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Investigate file descriptor issues

2014-11-07 2 min read Ronny Trommer

If you run a centralized monitoring system in large environment you can run in some issues regarding file descriptor limits. Linux gives you very detailed information in the kernel control and information center in /proc. The soft and hard limits have effect for file and network sockets, which can end up in a too many files open exception in OpenNMS.

The default values for soft and hard limits can be checked with

ulimit -a
ulimit -a -H

The value is per user and each new process inherits these limits. OpenNMS changes the hard limit during the start with the default init script and changes with

ulimit -n 20480

from normally 4096 to 20480. You can change this value by adding the following line to your /etc/opennms/opennms.conf.


If you start OpenNMS you can see the limits for the OpenNMS JVM with

cat /proc/$(cat /var/run/

You can see how much file descriptors OpenNMS has allocated with:

ls -l /proc/$(cat /var/run/ | wc -l

If you use lsof with the process id of OpenNMS you will see a larger number than in /proc/pid/fd

lsof -p $(cat /var/run/ | wc -l

The reason is memory mapped .so files are listed and don’t count for the configured limits and are listed with lsof.

lsof | grep $(cat /var/run/ | wc -l

If you want to see how many filesystem handles OpenNMS uses, you can run:

cat /proc/sys/fs/file-nr
4128	0	262144

you can see three values:

number of allocated file handles: 4128
number of used file handles:      0
maximum number of file handles:   262144