52:59.995102+00:00
     2048K             2916            2649            2649        NONE
2018-07-20T16:52:59.995150+00:00
**********************************************************************

Here is a short summary. Oracle database service on OCI gives you VM and database instance without large pages configuration when the database service on “Classic” cloud platform provides you a VM and an instance with large pages setup. I was not able to find any recommendation or notes in the documentation for Oracle Cloud regarding large page usage for database service on “OCI” cloud. I was surprised that it was not configured out of the box there. From my point of view, it definitely makes sense to use large pages if a system supports it. So, if you still don’t use it, you may try to test it on OCI and maybe double verify with Oracle support before going to production.

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About the Author

Regarded by his peers as an Oracle guru, Gleb is known for being able to resolve any problem related to Oracle. He loves the satisfaction of troubleshooting, and his colleagues even say that seeking Gleb’s advice regarding an issue is more efficient than looking it up. Gleb enjoys the variety of challenges he faces while working at Pythian, rather than working on the same thing every day. His areas of speciality include Oracle RAC, Exadata, RMAN, SQL tuning, high availability, storage, performance tuning, and many more. When he’s not working, running, or cycling, Gleb can be found reading.

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