Lots of accounting data

Bill Moran wmoran at potentialtech.com
Wed Aug 13 18:59:36 UTC 2008

In response to Christopher Cowart <ccowart at rescomp.berkeley.edu>:

> Hello,
> I'm playing a game of cat and mouse with process accounting and disk
> space. I built some boxes with 9GB /var partitions, rolled them into
> production, and after about 4 days of full load, /var filled up.
> Looking at the size of /var/account/acct{,.0}, and figuring I'd be
> seeing a 200% load increase in about a month, I created a new label from
> the large chunk of free space I saved for situations like this. 40GB
> mounted to /var/account: usage was down to 20%, and I thought the crisis
> was averted.
> About a week and a half later, I get a disk full e-mail from nagios and
> > +pid 94696 (gzip), uid 0 inumber 6 on /var/account: filesystem full
> in my dailies again. My /var/account/acct file was 17GB in size. Add one
> rotation before compression and I completely lose that feeling of
> cleverness I had when I gave accounting a dedicated 40GB partition.
> If you're wondering how I can possibly have this much accounting data,
> two `vmstat -f' invocations 100 seconds apart show 32282 forks (an
> average of 323 per second). These boxes are running squid with a
> redirect script to implement a captive portal. There are generally
> several hundred unauthenticated users; all of their http traffic, from
> firefox to the little weather widgets and spyware phoning home, gets
> proxied through squid and subsquently a redirect script that, among
> other things, does some text munging on the URL, and queries various
> ipfw tables to determine what "context" the user is in. Some of this
> could be optimized to launch fewer processes, but the code would be less
> maintainable.
> I only really see two options, neither of which I particularly like:
>   * Throw more disk at the problem (but given what I've seen, I don't
>     like the odds that within a month or two, I'll realize I didn't give
>     it enough).
>   * Turn off accounting on these boxes.

* Rotate and compress more frequently; and store less history?

Bill Moran

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