I have powerful machine with 70 GB RAM. I created one Oracle instance with 20 GB as sga_target. I am not able to create another Oracle instance with sga_target > 10G even when I keep the first database down. If I set sga_target >=10G it gives below error on startup:

ORA-27104: system-defined limits for shared memory was misconfigured

While free -m shows that there is enough memeory available though:

             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:         72419      34490      37928          0        618      28159
-/+ buffers/cache:       5711      66707
Swap:         2047          0       2047

Do I need to increase swap space? Any pointer in this regard is highly appreciated.

Also for 70 GB memory, for creating many instances, what would be best value for swap space - is there some way to caluculate this? My objective is to have at least two instances each with sga_target=20G and will keep only one instance up at a time. If I am missing any concept here?

Output of ipcs -im is as below

------ Shared Memory Limits --------
max number of segments = 4096
max seg size (kbytes) = 4194303
max total shared memory (kbytes) = 8388608
min seg size (bytes) = 1

3 Answers 3


Your kernel parameters need modifying.

Edit /etc/sysctl.conf and ensure the following lines are present:

kernel.shmall = 18350080
kernel.shmmax = 75161927680
kernel.shmmni = 4096
kernel.sem = 250 32000 100 128

Then reboot the machine.

  • Thanks this works. Could you please let me know how could you decide these values for shmall, shmax and shmni etc. Is there some way to calculate these?
    – user419534
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 10:47
  • 3
    shmmax is the max size in bytes of a single shared memory segment, you have 70Gb of RAM so I used 70*1024*1024*1024. shmall is the maximum sum of all shared memory segments that can exist at once & is measured in pages. The page size on Linux is usually 4k, so I divided the shmmax number by 4096.
    – Philᵀᴹ
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 10:50
  • Hi @Philᵀᴹ are there equivalent settings for Windows? More specifically in my case I'm running a Windows Docker container and am seeing the ORA-27104 message.
    – TrojanName
    Commented Feb 28, 2023 at 13:41
  • Nevermind, it turns out that you have to explicitly tell docker build to use extra memory by passing the "-m 8G -f Dockerfile" flags. You may also need to set your WSL memory limits in a .wslconfig file and restart WSL and Docker.
    – TrojanName
    Commented Mar 1, 2023 at 12:15

The kernel paramter should be configured properly:

Oracle Database Installation Guide, 11g Release 2 (11.2) for Linux, Part Number E24321-04, 2.10 Configuring Kernel Parameters for Linux ,


Setting shmmax value depends on the whether the OS is 32-Bit or 64-Bit. There is a metalink note which explain about this in detail.

Maximum SHMMAX values for Linux x86 and x86-64 [ID 567506.1]

Please have a look.

There is also a note about Shared Memory/Semaphores for Oracle which should be an interesting read.

TECH: Unix Semaphores and Shared Memory Explained [ID 15566.1]

Regards, Nagendra Chillale

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