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the OS_MEM_FREE Column from Sysmaster:SysMachineInfo is Misleading on AIX
Take for example the following query:
select os_mem_free from sysmaster:sysmachineinfo;
This returns the amount of free memory on the OS in bytes. We appear to get this information from the same function that gathers that info for OAT (via the SMI query) and onstat -g osi.
The system call being used appears to be grabbing what is seen in svmon -G's "free" column. (see below) While this does tend to be showing a true value for free memory on the system, it is not an accurate representation of the real available free memory. That's because this free value incorporates a lot of memory reserved/cached by the OS. Yet this memory can be redistributed to new shared memory segments and process heap memory if needed.
A more accurate value for free memory on the system (i.e. memory that could be available if needed) would be the (memory->size) - (memory->virtual). Or (memory->size) - (in use->work).
The wording for this description was supplied by IBM employee Brian Oligschlaeger [firstname.lastname@example.org].
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