Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Setting up a Red Hat Linux Server for Crashdump

Kdump refers to crash dump. It allows a dedicated kernel to activate if the server crashes.

Configure the amount of memory to be reserved for the kdump kernel

Edit /boot/grub/grub.conf. Add add crashkernel=<size>M or crashkernel=auto to the end of the kernel line for the active kernel.

Note that the crashkernel=auto option only reserves the memory if the physical memory of the system is equal to or greater than:
  • 2 GB on 32-bit and 64-bit x86 architectures;
  • 2 GB on PowerPC if the page size is 4 KB, or 8 GB otherwise;
  • 4 GB on IBM S/390.

Edit /etc/kdump.conf

The core dump can be either stored as a file in a local file system, written directly to a device, or sent over a network using the NFS (Network File System) or SSH (Secure Shell) protocol. By default, the vmcore file is stored in the /var/crash/ directory of the local file system. To change this, as root, edit the options in the /etc/kdump.conf configuration file.

Saving the core dump in a local directory

Find the line that reads #path /var/crash Unhash it, and update it with the required directory path.

Saving the core dump to a different partition

In addition to the path command above, unhash the line that reads:#ext4 /dev/sda3Change both the file system type and the device (a device name, a file system label, and UUID are all supported) as required. For example: ext3 /dev/sda4
path /usr/local/cores

Writing the core dump file directly to a device

Unhash the line that reads#raw /dev/sda5 Replace the value with a desired device name. For example:
raw /dev/sdb1

Write the core dump file to a remote machine using NFS

Unhash the line that reads#net my.server.com:/export/tmpReplace the value with a valid hostname and directory path. For example: net penguin.example.com:/export/cores

Write the core dump file to a remote machine using SSH

Unhash the line that reads#net user@my.server.comreplace the value with a valid username and hostname. For example: net dougie@linuxhints.example.com

Configure the Core Collector

To reduce the size of the vmcore dump file, kdump allows you to specify a core collector to compress the data, and optionally leave out all irrelevant information. The only fully supported core collector is makedumpfile.

Enabling the core collector

As root, edit /etc/kdump.conf, and unhash the line that reads#core_collector makedumpfile -c --message-level 1 -d 31. Edit the command line options as described below.
To enable the dump file compression, add the -c parameter. For example: core_collector makedumpfile -c To remove certain pages from the dump, add the -d value parameter, where value is a sum of values of pages you want to omit as described in the following table:
OptionDescription
1Zero pages
2Cache pages
4Cache private
8User pages
16Free pages
For example, to remove both zero and free pages, use the following:
core_collector makedumpfile -d 17 -c

Enable kdump on startup

chkconfig kdump on

Start kdump

service kdump start So what all this does is create a small portion of memory which is reserved to run another tiny instance of linux – should the system crash the tiny linux will copy stuff to the appropriate crashdump area.