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INFO: task blocked for more than 120 seconds.

When running some high workloads on UEK kernels on systems with a lot of memory you might see the following errors in /var/log/messages:


INFO: task bonnie++:31785 blocked for more than 120 seconds.
"echo 0 > /proc/sys/kernel/hung_task_timeout_secs" disables this message.
bonnie++      D ffff810009004420     0 31785  11051               11096 (NOTLB)
ffff81021c771aa8 0000000000000082 ffff81103e62ccc0 ffffffff88031cb3
ffff810ac94cd6c0 0000000000000007 ffff810220347820 ffffffff80310b60
00016803dfd77991 00000000001312ee ffff810220347a08 0000000000000001
Call Trace:
[<ffffffff88031cb3>] :jbd:do_get_write_access+0x4f9/0x530
[<ffffffff800ce675>] zone_statistics+0x3e/0x6d
[<ffffffff88032002>] :jbd:start_this_handle+0x2e5/0x36c
[<ffffffff800a28b4>] autoremove_wake_function+0x0/0x2e
[<ffffffff88032152>] :jbd:journal_start+0xc9/0x100
[<ffffffff88050362>] :ext3:ext3_write_begin+0x9a/0x1cc
[<ffffffff8000fda3>] generic_file_buffered_write+0x14b/0x675
[<ffffffff80016679>] __generic_file_aio_write_nolock+0x369/0x3b6
[<ffffffff80021850>] generic_file_aio_write+0x65/0xc1
[<ffffffff8804c1b6>] :ext3:ext3_file_write+0x16/0x91
[<ffffffff800182df>] do_sync_write+0xc7/0x104
[<ffffffff800a28b4>] autoremove_wake_function+0x0/0x2e
[<ffffffff80062ff0>] thread_return+0x62/0xfe
[<ffffffff80016a81>] vfs_write+0xce/0x174
[<ffffffff80017339>] sys_write+0x45/0x6e
[<ffffffff8005d28d>] tracesys+0xd5/0xe0

This is a know bug. By default Linux uses up to 40% of the available memory for file system caching. After this mark has been reached the file system flushes all outstanding data to disk causing all following IOs going synchronous. For flushing out this data to disk this there is a time limit of 120 seconds by default. In the case here the IO subsystem is not fast enough to flush the data withing 120 seconds. This especially happens on systems with a lof of memory.

The problem is solved in later kernels and there is not “fix” from Oracle. I fixed this by lowering the mark for flushing the cache from 40% to 10% by setting “vm.dirty_ratio=10″ in /etc/sysctl.conf. This setting does not influence overall database performance since you hopefully use Direct IO and bypass the file system cache completely.

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  1. June 20th, 2012 at 07:24 | #1

    Thank you very much. It really helped me.

  2. Maurizio Marini
    August 2nd, 2012 at 08:20 | #2

    doing “echo 0 > /proc/sys/kernel/hung_task_timeout_secs” disables this message”
    does disable the message, only, isn’t ?
    it may be things worst, i argue
    what do u suggest about that?

    • Ronny Egner
      August 23rd, 2012 at 10:42 | #3

      Yes it does but the message has a sense…. so disabling is not a good idea.

  3. Andreas Buschka
    September 14th, 2012 at 10:02 | #4

    Thank you, this solved my problem on a busy Enterprise Manager Cloud Control 12c2+Oracle Database system, you are a life saver!

  4. November 5th, 2013 at 10:34 | #5

    Thank you very much!

  5. Alex
    November 15th, 2013 at 09:56 | #6

    Thanks ! This work :-)

  6. Karti
    July 24th, 2014 at 14:01 | #7

    Can you please mention the exact kernel version in which this bug is fixed?

    • Ronny Egner
      August 5th, 2014 at 10:01 | #8

      Hi Kati,

      this is not really a bug. It basically says that the kernel is blocked writing data to disk.

      The solution implemented in new kernels is to lower the “dirty_ratio” parameter down from 40% to a more realistic value like 5 or so.

      You can implement that yourself by setting in your /etc/sysctl.conf the following value:

      # for 5 percent of the whole memory

      and activate it with “sysctl -p”.

  7. oldhorizon
    October 30th, 2014 at 11:19 | #9

    Hi Ronny,

    I am facing this issue on 2.6.39-300.17.3.el6uek.x86_64 kernel. The default dirty_ratio is

    vm.dirty_ratio = 20

    would it help if I reduce it to 10 or 5 ?

    • Ronny Egner
      November 19th, 2014 at 14:12 | #10


      yes, very likely. You also want to use Direct IO wherere possible to bypass the file system cache.

  8. Michael Lush
    February 10th, 2015 at 14:56 | #11

    When you said “The problem is solved in later kernels” back in 2011 how much later were on Ubuntu 12.04 with kernal 3.8 and are having this issue.

    • Ronny Egner
      February 17th, 2015 at 14:36 | #12

      Then you either want to use Direct I/O or lower the value of vm.dirty_ratio (e.g. to 1) to have less data to flush….

  1. August 4th, 2012 at 21:17 | #1
  2. September 7th, 2012 at 06:41 | #2
  3. October 5th, 2012 at 08:33 | #3
  4. November 5th, 2013 at 10:39 | #4
  5. February 27th, 2014 at 05:14 | #5