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From Alain RODRIGUEZ <>
Subject Questions around the heap
Date Wed, 07 Nov 2012 09:56:30 GMT

We just had some issue in production that we finally solve upgrading
hardware and increasing the heap.

Now we have 3 xLarge servers from AWS (15G RAM, 4 cpu - 8 cores). We add
them and then removed the old ones.

With full default configuration, 0.75 threshold of 4G was being reach
continuously, so I was obliged to increase the heap to 8G:

Memtable  : 2G (Manually configured)
Key cache : 0.1G (min(5% of Heap (in MB), 100MB))
System     : 1G     (more or less, from datastax doc)

It should use about 3 G and it actually use between 4 and 6 G.

So here are my questions:

How can we know how the heap is being used, monitor it ?
Why have I that much memory used in the heap of my new servers ?

All configurations not specified are default from 1.1.2 Cassandra.

Here is what happen to us before, why we change our hardware, if you have
any clue on what happen we would be glad to learn and maybe come back to
our old hardware.

-------------------------------- User experience

We had a Cassandra 1.1.2 2 nodes cluster with RF2 and CL.ONE (R&W) running
on 2 m1.Large aws (7.5G RAM, 2 cpu - 4 cores dedicated to Cassandra only).

Cassandra.yaml was configured with 1.1.2 default options and in I configured a 4G heap with a 200M "new size".

That is the heap that was supposed to be used.

Memtable  : 1.4G (1/3 of the heap)
Key cache : 0.1G (min(5% of Heap (in MB), 100MB))
System     : 1G     (more or less, from datastax doc)

So we are around 2.5G max in theory out of 3G usable (threshold 0.75 of the
heap before flushing memtable because of pressure)

I thought it was ok regarding Datastax documentation:

"Regardless of how much RAM your hardware has, you should keep the JVM heap
size constrained by the following formula and allow the operating system’s
file cache to do the rest:

(memtable_total_space_in_mb) + 1GB + (cache_size_estimate)"
After adding a third node and changing the RF from 2 to 3 (to allow using
CL.QUORUM and still be able to restart a node whenever we want), things
went really bad. Even if I still don't get how any of these operations
could possibly affect the heap needed.

All the 3 nodes reached the 0.75 heap threshold (I tried to increase it to
0.85, but it was still reached). And they never came down. So my cluster
started flushing a lot and the load increased because of
unceasing compactions. This unexpected load produced latency that broke
down our service for a while. Even with the service down, Cassandra was
unable to recover.

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