The end of swap.

The other day I wanted to check out the new gnome 3 desktop for linux that everybody has been saying sucks so bad.
So I fired up a 4th vbox vm on my machine and installed it. Asking for another gig of memory for the vm I finally used up all 8gig of ram on my machine, and the most interesting thing happened…
It started using swap. I’ve had this machine for a year or two now I think, and I got 8 gig because I found swap annoying, and now I have proof. The problem is disk is getting bigger and bigger, and programs are getting bigger and bigger and memory is getting bigger and bigger, but the speed at which you can swap memory in to and out of disk hasn’t really changed much, certainly not in line with the memory and disk sizes, so what ended up happening was the machine would just freeze and the disk would spin for 15 seconds or so while a gig or two was swapped in or out of memory.

This made me realize that I think we’ve finally seen the end of swap. There’s no point. Memory is so cheap, you might as well just buy more memory and keep everything in it. Now I realize that using huge memory sucking vms is pretty much the worst case scenario, and there’s probably lots of small things that can be swapped out to disk due to lack of use, but when you start opening firefox (2gig resident at the moment) and chrome (another gig or two resident) you really run into the swap problem the same way, the VM just makes it worse faster.

Anyway, so along that stream, since I’ve decided never to use swap again, SSDs become a lot more interesting because you don’t have to worry about burning them out because of swap… So I found this.

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