kswapd etc hogging machine

From: Art Hays (art@lsr.nei.nih.gov)
Date: Wed Jan 02 2002 - 22:33:09 EST

I would appreciate any expert insight into a problem that is causing me
considerable grief. Please cc to me directly. Thank you very much.

Problem: kswapd, kreclaimd, kupdated push load average high during simple
tar. Response of system drops such that even keystroke echos are
noticeably delayed.


Machine- 4 processor 700Mhz Dell with 4G Ram and 6G swap space running
stock Redhat 7.2 distribution. All disks are SCSI using ext2.

Command- from a remote machine this command is executed to the Linux
machine "tar cBf - . | rsh linux "(tar xBpf -)".

Manifestion of problem- As this command continues on a freshly booted
Linux machine the free memory reported by 'top' slowly goes to a low
number. When it bottoms out, the processes 'kswapd', 'kreclaimd', and
'kupdated' begin to run pushing the load average above 4 at times.
Responsiveness of machine drops dramatically with even keystroke echos
delayed for seconds.

I apologize if this is well known. If there is a simple solution I would
appreciate even a terse pointer to it. Thanks.

Art Hays					avhays@nih.gov or art@lsr.nei.nih.gov
Bldg 49 Rm 2A50					(301) 496-7143 (voice)
Nat. Institutes of Health			(301) 402-0511 (fax)
Bethesda, MD  20892

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