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EnableSendfile

Recently, I noticed something strange about Apache 2.2.3 version running on CentOS Linux 5 64 bit version. We have centralized NFS server and all 3 web server load balanced using hardware front end (another box running LVS).

All Apache server picks up file via NFS i.e DocumentRoot is set over NFS. The small file such as 2 MB or 5 MB get downloaded correctly but large size files failed to download. Another problem was some clients reported that the file get download but cannot open due to file corruption issue.

After investigation and a little bit googling I came across the solution. You need to disable following two options:

  • EnableMMAP - This directive controls whether the httpd may use memory-mapping if it needs to read the contents of a file during delivery. By default, when the handling of a request requires access to the data within a file -- for example, when delivering a server-parsed file using mod_include -- Apache memory-maps the file if the OS supports it.
  • EnableSendfile - This directive controls whether httpd may use the sendfile support from the kernel to transmit file contents to the client. By default, when the handling of a request requires no access to the data within a file -- for example, when delivering a static file -- Apache uses sendfile to deliver the file contents without ever reading the file if the OS supports it.

However, these two directives are known to have problem with a network-mounted DocumentRoot (e.g., NFS or SMB), the kernel may be unable to serve the network file through its own cache. So just open httpd.conf on all boxes and changes the following:
EnableMMAP off
EnableSendfile off

Just restart the web server and voila!
# service httpd restart