11.15. Resource usage

11.15.1. Method

The following values are taken from a Docker development configuration of CamCOPS 2.3.7 on 15 Aug 2020. In general the command sequence was:

docker container ls  # which container ID?
docker exec -it CONTAINER /bin/bash  # run a shell in that container
apt-get update && apt install htop smemstat  # install tools
# htop  # memory usage; see https://hisham.hm/htop/
# smem -k  # better memory usage; see https://www.selenic.com/smem/
smemstat -l  # even better than smem
du -bch /camcops  # disk usage

Note that 1 GB = 10^9 bytes and 1 GiB = 2^30 bytes = 1.07 GB.

11.15.2. Memory

Web server


A freshly started “web server” process using CherryPy fired up 19 sub-threads. The parent and each child used 351 Mb (for a notional total of 20 351 Mb = 7 Gb). The htop utility reported a total of 6.5 Gb in use. This quantity would, of course, vary with the number of threads you configure.

However, the child processes will share memory (and memory will be double-counted, or counted 20-fold in this example). So, more accurate assessments are as follows.

The smem -k command reports 305 MB as its PSS (proportional set size) estimate of actual memory usage for the camcops_server process.

Using cat /sys/fs/cgroup/memory/memory.usage_in_bytes gave a total memory usage of 477 MB (but this is a rough-and-ready estimate).

Using docker stats gave a total memory usage for this container of 328 MiB.

After activity

The Docker container size grew to 386 MiB after some load.


With a default configuration on an 8-CPU machine (which allows 8 CPUs per Docker container, and starts as many Celery workers as CPUs), the smem command reports 10 processes totalling 1.74 GB. The docker stats command reports 1.69 GiB (these are consistent: 1.74 GB = 1.62 GiB).

Once things have started happening, memory use goes up a bit. For example, smemstat -l can show one parent at 287 MiB, one child at 158 Mb, and eight grandchildren (the actual worker processes) mostly at 146 MiB but one at 388 MiB (presumably the one that’s done some work).

Celery-related memory leak

In fact, there is a problem here. Even with the concurrency set to a single worker (via CELERY_WORKER_EXTRA_ARGS), that single worker grew to 1.55 GB (with 2.03 GiB for the Docker container as a whole).

This looks like a memory leak. It is probably a Python problem brought out by Celery. See:

A solution: use --maxtasksperchild=20 in the CELERY_WORKER_EXTRA_ARGS config parameter. This successfully caps memory usage at around 750 MiB for a one-worker container.


As a Docker container, this takes about 570 MiB at baseline (via docker stats). This seems static.


As a Docker container, this takes about 571 MiB at baseline (via docker stats). This seems fairly static (e.g. up to 578 MiB after a bit of work).


As a Docker container, this takes about 101 MiB at baseline (via docker stats). This seems fairly static (e.g. up to 104 MiB after some work).


As a Docker container, this takes about 209 MiB at baseline (via docker stats). Some work pushed this to 302 MiB.

11.15.3. Disk

The /camcops tree within a standard Docker configuration takes up about 718 MiB. This includes source code, the compiled virtual environment with dependencies installed, and some config files.