Memory Overcommit, an Overloaded Term…

When it comes to virtualization and memory, I regularly hear the term “memory overcommit” used as if it’s a single technology. The problem is that there are numerous techniques that can be employed to more efficiently use memory which has led to much confusion. Some customers think page sharing equals overcommit. Others think second level paging equals memory overcommit and so on.

So, to avoid any confusion, here’s the definition of overcommit according to the Merriam Webster dictionary online:

Main Entry: over·com·mit

: to commit excessively: as a : to obligate (as oneself) beyond the ability for fulfillment b : to allocate (resources) in excess of the capacity for replenishment

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