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RAM Requirements

With default configuration about database tiers, Netdata should need about 16KiB per unique metric collected, independently of the data collection frequency.

Netdata supports memory ballooning and automatically sizes and limits the memory used, based on the metrics concurrently being collected.

On Production Systems, Netdata Children

With default settings, Netdata should run with 100MB to 200MB of RAM, depending on the number of metrics being collected.

This number can be lowered by limiting the number of database tier or switching database modes. For more information check Disk Requirements and Retention.

On Metrics Centralization Points, Netdata Parents

The general formula, with the default configuration of database tiers, is:


The default CONFIGURED_CACHES is 32MiB.

For 1 million concurrently collected time-series (independently of their data collection frequency), the memory required is:


( 1000000 * 16KiB / 1024 in MiB) + 32 MiB =
15657 MiB =
about 16 GiB

There are 2 cache sizes that can be configured in netdata.conf:

  1. [db].dbengine page cache size MB: this is the main cache that keeps metrics data into memory. When data are not found in it, the extent cache is consulted, and if not found in that either, they are loaded from disk.
  2. [db].dbengine extent cache size MB: this is the compressed extent cache. It keeps in memory compressed data blocks, as they appear on disk, to avoid reading them again. Data found in the extend cache but not in the main cache have to be uncompressed to be queried.

Both of them are dynamically adjusted to use some of the total memory computed above. The configuration in netdata.conf allows providing additional memory to them, increasing their caching efficiency.

I have a Netdata Parent that is also a systemd-journal logs centralization point, what should I know?

Logs usually require significantly more disk space and I/O bandwidth than metrics. For optimal performance we recommend to store metrics and logs on separate, independent disks.

Netdata uses direct-I/O for its database, so that it does not pollute the system caches with its own data. We want Netdata to be a nice citizen when it runs side-by-side with production applications, so this was required to guarantee that Netdata does not affect the operation of databases or other sensitive applications running on the same servers.

To optimize disk I/O, Netdata maintains its own private caches. The default settings of these caches are automatically adjusted to the minimum required size for acceptable metrics query performance.

systemd-journal on the other hand, relies on operating system caches for improving the query performance of logs. When the system lacks free memory, querying logs leads to increased disk I/O.

If you are experiencing slow responses and increased disk reads when metrics queries run, we suggest to dedicate some more RAM to Netdata.

We frequently see that the following strategy gives best results:

  1. Start the Netdata Parent, send all the load you expect it to have and let it stabilize for a few hours. Netdata will now use the minimum memory it believes is required for smooth operation.
  2. Check the available system memory.
  3. Set the page cache in netdata.conf to use 1/3 of the available memory.

This will allow Netdata queries to have more caches, while leaving plenty of available memory of logs and the operating system.

Do you have any feedback for this page? If so, you can open a new issue on our netdata/learn repository.