Splunk® Enterprise

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Transparent huge memory pages and Splunk performance

Some distributions of Linux (for example, Red Hat, CentOS, and Ubuntu) have an advanced memory management scheme called Transparent Huge Pages (THP). THP acts as an abstraction layer that lets the memory management units (MMUs) in a Linux system work with huge memory pages. With THP, this work occurs without specific action on the behalf of the administrator or the software that runs on the host.

Every CPU in a modern machine has an MMU. The MMU manages memory in pages, and huge pages are structures that let MMUs manage multiple gigabytes and terabytes of memory more efficiently.

THP has been associated with degradation of Splunk Enterprise performance in at least some Linux kernel versions (for example, the 2.6.32 kernel used in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6). When enabled, THP can significantly degrade overall machine performance on systems that run Splunk Enterprise because of several issues:

  • The implementation is too aggressive at coalescing memory pages for short-lived processes (such as many Splunk searches)
  • It can prevent the jemalloc memory allocation implementation from releasing memory back to the operating system after use. The jemalloc implementation is more scalable version of the malloc implementation and has been used in newer distributions of Linux.
  • For some workloads, it can cause I/O regressions surrounding swapping of huge pages.

Splunk has observed a minimum of a 30% degradation in indexing and search performance on Linux systems where THP is active, with a similar percentage increase in latency. Where possible, disable THP on your Linux system configuration for all machines that run Splunk software, unless that machine also runs an application that requires THP.

In future versions of Linux, kernel engineers might find ways to improve the behavior of THP for the Splunk workload.

See the following pages for additional information about THP and how to disable it. Specific steps on disabling the feature are not shown here because the procedure differs on each distribution.

Last modified on 29 July, 2021
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This documentation applies to the following versions of Splunk® Enterprise: 6.5.7, 7.0.0, 7.0.1, 7.0.2, 7.0.3, 7.0.4, 7.0.5, 7.0.6, 7.0.7, 7.0.8, 7.0.9, 7.0.10, 7.0.11, 7.0.13, 7.1.0, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 7.1.3, 7.1.4, 7.1.5, 7.1.6, 7.1.7, 7.1.8, 7.1.9, 7.1.10, 7.2.0, 7.2.1, 7.2.2, 7.2.3, 7.2.4, 7.2.5, 7.2.6, 7.2.7, 7.2.8, 7.2.9, 7.2.10, 7.3.0, 7.3.1, 7.3.2, 7.3.3, 7.3.4, 7.3.5, 7.3.6, 7.3.7, 7.3.8, 7.3.9, 8.0.0, 8.0.1, 8.0.2, 8.0.3, 8.0.4, 8.0.5, 8.0.6, 8.0.7, 8.0.8, 8.0.9, 8.0.10, 8.1.0, 8.1.1, 8.1.2, 8.1.3, 8.1.4, 8.1.5, 8.1.6, 8.1.7, 8.1.8, 8.1.9, 8.1.10, 8.1.11, 8.1.12, 8.1.13, 8.2.0, 8.2.1, 8.2.2, 8.2.3, 8.2.4, 8.2.5, 8.2.6, 8.2.7, 8.2.8, 8.2.9, 8.2.10, 9.0.0, 9.0.1, 9.0.2, 9.0.3, 9.0.4

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