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Is Swap Still Needed?

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This is an interesting discussion about the value of swap space. My perspective is that swap space used to store your idle processes is valuable since it frees up the same amount of memory for caching additional disk sectors. Assuming you are actually doing some disk I/O, that will result in an overall performance improvement.
As to why swap performance might be becoming more and more an issue over time, Rik van Riel [interview] suggested that this could be due to the growing gap between the speed of RAM and the speed of hard drives, "the speed of hard disks doesn't grow anywhere near as fast as the size of memory and applications. This means that over the last years, swapping in any particular application has gotten SLOWER than it used to be ... This means that even though the VM is way smarter than it used to be, the visibility of any wrong decision has increased."
 read more | mail this link | score:6955 | -Ray, May 30, 2004
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