"Too many open files" error on Linux/Unix

Issue overview

Because of the relatively low default setting for open files on Linux/Unix servers, "Too many open files" errors can occur. You can resolve this by increasing the ulimit (this is an operating system setting that allows more concurrent files to be open at a given time).


Note: This issue potentially affects any version of xMatters running on Linux/Unix. In particular, we have observed this issue in relation to the logging feature that zips log files after x number of files have been created; however, it may affect other features or processes.

To resolve this issue:

  1. From a bash prompt, check the open file limit by executing the following command:
    ulimit -a
  2. Note the value beside open files.
  3. Set the value to 90000 or unlimited:
    ulimit -n 90000
    ulimit -n unlimited
  4. Verify the change by executing ulimit -a again and examining the open files value.

Note: If you want this change to be permanent, edit your .bashrc file to add a line that executes this command.


Some customers have encountered the following error message when attempting to execute the ulimit command:

-bash: ulimit: open files: cannot modify limit: Operation not permitted

If you encounter this error message, you will need to have your system administrator increase the hard limit for nofile. For example:

  1. Open the following file in a text editor:
  2. Modify or edit the hard limit for nofile as follows, where <user> is the user executing xMatters:
    <user> hard nofile 90000
  3. Re-issue the ulimit -n 90000 command explained in the steps above.

Further information

The following Oracle installation documentation contains more information about the ulimit settings: http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E11882_01/install.112/e24321/pre_install.htm


xMatters internal reference: DTN-2781, XFO-1200

JDN-2982: Originally created by Cameron Stewart

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