What filesystem are you using? You might try EXT3 or 4 vs. XFS as another area of diversity. It sounds as if the page cache or filesystem is messed up. Are there any clues in /var/log/messages? How much swap space do you have configured?

The kernel level debug stuff I know is all for Solaris unfortunately…


From: Dan Hendry <dan.hendry.junk@gmail.com>
Reply-To: "user@cassandra.apache.org" <user@cassandra.apache.org>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2010 12:13:56 -0800
To: "user@cassandra.apache.org" <user@cassandra.apache.org>
Subject: RE: Severe Reliability Problems - 0.7 RC2

Yes, I have tried that (although only twice). Same impact as a regular kill: nothing happens and I get no stacktrace output. It is however on my list of things to try again the next time a node dies. I am also not able to attach jstack to the process.


I have also tried disabling JNA (did not help) and I have now changed disk_access_mode from auto to mmap_index_only on two of the nodes.




From: Kani [mailto:javier.canillas@gmail.com]
Sent: December-20-10 14:14
To: user@cassandra.apache.org
Subject: Re: Severe Reliability Problems - 0.7 RC2


Have you tried to send a KILL -3 to the Cassandra process before you send KILL -9? This way you will see what the threads are doing (and maybe blocking). The majority of the threads may give you the right spot where to look for the problem.


I'm not much of a good linux administrator, but when something goes weird on one of my own application (java running over linux box) i tried that command to see what the application was doing or trying to.



On Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 3:48 PM, Dan Hendry <dan.hendry.junk@gmail.com> wrote:

I have been having severe and strange reliability problems within my Cassandra cluster. This weekend, all four of my nodes were down at once. Even now I am loosing one every few hours. I have attached output from all the system monitoring commands I can think of.


What seems to happen is that the java process locks up and sits and has 100% system cpu usage (but no user-CPU) (there are 8 cores so 100%=1/8 total capacity). JMX freezes and the node effectively dies, but there is typically nothing unusual in the Cassandra logs. About the only thing which seems to be correlated is the flushing of memtables tables. One of the strangest stats I am getting when in this state is memory paging: 3727168.00 pages scanned/second (see sar -B output). Occasionally, if I leave the process alone (~1 h) it recovers (maybe 1 in 5 times), otherwise the only way to terminate the Cassandra process is with a kill -9. When this happens, Cassandra memory usage (as reported by JMX before it dies) is also reasonable (ex 6 GB out of 12 GB heap and 24 GB system). 


This feels more like a system level problem than a Cassandra problem so I have tried diversifying my cluster, one node runs Ubuntu 10.10, the other three 10.04. One runs OpenJDK (1.6.0_20), the rest run Sun JDK (1.6.0_22). Neither change seems be correlated with the problem. These are pretty much stock ubuntu installs so nothing special on that front.


Now this has been a relatively sudden development and I can potentially attribute it to a few things:

1. Upgrading to RC2 

2. Ever increasing amounts of data (there is less than 100 gb per node so this should not be the problem).

3. Migrating from a set of machines where data+commit log directories were on four small raid 5 hds to machines with two 500 gig drives: one for data and one for commitlog + os. I have seen more IO wait on these new machines. But they have the same memory and system settings.


I am about at my wits end on this one, any help would be appreciated. 


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