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From Mark Rose <>
Subject Re: My cluster shows high system load without any apparent reason
Date Fri, 22 Jul 2016 19:00:37 GMT
Hi Garo,

Are you using XFS or Ext4 for data? XFS is much better at deleting
large files, such as may happen after a compaction. If you have 26 TB
in just two tables, I bet you have some massive sstables which may
take a while for Ext4 to delete, which may be causing the stalls. The
underlying block layers will not show high IO-wait. See if the stall
times line up with large compactions in system.log.

If you must use Ext4, another way to avoid issues with massive
sstables is to run more, smaller instances.

As an aside, for the amount of reads/writes you're doing, I've found
using c3/m3 instances with the commit log on the ephemeral storage and
data on st1 EBS volumes to be much more cost effective. It's something
to look into if you haven't already.


On Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 8:10 AM, Juho Mäkinen <> wrote:
> After a few days I've also tried disabling Linux kernel huge pages
> defragement (echo never > /sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/defrag) and
> turning coalescing off (otc_coalescing_strategy: DISABLED), but either did
> do any good. I'm using LCS, there are no big GC pauses, and I have set
> "concurrent_compactors: 5" (machines have 16 CPUs), but there are usually
> not any compactions running when the load spike comes. "nodetool tpstats"
> shows no running thread pools except on the Native-Transport-Requests
> (usually 0-4) and perhaps ReadStage (usually 0-1).
> The symptoms are the same: after about 12-24 hours increasingly number of
> nodes start to show short CPU load spikes and this affects the median read
> latencies. I ran a dstat when a load spike was already under way (see
> screenshot, but any other column than the
> load itself doesn't show any major change except the system/kernel CPU
> usage.
> All further ideas how to debug this are greatly appreciated.
> On Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 7:13 PM, Juho Mäkinen <>
> wrote:
>> I just recently upgraded our cluster to 2.2.7 and after turning the
>> cluster under production load the instances started to show high load (as
>> shown by uptime) without any apparent reason and I'm not quite sure what
>> could be causing it.
>> We are running on i2.4xlarge, so we have 16 cores, 120GB of ram, four
>> 800GB SSDs (set as lvm stripe into one big lvol). Running 3.13.0-87-generic
>> on HVM virtualisation. Cluster has 26 TiB of data stored in two tables.
>> Symptoms:
>>  - High load, sometimes up to 30 for a short duration of few minutes, then
>> the load drops back to the cluster average: 3-4
>>  - Instances might have one compaction running, but might not have any
>> compactions.
>>  - Each node is serving around 250-300 reads per second and around 200
>> writes per second.
>>  - Restarting node fixes the problem for around 18-24 hours.
>>  - No or very little IO-wait.
>>  - top shows that around 3-10 threads are running on high cpu, but that
>> alone should not cause a load of 20-30.
>>  - Doesn't seem to be GC load: A system starts to show symptoms so that it
>> has ran only one CMS sweep. Not like it would do constant stop-the-world
>> gc's.
>>  - top shows that the C* processes use 100G of RSS memory. I assume that
>> this is because cassandra opens all SSTables with mmap() so that they will
>> pop up in the RSS count because of this.
>> What I've done so far:
>>  - Rolling restart. Helped for about one day.
>>  - Tried doing manual GC to the cluster.
>>  - Increased heap from 8 GiB with CMS to 16 GiB with G1GC.
>>  - sjk-plus shows bunch of SharedPool workers. Not sure what to make of
>> this.
>>  - Browsed over
>> but didn't
>> find any apparent
>> I know that the general symptom of "system shows high load" is not very
>> good and informative, but I don't know how to better describe what's going
>> on. I appreciate all ideas what to try and how to debug this further.
>>  - Garo

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