Buffer/cache exhaustion Spark standalone inside a Docker container

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Buffer/cache exhaustion Spark standalone inside a Docker container

Stein Welberg
Hi All!

I have a very weird memory issue (which is what a lot of people will most likely say ;-)) with Spark running in standalone mode inside a Docker container. Our setup is as follows: We have a Docker container in which we have a Spring boot application that runs Spark in standalone mode. This Spring boot app also contains a few scheduled tasks. These tasks trigger Spark jobs. The Spark jobs scrape a SQL database shuffles the data a bit and then writes the results to a different SQL table. Our current data set is very small (the largest table contains a few million rows).

The problem is that the Docker host (a CentOS VM) that runs the Docker container crashes after a while because the memory gets exhausted. I currently have limited the Spark memory usage to 512M (I have set both executor and driver memory) and in the Spark UI I can see that the largest job only takes about 10 MB of memory.

After digging a bit further I noticed that Spark eats up all the buffer / cache memory on the machine. After clearing this manually by forcing Linux to drop caches (echo 2 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches) (clearing the dentries and inodes) the cache usage drops considerably but if I don't keep doing this regularly I see that the cache usage slowly keeps going up until all memory is used in buffer/cache.

Does anyone have an idea what I might be doing wrong / what is going on here?

Big thanks in advance for any help!

Regards,
Stein Welberg

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