Every now and then we get a report that the installer has crashed by running out of memory (latest: bsc#1172139). So far we have managed to fix the problems. Now it is time for a proactive approach: tracking the memory consumption across all installations.


YaST instaler memory usage, SLED15-SP2 GMC

To reproduce this, see Usage below.


Previously we have inserted logging of memory measurements at critical points of the main installer process (y2start or y2base).

memsample aims to get a full* picture of the install-time system (aka inst-sys) by

  1. taking a sample every few seconds
  2. measuring the memory used by all the processes, and the RAM-disk (tmpfs)
  3. having low overhead as to allow being always enabled in production

*: A significant problem with time-sampling memory or disk usage is that we may miss short timed peaks. To detect those, an in-process alternative is needed.


At installation time, samples are taken by running the commands free, df /, and ps ....

Parsing the significant data from the output of these commands is not done yet. Instead, the output is compressed (with gzip) in a crude archive format. (This is a prototype-quality approach. With more thought and work we could be more efficient both with CPU and memory.)

After the installation has concluded, the archive is post-processed to produce an easily consumable CSV format. A graph is produced from that CSV with Gnuplot.


YaST the installer will start memsample automatically.

The environment variable MEMSAMPLE (set on the boot command line) means the interval in seconds between samples. Zero means no sampling at all. The default is 5.

Memsample will log to a compressed file /var/log/YaST2/memsample.zcat. After a successful installation this file will be packaged inside /var/log/YaST2/yast-installation-logs.tar.xz

  1. produce a memsample.csv, a CSV version of the collected data with memsample-archive-to-csv or memsample-archive-to-csv -y yast-installation-logs.tar.xz
  2. produce memsample.png with memsample-csv-plot


Measuring memory takes up more memory.


1768 dash
 160 +- dash
3780 |  `- ps
 920 `- gzip
6628 KiB total

Logs: A quick next-next installation of SLES took about 13 minutes, that was 150 samples totaling 392 KiB of memsample.zcat