crashkernel memory reservation on arm64

Author: Baoquan He <>

Kdump mechanism is used to capture a corrupted kernel vmcore so that it can be subsequently analyzed. In order to do this, a preliminarily reserved memory is needed to pre-load the kdump kernel and boot such kernel if corruption happens.

That reserved memory for kdump is adapted to be able to minimally accommodate the kdump kernel and the user space programs needed for the vmcore collection.

Kernel parameter

Through the kernel parameters below, memory can be reserved accordingly during the early stage of the first kernel booting so that a continuous large chunk of memomy can be found. The low memory reservation needs to be considered if the crashkernel is reserved from the high memory area.

Low memory and high memory

For kdump reservations, low memory is the memory area under a specific limit, usually decided by the accessible address bits of the DMA-capable devices needed by the kdump kernel to run. Those devices not related to vmcore dumping can be ignored. On arm64, the low memory upper bound is not fixed: it is 1G on the RPi4 platform but 4G on most other systems. On special kernels built with CONFIG_ZONE_(DMA|DMA32) disabled, the whole system RAM is low memory. Outside of the low memory described above, the rest of system RAM is considered high memory.


1) crashkernel=size@offset

The crashkernel memory must be reserved at the user-specified region or fail if already occupied.

2) crashkernel=size

The crashkernel memory region will be reserved in any available position according to the search order:

Firstly, the kernel searches the low memory area for an available region with the specified size.

If searching for low memory fails, the kernel falls back to searching the high memory area for an available region of the specified size. If the reservation in high memory succeeds, a default size reservation in the low memory will be done. Currently the default size is 128M, sufficient for the low memory needs of the kdump kernel.

Note: crashkernel=size is the recommended option for crashkernel kernel reservations. The user would not need to know the system memory layout for a specific platform.

3) crashkernel=size,high crashkernel=size,low

crashkernel=size,(high|low) are an important supplement to crashkernel=size. They allows the user to specify how much memory needs to be allocated from the high memory and low memory respectively. On many systems the low memory is precious and crashkernel reservations from this area should be kept to a minimum.

To reserve memory for crashkernel=size,high, searching is first attempted from the high memory region. If the reservation succeeds, the low memory reservation will be done subsequently.

If reservation from the high memory failed, the kernel falls back to searching the low memory with the specified size in crashkernel=,high. If it succeeds, no further reservation for low memory is needed.


  • If crashkernel=,low is not specified, the default low memory reservation will be done automatically.

  • if crashkernel=0,low is specified, it means that the low memory reservation is omitted intentionally.