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From Robert Samuel Newson <>
Subject Re: Error during compaction
Date Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:25:57 GMT

That’s encouraging! This must mean that the crash occurs when the compactor is reading attachment
data for a 'losing' conflict? Hmm.

I’m going to discuss the next step with other couch devs. In the meantime, can you replicate
this database to a new local database? If that completes successfully then you’ve implicitly
compacted the database anyway (though with a new name). I’m curious to know if it will work.
I’d expect it to fail the same way the compactor does, and for the same reason (attempting
to copy some needed item from the source that is in some way unreadable or corrupt).


On 28 Jan 2014, at 11:20, Igor Klimer <> wrote:

> Finally managed to run _changes and _all_docs last night. It seems that the calls.. succeeded.
> I've run:
> curl localhost:5984/ecrepo/_changes?include_docs=true 2>out && curl localhost:5984/ecrepo/_all_docs?include_docs=true
> In the out files are only statistics from curl:
> out:
> out2:
> I've actually run this twice, since the first time I redirected stdout to /dev/null (thinking
that the error would pop up in the couchdb logs). The second time I left the stdout alone
to see if the response ends in some kind of error/abruptly, here are the last few lines from
both calls:
> Everything looks ok to me - the last lines complete the JSON structure. Judging from
this, the docs themselves are all ok, only one(-ish) of the attachment is "bad"? (almost every
document in the database has an attachment, a tiff image, with it).
> Best regards,
> Igor Klimer
> ________________________________________
> Od: Igor Klimer []
> Wysłano: 24 stycznia 2014 08:57
> Do:
> Temat: Re: Error during compaction
> Yes, currently it's 1.5.0.
> I meant to run _changes and _all_docs last night, but there was some other maintenance
tasks scheduled. I'll definitely do it during the weekend and report back.
> Best regards,
> Igor Klimer
> ________________________________________
> Od: Robert Samuel Newson []
> Wysłano: 23 stycznia 2014 19:28
> Do: user
> Temat: Re: Error during compaction
> Understood on access to the file but I figured I should ask.
> The simplest thing will be a small patch to print out the values that CouchDB expected
to match but did not. Remind which exact CouchDB version you are running? I think you said
you’re up to 1.5.0 now.
> B.
> On 23 Jan 2014, at 15:37, Igor Klimer <> wrote:
>> Well, if you put it that way, then yes, (potential) database corruption does seem
like something you might be interested in ;)
>> As far as I can tell, there weren't any options set that could affect fsyncing, in
fact there was hardly any customization done at all. Here are the config files from the Windows
machine (since that's where the corruption occurred):
>> default.ini:
>> local.ini:
>> I've checked http://localhost:5984/_utils/config.html and delayed_commits is set
to true (since that's the default).
>> Parity checking the RAID seems like a good idea, but from what the admins are telling
me, they'd need to take it offline, so I want to exhaust other possibilities before that.
>> So for now, I'll try checking the DB in the way you suggested:
>> curl localhost:5984/dbname/_changes?include_docs=true
>> curl localhost:5984/dbname/_all_docs?include_docs=true
>> And then (if it succeeds) I'll try to recover the database using the recover-couchdb
>> As for receiving a copy of the database - as a programmer I understand how that'd
help you investigate this issue, but it seems that "the powers that be" aren't so understanding.
Even if your software is at the core of their enterprise... But I'm more than willing to compile/run
any debug builds you throw at me or learn some basic Erlang debugging if that'd help finding
the core of this issue.
>> Best regards,
>> Igor Klimer
>> ________________________________________
>> Od: Robert Samuel Newson []
>> Wysłano: 23 stycznia 2014 15:40
>> Do: user
>> Temat: Re: Error during compaction
>> Database corruption is not esoteric, we take it very seriously. :)
>> Yes, strictly append only (opened with O_APPEND in posix land, not sure what the
equivalent is for Win). This doesn’t stop hardware failure from mangling earlier bits, of
course. You have RAID-5, so you have a parity stripe, perhaps you could force a parity check?
Abrupt shutdown or hitting end of disk should do no more than cause unflushed updates to be
lost, nothing fsync’ed() prior to that should be at risk, by design. Are you running with
delayed_commits equal true or false? The difference is that we fsync immediately or at up
to a one second delay. In neither case do we omit to make fsync() calls before and after writing
each new database footer. There are config options to disable those fsync calls, please let
us know if you did that (your local.ini file will tell you).
>> So, the two causes of true corruption would be 1) a bug in our code and 2) disk corruption
or failure to honor fsync() and/or write ordering. Obviously we’re very interested in any
occurrence of type 1.
>> A few things to try to confirm that your database is ok but not compactable (which
would be hard to explain)
>> curl localhost:5984/dbname/_changes?include_docs=true
>> curl localhost:5984/dbname/_all_docs?include_docs=true
>> Let us know if those complete without error (or the errors if there are any).
