Debugging After A Solaris System Was P2V’ed

Mar 03, 2010 | 5 minutes read
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Tags: memory, Debug, Processus

I recently faced a problem where an application stop working after transferring a system from an old Sun E450 running Solaris 8 to a more recent Sun Fire V490 running Solaris 10 10/09 with the Solaris 8 Container software stack. Although all went smooth during the P2V, and most of all applications runs pretty well in the non-global zone, we encounter a problem where the Courier SMTP product didn't answer anymore to remote connections, such as:

# telnet localhost 25
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
Connection closed by foreign host.

The fact is, the couriertcpd program is running, and listening to the TCP port number 25.

# pfiles `pgrep couriertcpd | head -1`
5691:   /usr/lib/courier/sbin/couriertcpd
  Current rlimit: 1024 file descriptors
   5: S_IFSOCK mode:0666 dev:366,0 ino:62871 uid:0 gid:0 size:0
        sockname: AF_INET  port: 25

Interestingly, here is what is logged by the Courier application:

# grep /path/to/Courier.log
XXX courieresmtpd: [ID 702911] gdbm fatal: couldn't init cache

The problem seems located around the gdbm library which is a dependency of Courier. So, what happened when we try to initiate a direct connection using telnet on port 25:

# truss -alef -rall -wall -p 5691
5691/1:         fork()                                          = 245
245/1:          fork()          (returning as child ...)        = 5691
245/1:          brk(0x004136D8)                                 = 0
245/1:          brk(0x004136D8)                                 = 0
245/1:          brk(0x004336D8)                                 Err#12 ENOMEM
245/1:          write(2, " g d b m   f a t a l :  ", 12)        = 12
245/1:          write(2, 0xFF2D4D28, 19)                        = 19
245/1:             c o u l d n ' t   i n i t   c a c h e
245/1:          write(2, "
", 1)                               = 1
245/1:          llseek(0, 0, SEEK_CUR)                          = 0
245/1:          _exit(-1)
5691/1:             Received signal #18, SIGCLD, in poll() [caught]
# echo "ibase=16; `echo 004136D8 | tr [:lower:] [:upper:]`" | bc
# echo "ibase=16; `echo 004336D8 | tr [:lower:] [:upper:]`" | bc

Ok. The brk(2) function is used to change dynamically the amount of space allocated for the calling process's data segment. So, the process which PID is 245, forked from couriertcpd, can not allocate more than 4273880 bytes since a try to allocate 4404952 bytes return an error. When the brk(2) function fails, it is generally due to one of these two major cases:

  1. Insufficient space exists in the swap area to support the expansion.
  2. The data segment size limit as set by setrlimit(2) would be exceeded.

At first, we decided to grow the size of the swap space in the global zone from 4GB to 8GB (since there is no resource control on memory for this non-global zone). As it is a full-ZFS Solaris 10 system, here are the steps to do so:

# swap -d /dev/zvol/dsk/rpool/swap
# zfs set volsize=8G rpool/swap
# /sbin/swapadd
# swap -l
swapfile             dev  swaplo blocks   free
/dev/zvol/dsk/rpool/swap 256,2      16 16777200 16777200

But nothing change from the couriertcpd point of view, as we may have thought since we were able to deallocate the entire swap device from the global zone. So, we shrink it back using the same steps as for growing it. Then, is it possible we have reached an upper resource limitation?

The couriertcpd is executed under the daemon identity: what are the maximum size of data segment (or heap) for the daemon account:

# su - daemon -c "ulimit -Sd; ulimit -Hd"

This seems more than sufficient, not to say more. But what are the real current limitation for the running process?

# plimit -k 5691
5691:   /usr/lib/courier/sbin/couriertcpd
   resource              current         maximum
  time(seconds)         unlimited       unlimited
  file(kbytes)          unlimited       unlimited
  data(kbytes)          4096            4096
  stack(kbytes)         8192            unlimited
  coredump(kbytes)      unlimited       unlimited
  nofiles(descriptors)  1024            1024
  vmemory(kbytes)       unlimited       unlimited

Ok. One can argue that the 4404952 bytes size is very close to the 4096KB (4194304 bytes) data size limitation... and yes, it is. The two points here are the fact that the limitation is close to memory allocation size for sure, and that there must be some settings somewhere which sets this resource limitation since we verified it is not a the account level (the current hard limit is set to 4096KB, thus not very unlimited). So, we tried to set the resource limit for the running process to much higher value, and voila:

# plimit -d 65536,65536 5691
# telnet localhost 25
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
220 S0003010 ESMTP
221 Bye.
Connection closed by foreign host.

Well, all seems far better this time:

# truss -alef -rall -wall -p 5691
5691/1:         fork()                                          = 4861
4861/1:          fork()          (returning as child ...)        = 5691
4861/1:         brk(0x00CF36D8)                                 = 0
4861/1:         lseek(6, 262144, SEEK_SET)                      = 262144
4861/1:         read(6, 0x00071730, 131072)                     = 131072
# echo "ibase=16; `echo 00CF36D8 | tr [:lower:] [:upper:]`" | bc

So, now the memory allocation succeed at changing the space allocated up to 13579992 bytes (13262KB). We decided to set the data segment size up to 16MB, which seems to be sufficient in our case.

We now need to find the configuration responsible for setting the size of the data segment size to 4096KB. Looking at the courier documentation, and and after a bit of digging on the system itself we found the responsible configuration file, and adapt it as follow:

# grep ULIMIT= /usr/lib/courier/etc/esmtpd

As a last validation, we made a complete reboot of the non-global zone to verify the overall behavior, which is OK right now. As a last word, it was very interesting problem to fight with, but I didn't understand until now why 4MB was sufficient on an old Sun E450, and why it is not in a branded Solaris 8 non-global zone... comments welcome.