CirrusSearch flaked out Feb 28 around 19:30 UTC and I brought it back from
the dead around 21:25 UTC. During the time it was flaking out searches
that used it (mediawiki.org
, and everything
in Italian) took a long, long time or failed immediately with a message
about this being a temporary problem we're working on fixing.
We added four new Elasticserach servers on Rack D (yay) around 18:45 UTC
The Elasticsearch cluster started serving simple requests very slowly
around 19:30 UTC
I was alerted to a search issue on IRC at 20:45 UTC
I fixed the offending Elasticsearch servers around 21:25 UTC
Query times recovered shortly after that
We very carefully installed the same version of Elasticsearch and Java as
we use on the other machines then used puppet to configure the
Elasticsearch machines to join the cluster. It looks like they only picked
up half the configuration provided by puppet
(/etc/elasticsearch/elasticsearch.yml but not
/etc/defaults/elasticsearch). Unfortunately for us that is the bad half to
miss because /etc/default/elasticsearch contains the JVM heap settings.
The servers came online with the default amount of heap which worked fine
until Elasticsearch migrated a sufficiently large index to them. At that
point the heap filled up and Java does what it does in that case and spun
forever trying to free garbage. It pretty much pegged one CPU and rendered
the entire application unresponsive. Unfortunately (again) pegging one CPU
isn't that weird for Elasticsearch. It'll do that when it is merging. The
application normally stays responsive because the rest of the JVM keeps
moving along. That doesn't happen when heap is full.
Knocking out one of those machines caused tons of searches to block,
presumably waiting for those machine to respond. I'll have to dig around
to see if I can find the timeout but we're obviously using the default
which in our case is way way way to long. We then filled the pool queue
and started rejecting requests to search altogether.
When I found the problem all I had to do was kill -9 the Elasticsearch
servers and restart them. -9 is required because JVMs don't catch the
regular signal if they are too busy garbage collecting.
What we're doing to prevent it from happening again:
* We're going to monitor the slow query log and have icinga start
complaining if it grows very quickly. We normally get a couple of slow
queries per day so this shouldn't be too noisy. We're going to also have
to monitor error counts, especially once we get more timeouts. (
* We're going to sprinkle more timeouts all over the place. Certainly in
Cirrus while waiting on Elasticsearch and figure out how to tell
Elasticsearch what the shard timeouts should be as well. (
* We're going to figure out why we only got half the settings. This is
complicated because we can't let puppet restart Elasticsearch because
Elasticsearch restarts must be done one node at a time.