Adding Swap to Google Compute Engine


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By default Google Compute Engine (Debian) doesn’t come with any swap space.  If you have periodic programs that eat a bit more memory (like my backups do) then instead on just adding more physical memory you can add a swap file.

Swaps files are much slower than physical memory, so should be avoided except when it is needed.

Setting up a swap file on Debian on Google Compute Engine is described here

sudo fallocate -l 2G /swapfile
sudo chmod 600 /swapfile
sudo mkswap /swapfile
sudo swapon /swapfile
sudo swapon -s

To make this permanent add this to /etc/fstab

/swapfile none swap sw 0 0

 

If you need to resize the swap file

sudo swapoff /swapfile 
sudo fallocate -l 4G /swapfile
sudo mkswap /swapfile
sudo swapon /swapfile

 

How much swap? Well that  is down to your system. Maybe start with 1x your physical memory and then run memory diagnostics tools.

 

 

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One response to “Adding Swap to Google Compute Engine”

  1. Thanks. Normally, this gets set up when you create a new system, so you don’t think about it. Setting up a gcloud debian VM didn’t prompt for it, so it didn’t get set up.

    This saves the day on a minimal gcloud compute instance – lets me keep it a bit longer before upgrading.

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