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KB14263 - Best practice recommendation: Monitoring memory utilization via SNMP

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Last Modified Date7/31/2015 5:01 PM
This article provides information about the best practice recommendation for monitoring the Pulse Connect Secure/Pulse Policy Secure platform’s device memory utilization via SNMP.
Problem or Goal
Customers, who leverage the SNMP trap to monitor memory utilization, may receive frequent memory utilization traps; even though the device exhibits no symptoms, such as sluggish performance, poor end user experience, and so on.
The Pulse Connect Secure and Pulse Policy Secure platform provides the capability to set SNMP Trap threshold values for both the physical memory and virtual (SWAP) memory. This configuration option is available under Admin GUI > Log/Monitoring > SNMP > Trap Thresholds. The Memory option is for only physical memory utilization and the SWAP memory option is for only virtual (SWAP) memory utilization.

Like most operating systems, the PPS/PCS leverages both the physical and virtual memory during its routine operation. Depending on the load and functionality being used, the PPS/PCS may use up all available physical memory for a brief period. If the physical memory threshold has been configured, then it may generate memory utilization traps; however the system (PPS/PCS) may not show symptoms such as sluggish performance, poor end user experience, and so on.

If you experience this situation and would like to avoid the traps, but at the same time retain the ability of the system (Pulse Connect Secure/Pulse Policy Secure Platform) to send traps to alert administrators when the system is really facing a memory starvation condition, then it is recommend to set the Memory option to zero (disable it) and the SWAP memory option to a value between 20% and 30% (as shown in the following image):

User-added image

  • As the PPS/PCS platform is available in different capacity models and deployed in varied environments, the value for ‘SWAP memory’ utilization recommended above is a generic guideline. It is not a ‘one size fits all’ type of value and it is best that you use these guidelines to fine tune it for your environment. This article is more effective for administrators, who have deployed low end and mid end Pulse Connect Secure/Pulse Policy Secure platforms.
  • Swap memory will be used, only when the physical memory has been exhausted. The physical memory can reach up to 100% during high traffic volumes and should not correlate to any performance issues. For the end user, 30% Swap memory is a benchmark and depending on the PPS/PCS model, environment and services being used, this may need to be adjusted to trigger SNMP trap to meet their requirements.
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