Re: Max number of posix queues in vanilla kernel (/proc/sys/fs/mqueue/queues_max)

From: Doug Ledford
Date: Fri Feb 07 2014 - 16:24:38 EST

On 2/7/2014 3:11 PM, Davidlohr Bueso wrote:
> On Thu, 2014-02-06 at 12:21 +0200, m@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
>> Hi Folks,
>> I have recently ported my multi-process application (like a classical open
>> system) which uses POSIX Queues as IPC to one of the latest Linux kernels,
>> and I have faced issue that number of maximum queues are dramatically
>> limited down to 1024 (see include/linux/ipc_namespace.h, #define
>> Previously the max number of queues was INT_MAX (on 64bit system was:
>> 2147483647).
> Hmm yes, 1024 is quite unrealistic for some workloads and breaks
> userspace - I don't see any reasons for _this_ specific value in the
> changelog or related changes in the patchset that introduced commits
> 93e6f119 and 02967ea0.

There wasn't a specific selection of that number other than a general
attempt to make the max more reasonable (INT_MAX isn't really reasonable
given the overhead of each individual queue, even if the queue number
and max msg size are small).

> And the fact that this limit is per namespace
> makes no difference really. Hell, if nothing else, the mq_overview(7)
> manpage description is evidence enough. For privileged users:
> The default value for queues_max is 256; it can be changed to any value in the range 0 to INT_MAX.

That was obviously never updated to match the change.

In hindsight, I'm not sure we really even care though. Since the limit
on queues is per namespace, and we can make as many namespaces as we
want, the limit is more or less meaningless and only serves as a
nuisance to people. Since we have accounting on a per user basis that
spans across namespaces and across queues, maybe that should be
sufficient and the limit on queues should simply be removed and we
should instead just rely on memory limits. When the user has exhausted
their allowed memory usage, whether by large queue sizes, large message
sizes, or large queue counts, then they are done. When they haven't,
they can keep allocating. Would make things considerably easier and
would avoid the breakage we are talking about here.

>> This update imposes bad limits on our multi-process application. As our
>> app uses approaches that each process opens its own set of queues (usually
>> something about 3-5 queues per process). In some scenarios we might run up
>> to 3000 processes or more (which of-course for linux is not a problem).
>> Thus we might need up to 9000 queues or more. All processes run under one
>> user.
>> But now we have this limit, which limits our software down and we are
>> getting in trouble. We could patch the kernel manually, but not all
>> customers are capable of this and willing to do the patching.
>> Thus I *kindly* ask you guys to increase this limit to something like 1M
>> queues or more (or to technical limit i.e. leave the same INT_MAX).

Technically, INT_MAX isn't (and never was) a valid limit. Because the
queue overhead memory size is accounted against the user when creating a
queue, they can never effectively get to INT_MAX whether it's allowed or

>> If
>> user can screw up the system by setting or using maximums, let it leave to
>> the user. As it is doing system tuning and he is responsible for kernel
>> parameters.
>> The kernel limit was introduced by:
>> -
>> Also I see other people are claiming issues with this, see:
>> - - for
>> them some database software is not working after the kernel upgrade...
> Surprised we didn't hear about this earlier by Michael Kerrisk. At least
> the upstream manpages haven't been updated to reflect this new behavior,
> it would have been the wrong way to go.
>> Also I think that when people will upgrade from RHEL 5 or RHEL 6 to next
>> versions where this hard limit will be defined, I suspect that many will
>> claim problem about it...
> Agreed, RHEL 7 will ship with some baseline version of the 3.10 kernel
> and users will be exposed to this. Of course, the same goes for just
> about any distro, and Ubuntu users are already complaining about it.
> I believe that instead of bumping up this HARD limit of 1024, we should
> go back to the original behavior. If we just increase it, instead, then
> how high is high enough?

I think it can be removed entirely myself. The memory limit is really
all we need worry about unless Viro comes back and says 100s of
thousands of queues in a single namespace will kill queue lookup or
something like that.

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