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Published: Oct 13, 2021 License: Apache-2.0 Imports: 16 Imported by: 7


Memory Limiter Processor

Supported pipeline types: metrics, traces, logs

The memory limiter processor is used to prevent out of memory situations on the collector. Given that the amount and type of data the collector processes is environment specific and resource utilization of the collector is also dependent on the configured processors, it is important to put checks in place regarding memory usage.

The memory_limiter processor allows to perform periodic checks of memory usage if it exceeds defined limits will begin dropping data and forcing GC to reduce memory consumption.

The memory_limiter uses soft and hard memory limits. Hard limit is always above or equal the soft limit.

When the memory usage exceeds the soft limit the processor will start dropping the data and return errors to the preceding component it in the pipeline (which should be normally a receiver).

When the memory usage is above the hard limit in addition to dropping the data the processor will forcedly perform garbage collection in order to try to free memory.

When the memory usage drop below the soft limit, the normal operation is resumed (data will not longer be dropped and no forced garbage collection will be performed).

The difference between the soft limit and hard limits is defined via spike_limit_mib configuration option. The value of this option should be selected in a way that ensures that between the memory check intervals the memory usage cannot increase by more than this value (otherwise memory usage may exceed the hard limit - even if temporarily). A good starting point for spike_limit_mib is 20% of the hard limit. Bigger spike_limit_mib values may be necessary for spiky traffic or for longer check intervals.

In addition, if the ballast size is specified in ballastextension, the same value that is provided via the ballastextension will be used in memory_limitor for calculating the total allocated memory for the collector. The memory_limiter.ballast_size_mib config has been deprecated and will be removed soon.

Note that while the processor can help mitigate out of memory situations, it is not a replacement for properly sizing and configuring the collector. Keep in mind that if the soft limit is crossed, the collector will return errors to all receive operations until enough memory is freed. This will result in dropped data.

It is highly recommended to configure ballastextension as well as the memory_limiter processor on every collector. The ballast should be configured to be 1/3 to 1/2 of the memory allocated to the collector. The memory_limiter processor should be the first processor defined in the pipeline (immediately after the receivers). This is to ensure that backpressure can be sent to applicable receivers and minimize the likelihood of dropped data when the memory_limiter gets triggered.

Please refer to config.go for the config spec.

The following configuration options must be changed:

  • check_interval (default = 0s): Time between measurements of memory usage. The recommended value is 1 second. If the expected traffic to the Collector is very spiky then decrease the check_interval or increase spike_limit_mib to avoid memory usage going over the hard limit.
  • limit_mib (default = 0): Maximum amount of memory, in MiB, targeted to be allocated by the process heap. Note that typically the total memory usage of process will be about 50MiB higher than this value. This defines the hard limit.
  • spike_limit_mib (default = 20% of limit_mib): Maximum spike expected between the measurements of memory usage. The value must be less than limit_mib. The soft limit value will be equal to (limit_mib - spike_limit_mib). The recommended value for spike_limit_mib is about 20% limit_mib.
  • limit_percentage (default = 0): Maximum amount of total memory targeted to be allocated by the process heap. This configuration is supported on Linux systems with cgroups and it's intended to be used in dynamic platforms like docker. This option is used to calculate memory_limit from the total available memory. For instance setting of 75% with the total memory of 1GiB will result in the limit of 750 MiB. The fixed memory setting (limit_mib) takes precedence over the percentage configuration.
  • spike_limit_percentage (default = 0): Maximum spike expected between the measurements of memory usage. The value must be less than limit_percentage. This option is used to calculate spike_limit_mib from the total available memory. For instance setting of 25% with the total memory of 1GiB will result in the spike limit of 250MiB. This option is intended to be used only with limit_percentage.

The ballast_size_mib configuration has been deprecated and replaced by ballast_extension.

  • ballast_size_mib (default = 0): Must match the value of ballast_size_mib in ballastextension config


    check_interval: 1s
    limit_mib: 4000
    spike_limit_mib: 800
    check_interval: 1s
    limit_percentage: 50
    spike_limit_percentage: 30

Refer to config.yaml for detailed examples on using the processor.



Package memorylimiterprocessor provides a processor for OpenTelemetry Service pipeline that drops data on the pipeline according to the current state of memory usage.



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func NewFactory

func NewFactory() component.ProcessorFactory

NewFactory returns a new factory for the Memory Limiter processor.


type Config

type Config struct {
	config.ProcessorSettings `mapstructure:",squash"` // squash ensures fields are correctly decoded in embedded struct

	// CheckInterval is the time between measurements of memory usage for the
	// purposes of avoiding going over the limits. Defaults to zero, so no
	// checks will be performed.
	CheckInterval time.Duration `mapstructure:"check_interval"`

	// MemoryLimitMiB is the maximum amount of memory, in MiB, targeted to be
	// allocated by the process.
	MemoryLimitMiB uint32 `mapstructure:"limit_mib"`

	// MemorySpikeLimitMiB is the maximum, in MiB, spike expected between the
	// measurements of memory usage.
	MemorySpikeLimitMiB uint32 `mapstructure:"spike_limit_mib"`

	// BallastSizeMiB is the size, in MiB, of the ballast size being used by the
	// process.
	// Deprecated: use the ballast size configuration in `ballastextension` component instead.
	BallastSizeMiB uint32 `mapstructure:"ballast_size_mib"`

	// MemoryLimitPercentage is the maximum amount of memory, in %, targeted to be
	// allocated by the process. The fixed memory settings MemoryLimitMiB has a higher precedence.
	MemoryLimitPercentage uint32 `mapstructure:"limit_percentage"`
	// MemorySpikePercentage is the maximum, in percents against the total memory,
	// spike expected between the measurements of memory usage.
	MemorySpikePercentage uint32 `mapstructure:"spike_limit_percentage"`

Config defines configuration for memory memoryLimiter processor.

func (*Config) Validate

func (cfg *Config) Validate() error

Validate checks if the processor configuration is valid

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