Kernel stall while testing high-speed HTTPS traffic.

Ben Greear greearb at
Thu May 28 19:26:55 UTC 2015

We are seeing problems with Nginx (mostly)locking up the server when
running high loads of HTTPS traffic.

This scenario we had nginx configured to
bind to eth3 but our ssh sessions on eth0 were frozen during this condition as well.
The system restores itself after a few minutes, (the load generation would
have stopped after a minute or two of lockup, that may be what lets things

We tested different kernels (4.0.4+, 4.0.0+, 3.17.8+ with local patches,
and stock 3.14.27-100.fc19.x86_64, all with same results), different NICs (Intel 10G, Intel 40G),
and Apache as web server.

Apache can sustain about 10.8Gbps of HTTPS traffic and shows no
instability/lockups.  nginx maxes out at 2.2Gbps (until it locks up machine).

Some kernel splats indicated some files writing to the file system
journal were blocked > 180 seconds, but they recover, so it is not
a hard lock.  The system should not be doing any heavy disk access
since we have 32GB RAM.  Swap shows no usage.

=== Scenario ===
Load testing box has a direct connection to eth3->eth3 over 10Gbps port.

Curl clients using https, keepalive, requesting a 1MB file:
1000 clients @ 0.25 req/sec = 243 req/sec, 2.2Gbps tx, load 8.3
 400 clients @ 0.65 req/sec = 260 req/sec, 2.2Gbps tx, load 9.2

=== Environment ===
processor	: 7
vendor_id	: GenuineIntel
cpu family	: 6
model		: 63
model name	: Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-1630 v3 @ 3.70GHz

> free
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:      32840296    1394884   31445412          0     132792     632068
-/+ buffers/cache:     630024   32210272
Swap:     16457724          0   16457724

> cat /etc/issue
Fedora release 19 (Schrödinger’s Cat)
Kernel \r on an \m (\l)

# uname -a
Linux e5-1630-v3-qc 3.14.27-100.fc19.x86_64 #1 SMP Wed Dec 17 19:36:34 UTC 2014 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

# /usr/local/lanforge/nginx/sbin/nginx -v
nginx version: nginx/1.9.1

We are running small patch to allow nginx to bind to a particular interface.  We
tried with this option disabled, and that causes the same trouble.  The exact
source is found below:

We are compiling nginx with these options:

./configure --prefix=/usr/local/lanforge/nginx/ --with-http_ssl_module --with-ipv6 --without-http_rewrite_module

=== Nginx Config ===

worker_processes	      auto;
worker_rlimit_nofile    100000;
error_log               logs/eth3_error.log;
pid		               /home/lanforge/vr_conf/;
events {
   use                  epoll;
   worker_connections   8096;
   multi_accept         on;
http {
   include             /usr/local/lanforge/nginx/conf/mime.types;
   default_type        application/octet-stream;
   access_log          off;
   sendfile            on;
   directio            1m;
   disable_symlinks    on;
   gzip                off;
   tcp_nopush          on;
   tcp_nodelay         on;

   open_file_cache max=1000 inactive=10s;
   open_file_cache_valid    600s;
   open_file_cache_min_uses 2000;
   open_file_cache_errors   off;
   etag                off;

   server {
       listen so_keepalive=on bind_dev=eth3;
       server_name     nginx.local nginx web.local web;

       location / {
           root   /var/www/html;
           index  index.html index.htm;
       error_page   500 502 503 504  /50x.html;
       location = /50x.html {
           root   html;
   server {
       listen       so_keepalive=on ssl bind_dev=eth3;
       server_name           nginx.local nginx web.local web;
       ssl_certificate       /usr/local/lanforge/apache.crt;
       ssl_certificate_key   /usr/local/lanforge/apache.key;
       location / {
           root   /var/www/html;
           index  index.html index.htm;
       error_page   500 502 503 504  /50x.html;
       location = /50x.html {
           root   html;

Any help or suggestions is appreciated.


Ben Greear <greearb at>
Candela Technologies Inc

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