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Status Future consideration
Workspace AIX
Created by Guest
Created on Mar 8, 2024

High priority login shell during low memory conditions

Over the years AIX has become very stable, but occasionally there's an AIX system that seems to hang when experiencing low memory/paging conditions. On the system some processes (that don't need to allocate new memory) continue to work happily, ping continues to respond, and so on ... but in general the system will appear to be hung/unresponsive/very slow. In situations like that it is very often no longer possible to login or add memory using DLPAR. If you are lucky to still have an active shell session and know the PID of the "guilty" process, you may be able to kill it and revive the system. If not, you can wait and hope the paging space kills will help you. Unfortunately, most of the times you will have to wait a very long time, if not forever. A reboot of the system is usually the only option.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a new feature that could avoid such reboots? Possibly this feature would allow a login from the console, present a shell with high priority (memory wise). A limited "shell" that just allows to get the list of processes and allows to execute a kill may be enough. This could be seen as the memory-equivalent of the System Hang Detection feature.

Idea priority Medium