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disable transparent hugepages


To make options such as this permanent you’ll typically add them to the file /etc/sysctl.conf. You can see a full list of the options available using this command:

$ sysctl -a


$ sudo sysctl -a | head -5
kernel.sched_child_runs_first = 0
kernel.sched_min_granularity_ns = 6000000
kernel.sched_latency_ns = 18000000
kernel.sched_wakeup_granularity_ns = 3000000
kernel.sched_shares_ratelimit = 750000

You can look for hugepage in the output like so:

$ sudo sysctl -a | grep hugepage
vm.nr_hugepages = 0
vm.nr_hugepages_mempolicy = 0
vm.hugepages_treat_as_movable = 0
vm.nr_overcommit_hugepages = 0

It’s not there?

However looking through the output I did not see transparent_hugepage. Googling a bit more I did come across this Oracle page which discusses this very topic. The page is titled: Configuring HugePages for Oracle on Linux (x86-64).

Specifically on that page they mention how to disable the hugepage feature.


The preferred method to disable Transparent HugePages is to add “transparent_hugepage=never” to the kernel boot line in the “/etc/grub.conf” file.

   title Oracle Linux Server (2.6.39-400.24.1.el6uek.x86_64)
            root (hd0,0)
            kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.39-400.24.1.el6uek.x86_64 ro root=/dev/mapper/vg_ol6112-lv_root rd_NO_LUKS  KEYBOARDTYPE=pc KEYTABLE=uk
    LANG=en_US.UTF-8 rd_NO_MD SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16  rd_NO_DM rd_LVM_LV=vg_ol6112/lv_swap rd_LVM_LV=vg_ol6112/lv_root rhgb quiet numa=off
            initrd /initramfs-2.6.39-400.24.1.el6uek.x86_64.img

The server must be rebooted for this to take effect.

Alternatively you can add the command to your /etc/rc.local file.

if test -f /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/enabled; then
   echo never > /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/enabled
if test -f /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/defrag; then
   echo never > /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/defrag

I think I would go with the 2nd option, since the first will be at risk of getting unset when you upgrade from one kernel to the next.

You can confirm that it worked with the following command after rebooting:

$ cat /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/enabled
always madvise [never]

I just wanted to add to this question as I was trying to disable transparent hugepages on CentOS v6 in order to enable TokuDB for MariaDB. I added the script mentioned by @slm to /etc/rc.local and it disabled transparent hugepages. However, because of the way startup scripts work in Linux, /etc/rc.local is executed after all the services are started. Therefore, transparent huge pages was being disabled after MariaDB was already started and the TokuDB engine wouldn’t initialize. The only other way to disable transparent hugepages is by adding transparent_hugepage=never to the kernel parameter.

I noticed @Rwky’s comment You can make the first option survive kernel updates by adding transparent_hugepage=never to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT option in /etc/default/grub on most distributions. and found out that CentOS doesn’t support the /etc/default/grub file and was worried about transparent_hugepage=never disappearing from the kernel parameters when it is updated. But not to worry, CentOS is setup to keep any changes made to the kernel parameters in grub so when it is updated they are kept.

To also add, the proper way to modify the kernel parameters for grub is with grubby. I created this simple script to add transparent_hugepage=never to each kernel with grubby:


if [[ $EUID -ne 0 ]]; then
   echo "This script must be run as root" 1>&2
   exit 1

for KERNEL in /boot/vmlinuz-*; do
    grubby --update-kernel="$KERNEL" --args="transparent_hugepage=never"

Here’s an implementation using puppet:

exec { "disable_transparent_hugepage_enabled":
  command => "/bin/echo never > /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/enabled",
  unless  => "/bin/grep -c '[never]' /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/enabled 2>/dev/null",

exec { "disable_transparent_hugepage_defrag":
  command => "/bin/echo never > /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/defrag",
  unless  => "/bin/grep -c '[never]' /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/defrag 2>/dev/null",

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