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What Exactly is Swappiness?

This is an issue that keeps rearing its ugly head over and over again, and since it greatly affects performance, it is most important that DBAs of any DMBS running on Linux come to grips with it. So I decided to do some research and try different settings on my notebook. Here are my findings.

What can you find on the web?

A Wikipedia search for the word swappiness will come up empty (any volunteers out there want to write an article?). A Google search will show some pretty old material—the best article I found is from 2004: Linux: Tuning Swappiness. This article includes a detailed discussion with some interesting remarks by Andrew Morton, a Linux kernel maintainer.

So, what is swappiness?

Towards the end of the email thread quoted in the article, you’ll find this definition (sort of):

> I’ve read the source for where …

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