>> Finally, would it be possible for the CouchDB development team (or a subset) to receive
a copy of the database file for forensic investigation? I believe we can sign NDA’s and
the like if that helps.
>> B.
>> On 23 Jan 2014, at 13:54, Igor Klimer <> wrote:
>>> No problem - I'm sure that you have more then enough on your plate without users
pestering you with such esoteric problems ;)
>>> As for the I/O subsystem - on the lowest level it's a couple of RAID5 matrices.
Then, there is a Windows Server 2008 managing that and some virtual servers (via Hyper-V),
including both of the machines that we had the database on (Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
 and now Ubuntu 12 LTS). I was assured that the matrices have been running rock-solid since
the moment they've been setup and didn't exhibit any hardware failures. However, the servers
could have been abruptly shut down, for example when it run out of free disk space. While
NTFS should recover from something like that, I wonder if there isn't a corner case that would
cause some database corruption (like you're suggesting).
>>> Thanks for the recover-couchdb script - I'll try to give it a go ASAP. We do
have backups, but I don't think they are helpful in this case - the database as a whole is
working, we don't have any reports of missing files or not working documents. It would be
interesting to inspect the backups to see when and, more interestingly, what happened. You
mentioned that the database format is strictly append only, so the corruption shouldn't "move"
and the "old"/early parts of the database file shouldn't change? Still, that seems like a
really time consuming task, so for now I'll try to give the recovery script a go.
>>> Thanks again for your help and best regards,
>>> Igor Klimer
>>> ________________________________________
>>> Od: Robert Samuel Newson []
>>> Wysłano: 23 stycznia 2014 13:52
>>> Do: user
>>> Temat: Re: Error during compaction
>>> Hi,
>>> Sorry, in turn, for not replying sooner. I’m not really sure what to suggest,
it does sound like the database file is corrupt, which is quite hard to do with our strictly
append only format. The only oddities here are the use of Windows (and, presumably, NTFS?)
and the fact that you did hit end of disk. I’ve not observed corruption when hitting end
of disk on other OS/FS combinations, though. Do you happen to know any details of your I/O
subsystem that might provide a hint? Could any of the disks themselves have suffered block
failures that couldn’t be corrected by disk firmware? Bit flips?Would your disk controller
lie about fsync() calls?
>>> Those questions will help us figure out how the corruption occurs, but it obviously
doesn’t help you fix it. For that, beyond hoping you have backups, I suggest trying
(perhaps Jason can chip in with how likely this is to still work, given the age). If that
doesn’t extract all your data, then the only other suggestion I have is to truncate the
database file until it can compact, but this necessarily means losing data.
>>> Do other developers have other suggestions here?
>>> B.
>>> On 21 Jan 2014, at 09:08, Igor Klimer <> wrote:
>>>> Hi,
>>>> I'm extremely sorry for not replying sooner, however I was on sick leave
last week.
>>>> I've tried your suggestion with an empty .compact file, however the results
seem to be the same...
>>>> Log:
>>>> Started with an empty ecrepo.couch.compact file (touch ecrepo.couch.compact),
then after about 3 hours, the error was printed in the logs and the compaction failed:
>>>> -rw-r--r-- 1 couchdb couchdb 137502523517 Jan 21 09:51 ecrepo.couch
>>>> -rw-r--r-- 1 couchdb couchdb  51692612367 Jan 21 02:07 ecrepo.couch.compact
>>>> There's over 100GB free space available on the disk.
>>>> At least I think I know what the number 51692471440 in log means ;) But I
don't know if there's a way to check which document resides at that position in file.
>>>> Best regards,
>>>> Igor Klimer
>>>> ________________________________________
>>>> Od: Robert Samuel Newson []
>>>> Wysłano: 10 stycznia 2014 18:45
>>>> Do: user
>>>> Temat: Re: Error during compaction
>>>> Yes, I understood. The empty .compact file will trigger more checking in
the compaction process, I’m hoping it gets us past the problem.
>>>> B.
>>>> On 10 Jan 2014, at 13:34, Igor Klimer <> wrote:
>>>>> :)
>>>>> Just to clarify - the .compact file is getting created and then the compaction
fails after some time (an hour or more):
>>>>> 1) attempt on Windows with Couchdb 1.2.0 it failed because insufficient
disk space. The .compact file had at least 10GB, unfortunately, I don't remember how much
(and whether it was bigger then the one produced in the later attempts). There was no free
disk space when it failed, so I'm assuming that was the cause.
>>>>> 2) attempt on Windows with Couchdb 1.2.0 it failed with the error mentioned
below. The .compact file had around 50GB, there was plenty of free space left on the disk.
