Memory and Disk Space

Describes required and recommended memory, storage, and disk capacities for each node.

Minimum Memory

A minimum of 16 GB memory is required on each node. MapR recommends at least 16 GB for a production environment, and typical MapR production nodes have 32 GB or more.

Run free -g to display total and available memory in gigabytes.

$ free -g
              total        used        free      shared      buffers      cached
Mem:              3           2           1           0            0           1
-/+ buffers/cache:            0           2
Swap:             2           0           2

If the free command is not found, you can use other options such as grep MemTotal: /proc/meminfo, vmstat -s -SM, top, or various GUI system-information tools.

MapR does not recommend using the numad service, since it has not been tested and validated with MapR software. Using the numad service can cause artificial memory constraints to be set, which can lead to performance degradation under load. To stop and disable the numad service:

  1. Stop the service by issuing the command systemctl stop numad.
  2. Set the numad service not to start on reboot: systemctl disable numad

MapR does not recommend using overcommit as it can lead to the kernel memory manager stopping processes to free memory, resulting in stopped MapR processes and system instability. Set vm.overcommit_memory to 0, to let the kernel automatically manage memory:

  1. Edit the /etc/sysctl.conf file and add the following line: vm.overcommit_memory=0
  2. Save the file and run: sysctl -p

You can try MapR on non-production equipment, but under the demands of a production environment, memory needs to be balanced against disks, network, and CPU.


For data disks, MapR Installer versions and later require a minimum disk size that is equal to the physical memory on the node. If a data disk does not meet the minimum disk size requirement, a verification error is generated.

MapR software works with raw unformatted devices and partitions. For optimized performance and high reliability, MapR recommends using raw unformatted devices. For data nodes, allocate at least 3 unmounted physical drives or partitions for MapR storage. MapR software uses disk spindles in parallel for faster read/write bandwidth and therefore groups disks into sets of three.

Minimum Disk Allocation: MapR software requires a minimum of one disk or partition for MapR data. However, file contention for a shared disk decreases performance. In a typical production environment, multiple physical disks on each node are dedicated to the distributed file system, which results in much better performance.

Maximum Disk Allocation: If you are planning to install multiple instances of MapR Filesystem, the number of disks supported on a node can vary based on the number of instances you plan to install. For example, a single node with four instances of the MapR FileServer can support up to 360 disks.

Drive Configuration

Do not use RAID or Logical Volume Management with disks that are added to a MapR node. While MapR software supports these technologies, using them incurs additional setup overhead and can affect your cluster's performance. Due to the possible formatting requirements that are associated with changes to the drive settings, configure the drive settings prior to installing MapR.

If you have a RAID controller, disable it, and let the system run in Host Bus Adapter (HBA) mode. For systems that do not support HBA, and have LSI MegaRAID controllers, configure the following drive-group settings for optimal performance:

Property (The actual name depends on the version) Recommended Setting
Stripe Size >=256K
Cache Policy or I/O Policy Cached IO or Cached
Read Policy Always Read Ahead or Read Ahead
Write Policy Write-Through
Disk Cache Policy or Drive Cache Disabled

Enabling the Disk Cache policy can improve performance. However, enabling the Disk Cache policy is not recommended because it increases the risk of data loss if the node loses power before the disk cache is committed to disk.

Minimum Disk Space

OS Partition. Provide at least 10 GB of free disk space on the operating system partition.

MapR Filesystem. Provide the higher of 8 GB of free disk space or the memory allocated to MapR file system. Note that the disk space should be greater than the memory allocated to MapR file system.

Disk. Provide 10 GB of free disk space in the /tmp directory and 128 GB of free disk space in the /opt directory. Services, such as ResourceManager and NodeManager, use the /tmp directory. Files, such as logs and cores, use the /opt directory.

Swap space. For production systems, provide at least 4 GB of swap space. If you believe more swap space is needed, consult the swap-space recommendation of your OS vendor. The amount of swap space that a production system needs can vary greatly depending on the application, workload, and amount of RAM in the system.  Note that the MapR Installer generates a warning if your swap space is either less than 10% of main memory, or less than 2 GB.

ZooKeeper. On ZooKeeper nodes, dedicate a partition, if practicable, for the /opt/mapr/zkdata directory to avoid other processes filling that partition with writes and to reduce the possibility of errors due to a full /opt/mapr/zkdata directory. This directory is used to store snapshots that are up to 64 MB. Since the four most recent snapshots are retained, reserve at least 500 MB for this partition. Do not share the physical disk where /opt/mapr/zkdata resides with any MapR File System data partitions to avoid I/O conflicts that might lead to ZooKeeper service failures.

Virtual Memory (swappiness)

Swappiness is a setting that controls how often the kernel copies the contents of RAM to swap. By setting vm.swappiness to the right value, you can prevent the system from swapping processes too frequently, but still allow for emergency swapping (instead of killing processes). For all Linux distributions, the MapR recommendation is to set vm.swappiness to 1.

To check the current value for vm.swappiness run:
cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness
To change the value, run:
sudo sysctl vm.swappiness=1

The value of vm.swappiness can revert to a system default setting if you reboot the node. To make this setting permanent, enter vm.swappiness=1 in /etc/sysctl.conf and save it.