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Kernel Configuration

This document lists the Kernel tweaks M3DB needs to run well.


M3DB uses a lot of mmap-ed files for performance, as a result, you might need to bump vm.max_map_count. We suggest setting this value to 262144, so you don’t have to come back and debug issues later.

On Linux, you can increase the limits by running the following command as root:

sysctl -w vm.max_map_count=262144

To set this value permanently, update the vm.max_map_count setting in /etc/sysctl.conf.


vm.swappiness controls how much the virtual memory subsystem will try to swap to disk. By default, the kernel configures this value to 60, and will try to swap out items in memory even when there is plenty of RAM available to the system.

We recommend sizing clusters such that M3DB is running on a substrate (hosts/containers) such that no-swapping is necessary, i.e. the process is only using 30-50% of the maximum available memory. And therefore recommend setting the value of vm.swappiness to 1. This tells the kernel to swap as little as possible, without altogether disabling swapping.

On Linux, you can configure this by running the following as root:

sysctl -w vm.swappiness=1

To set this value permanently, update the vm.swappiness setting in /etc/sysctl.conf.


M3DB also can use a high number of files and we suggest setting a high max open number of files due to per partition fileset volumes.

On Linux you can set a high limit for maximum number of open files in /etc/security/limits.conf:

your_m3db_user        hard nofile 500000
your_m3db_user        soft nofile 500000

Alternatively, if you wish to have M3DB run under systemd you can use our service example which will set sane defaults.

Before running the process make sure the limits are set, if running manually you can raise the limit for the current user with ulimit -n 500000.