>>>>> 3) attempt on Ubuntu with Couchdb 1.5.0 it failed with the error mentioned
below. The .compact file had around 50GB, there was plenty of free space left on the disk,
and judging from the numbers present in the log (ids? node numbers?) it failed at the same
moment as attempt #2.
>>>>> Just wanted to make sure we're on the same page :) Do you still want
me to try it with an empty .compact file? (I can do this only during night hours, since I
don't want to put too much load on the server during working hours)
>>>>> Best regards,
>>>>> Igor Klimer
>>>>> ________________________________________
>>>>> Od: Robert Samuel Newson []
>>>>> Wysłano: 10 stycznia 2014 14:03
>>>>> Do: user
>>>>> Temat: Re: Error during compaction
>>>>> Hrm, strike one. Ok. Next thing to try is subtly different. stop couchdb,
delete the .compact file, but then make a new, empty .compact file (so ’touch /path/to/dbname.compact’),
start couchdb and compact.
>>>>> B.
>>>>> On 10 Jan 2014, at 12:42, Igor Klimer <> wrote:
>>>>>> Yes, I've already done that after the very fist attempt at compaction
(the one that failed because of lack of disk space). And it resulted in the second fail (on
Windows), then the same on Linux - I always deleted the incomplete (about 50% of the database,
around 50GB) .compact file before running the compaction again. So I was always doing compaction
from scratch.
>>>>>> Best regards,
>>>>>> Igor Klimer
>>>>>> ________________________________________
>>>>>> Od: Robert Samuel Newson []
>>>>>> Wysłano: 10 stycznia 2014 13:08
>>>>>> Do: user
>>>>>> Temat: Re: Error during compaction
>>>>>> Thanks! that’s very useful. Hitting end of disk certainly feels
like a cause here. Since the compaction has never completed, I suggest we redo compaction
from scratch.
>>>>>> 1) stop couchdb
>>>>>> 2) delete (or move aside) the dbname.compact file for this database
>>>>>> 3) start couchdb
>>>>>> 4) compact the db
>>>>>> Whether it works or not, please let us know.
>>>>>> B.
>>>>>> On 10 Jan 2014, at 08:25, Igor Klimer <>
>>>>>>>> Given that you’re at 100Gb and compacting for the first
time, can you tell us if you were running on older couchdb versions that 1.2.0 between db
creation and today?
>>>>>>> No, we've been running 1.2.0 from the start (around Oct 2012),
then switched to Ubuntu and 1.5.0.
>>>>>>>> Do you have free disk space?
>>>>>>> Yes, there's about 150% of the DB's size worth of free space
:) I forgot to mention ("OK, here we go, the user will confess to some sin he committed and
is ashamed of and is most likely the reason for this failure") that we've run the compaction
once before the error on Windows I mentioned below, but it failed because of insufficient
disk space - so I double checked before running the compaction again if there's enough space.
Here's the log, if it's any helpful:
>>>>>>> Do you think it could have left the database in some corrupted
state? It seems it failed at a different part then the two next attempts (and, as far as I
understand, compaction is just copying over the database while pruning the old revisions and
deleted documents).
>>>>>>> Thank you for your time and help and best regards,
>>>>>>> Igor Klimer
>>>>>>> ________________________________________
>>>>>>> Od: Robert Samuel Newson []
>>>>>>> Wysłano: 9 stycznia 2014 17:13
>>>>>>> Do: user
>>>>>>> Temat: Re: Error during compaction
>>>>>>> Do you have free disk space?
>>>>>>> On 9 Jan 2014, at 15:25, Robert Samuel Newson <>
>>>>>>>> Given that you’re at 100Gb and compacting for the first
time, can you tell us if you were running on older couchdb versions that 1.2.0 between db
creation and today?
>>>>>>>> B.
>>>>>>>> On 9 Jan 2014, at 14:39, Igor Klimer <>
>>>>>>>>> Hi all,
>>>>>>>>> I've stumbled upon a peculiar problem while trying to
compact (for the first time) a large(-ish) database (~100GB at that time). At about 50% it
failed with this error:
>>>>>>>>> This is from Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with Couchdb
>>>>>>>>> I figured that it might be a bug in the Windows build
(Erlang on Windows? C'mon, that can't be good ;)) or already fixed in a newer version. Some
time later we migrated the server to a Linux box running Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.8.0-33-generic
x86_64) and update Couchdb to 1.5.0.
>>>>>>>>> Unfortunately, the same error occurred:
>>>>>>>>> I've tried wrapping my head around that error, googling
it, checking this mail list but to no avail :) So if anyone can give me any pointers as to
what might be causing this problem, I'd be very grateful.
>>>>>>>>> Best regards,
>>>>>>>>> Igor Klimer
>>>>>>>>> (sorry for the footer that will probably follow, unfortunately
it's added for all outgoing external mail...)
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