Linux settings for high load systems

There are a few basic settings you have to adjust for high load systems to make sure the server have enough resources to handle big number of network connections. The main parameter is a maximum number of opened files allowed for the process to keep at the same time. Each network connection uses a file handler therefore if the limit is too low you can quickly run out of handlers and the server can not accept any more connections. This limit is set on 2 levels - on the kernel level (fs.file-max) and on the system level (nofile). Another kernel property which can be important in certain configurations (like transports installations or when you use proxy for Bosh connections) is: net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range. This parameter can be set the same way as the fs.file-max property.

fs.file-max

The fs.file-max kernel property is set via sysctl command. You can see current settings executing command:

# sysctl fs.file-max
fs.file-max = 358920

If you plan to run high load service with big number of server connections then this parameter should be at least as twice big as the number of network connections you expect to support. You can change this setting executing command:

# sysctl -w fs.file-max=360000
fs.file-max = 360000

net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range

You can see current settings executing command:

# sysctl net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range
net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range = 32768	61000

You can change this setting executing command:

# sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range="1024 65000"
net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range = 1024 65000

TCP_keepalive

According to http://blog.kolargol.eu/2006/06/tcpkeepalive.html or http://www.gnugk.org/keepalive.html some keepalive settings should be changed to improve reliability.

# sysctl -w net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time="60"
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time = 60
# sysctl -w net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_probes="3"
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_probes = 3
# sysctl -w net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_intvl="90"
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_intvl = 90

/etc/sysctl.conf

Above commands let the system remember new settings until the next system restart. If you want to make the change permanent you have to edit file: /etc/sysctl.conf and add the property at the end of the file:

fs.file-max=360000
net.ipv4.ip_local_port_range=1024 65000
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_time=60
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_probes=3
net.ipv4.tcp_keepalive_intvl=90

It will be automatically loaded next time you start the server. Command:

# sysctl -p

Causes the /etc/systcl.conf to be reloaded which is useful when you added more parameters to the file and don't want to restart the server.

nofile

This is the property used by the system limits. For example running the command ulimit -a shows you all limits set for the current user:

# ulimit -a
core file size          (blocks, -c) 0
data seg size           (kbytes, -d) unlimited
file size               (blocks, -f) unlimited
pending signals                 (-i) 38912
max locked memory       (kbytes, -l) 32
max memory size         (kbytes, -m) unlimited
open files                      (-n) 40960
pipe size            (512 bytes, -p) 8
POSIX message queues     (bytes, -q) 819200
stack size              (kbytes, -s) 8192
cpu time               (seconds, -t) unlimited
max user processes              (-u) 38912
virtual memory          (kbytes, -v) unlimited
file locks                      (-x) unlimited

To make it even more interesting and more complex there are 2 types of system limits: soft limit which can be temporarily exceeded by the user and hard limit which can not be exceeded. To see your hard limit execute command:

# ulimit -a -H
core file size          (blocks, -c) unlimited
data seg size           (kbytes, -d) unlimited
file size               (blocks, -f) unlimited
pending signals                 (-i) 38912
max locked memory       (kbytes, -l) 32
max memory size         (kbytes, -m) unlimited
open files                      (-n) 40960
pipe size            (512 bytes, -p) 8
POSIX message queues     (bytes, -q) 819200
stack size              (kbytes, -s) unlimited
cpu time               (seconds, -t) unlimited
max user processes              (-u) 38912
virtual memory          (kbytes, -v) unlimited
file locks                      (-x) unlimited

The hard limits are usually bigger then the soft limits or sometimes the same. For us the most important parameter is: open files. You can change the property in file: /etc/security/limits.conf. You have to append 2 following lines to the end of the file:

jabber               soft    nofile         350000
jabber               hard    nofile         350000

Where the jabber is the user name of the account running you IM service. You can also set the limits for all users on the machine in a following way:

*               soft    nofile         350000
*               hard    nofile         350000

For those changes to make an effect you have to logout from the modified account and login again. New limits should be applied.

 

su and init script

If one intends to use init scripts for startup purposes (or simply wants to be able to start the server utilizing su command it's necessary to adjust PAM configuration by modifying /etc/pam.d/su file and uncomment following line:

session    required   pam_limits.so

Afterwards that init scripts will respect configured limits.

 

 

Comments

hi,
I want to know that if Tigase Server could close an idle TCP connection by configuration or by some other ways while the client is online but send no messages ? TCP keep alive scheme seems not the way to solve this problem but the way to close TCP connection when client if offline.

Please ask questions on the forums. Article comments are for commenting content of the article or ask questions related directly to the article.

Tigase does not close idle TCP/IP connections and there is no configuration option for this. The whole point for XMPP is that users are always connected to the server, and the connections are idle for most of the time.
The main and huge advantage of XMPP over HTTP is that people are always online and we can push information to users whenever there is something they may want to receive.