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Old 08-22-2008, 11:23 AM   #1
Registered: Aug 2006
Location: England Somewhere
Distribution: Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, Karoshi, Suse, Redhat, Ubuntu
Posts: 518

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Question Curious about open file handlers and pipes with a past problem

Hi All,
Just wondering as i had a problem a few months ago now where an apache server wouldn't serve pages or gave to many open files errors. The problem ended up being the way we use virtualhosts, and adding more virtualhosts meant more pipes and files are opened because we had a few errorloging set-ups inside each virtualhost file to go to a separate location thus ended up exhausting the servers limits and thus received the errors. That was on one box of many that are all basically the same...

virtualhost log setting:-
ErrorLog /usr/local/apache2/logs/error_log_blah
CustomLog "|/usr/local/apache2/bin/rotatelogs /usr/local/apache2/logs/error_log_blahfoo 86400" common

This set-up as well as other stuff but this is all that relevant to the post is in every virtualhost file on each server all pointing to a error log of its own (each virtualhost has its own error log) and then obviously a huge bundle of virtualhosts therefore where the large number of openfiles or pipes gets caused.

That one box was a 2.6x kernel and now today another box has had the same trouble which it didn't have before after adding a few more virtualhosts to these servers...all have the same number...and this is a 2.4 kernel box(please no comments about WTF upgrade your kernel (I KNOW!!!!)).

And again some of the other boxes are still functioning fine with these extra virtualhosts added and the rest are already 2.6x kernels.

The question is:
1. why was it that a 2.6 kernel box first experienced the problem before the 2.4x kernel version box and then why is it the other 2.6x kernel version servers are all still ok????

2. Is there a way i can tell if the problem is to many opened pipes or files for sure one way or the other? i know all about file-max and file-nr but increasing the values here if i remember made no real difference hence why i think its more to do with to many open pipes.

3. Same as above really but i want to know how close to the limits the boxes are getting that are still functioning OK....and find out what the limits are as to why boxes of the same spec are not experiencing the same problems yet...Therefore i want to know how to find out the limit of what might be causing the problem and also what each box is currently at in terms of how close its getting to those limits.

Hope someone can help,
Thanks and Regards

Last edited by helptonewbie; 08-22-2008 at 11:27 AM.
Old 08-27-2008, 04:49 AM   #2
Registered: Aug 2006
Location: England Somewhere
Distribution: Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, Karoshi, Suse, Redhat, Ubuntu
Posts: 518

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 39
Also when i had this problem i did find this page..
and i made the tweaks it suggests as this was exactly the problem i had...however changing the limits made no difference at all and Apache still failed to work as it should, which suggests to me that there is another limit being hit or this message in the Apache doc's is now obsolete... as both hard and soft limits were increased to way above the limits that were previously in operation...and yet other servers are still set at the same limits and still functioning fine which also suggests this may not have been the actual problem...does anyone know more????


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