How To: Double Linux disk read performance with readahead parameter

Posted on in Categories CentOS, Debian Linux, File system, Hardware, Howto, Linux, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Storage, Suse Linux, Tuning last updated November 22, 2007

The open source journal has published an interesting hack. It mostly applies to high-end, multiple-disk storage:

Under the right conditions (that is, with certain hardware configurations which I’ll identify later) it is possible to literally double your sequential read performance from disk. If you noticed the terrible performance of the 3Ware 9500S RAID controller and cared enough to investigate. It all has to do with a sneaky little block device parameter known as readahead. Without going into too much gory detail, readahead controls how much in advance the operating system reads when, well, reading, as its name implies. By default, some operating systems (in particular, RHEL5 Server) sets this to 256 (512-byte sectors), or about 128 KB. When dealing with large filesystems spanning many disks, this paltry figure can actually nuke your performance.

=> HowTo: Linux: Double your disk read performance in a single command

How to: Upgrade Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) to latest Releases 5.1

Posted on in Categories CentOS, Howto, Linux distribution, Linux Virtualization, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Sys admin, Tips last updated November 8, 2007

RHEL 5.1 has been released. Redhat announced the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1, with integrated virtualization. This release provides the most compelling platform for customers and software developers ever, with its industry-leading virtualization capabilities complementing Red Hat’s newly announced Linux Automation strategy. It offers the industry’s broadest deployment ecosystem, covering standalone systems, virtualized systems, appliances and web-scale “cloud” computing environments.

Besides supporting Linux virtual machines, RHEL 5.1 will also support Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003 and the forthcoming Windows 2008, Crenshaw said. RHEL 5.1 uses Xen for its virtualization.

How do I upgrade to RHEL 5.1?

Login as the root user and simply type the command to fetch all updates via RHN:
# yum update
Depend upon your network condition and software configuration it may take anywhere between 5-20 minutes. Once completed, just reboot the server:
# reboot
Verify that everything is working fine:
# netstat -tulpn
# netstat -nat
# tail -f /var/log/messages
# egrep -i 'error|warn' /var/log/messages
# egrep -i 'error|warn' /path/to/apps/log

Community driven enterprise CentOS Linux users should expect update soon too. You can apply above commends to upgrade your CentOS box.

Troubleshooting tip: stap ~ systemtap script translator / driver command not working under CentOS Linux

Posted on in Categories CentOS, Linux, Sys admin, Troubleshooting last updated September 25, 2007

The stap program is the front-end to the Systemtap tool. It accepts probing instructions (written in a simple scripting language), translates those instructions into C code, compiles this C code, and loads the resulting kernel module into a running Linux kernel to perform the requested system trace/probe functions.

SystemTap provides free software (GPL) infrastructure to simplify the gathering of information about the running Linux system. This assists diagnosis of a performance or functional problem. SystemTap eliminates the need for the developer to go through the tedious and disruptive instrument, recompile, install, and reboot sequence that may be otherwise required to collect data.

We have several developers who use stap. Usually it works out of box. For example following program prints hello world on screen if SystemTap and related packages are installed:

stap -e 'probe begin { log ("hello world") }'

However under CentOS Linux version 5 (RHEL 5), you will get an error as follows:

semantic error: libdwfl failure (dwfl_linux_kernel_report_offline): No such file or directory while resolving probe point kernel.function("sys_*")

Install kernel-debuginfo package

To get rid of this problem, you have to simply install kernel-debuginfo package:
# yum install kernel-debuginfo
Please note that the installed kernel-debuginfo package must be for the same kernel release level and processor, so you may have to enter the following command:
# yum install kernel-debuginfo-KERNEL-VERSION-NUMBER

Hope this troubleshooting tip will help you out while working with systemtap (stap) scripts.

Install Squid Proxy Server on CentOS / Redhat enterprise Linux 5

Posted on in Categories CentOS, Linux, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Squid caching server, Suse Linux, Sys admin, Tips last updated February 24, 2008

I’ve already wrote about setting up a Linux transparent squid proxy system. However I’m getting lots of questions about Squid basic installation and configuration:

How do I install Squid Proxy server on CentOS 5 Liinux server?

Sure Squid server is a popular open source GPLd proxy and web cache. It has a variety of uses, from speeding up a web server by caching repeated requests, to caching web, name server query , and other network lookups for a group of people sharing network resources. It is primarily designed to run on Linux / Unix-like systems. Squid is a high-performance proxy caching server for Web clients, supporting FTP, gopher, and HTTP data objects. Unlike traditional caching software, Squid handles all requests in a single, non-blocking, I/O-driven process. Squid keeps meta data and especially hot objects cached in RAM, caches DNS lookups, supports non-blocking DNS lookups, and implements negative caching of failed requests. Squid consists of a main server program squid, a Domain Name System lookup program (dnsserver), a program for retrieving FTP data (ftpget), and some management and client tools.

Install Squid on CentOS / RHEL 5

Use yum command as follows:
# yum install squid

Loading "installonlyn" plugin
Setting up Install Process
Setting up repositories
Reading repository metadata in from local files
Parsing package install arguments
Resolving Dependencies
--> Populating transaction set with selected packages. Please wait.
---> Package squid.i386 7:2.6.STABLE6-4.el5 set to be updated
--> Running transaction check

Dependencies Resolved

 Package                 Arch       Version          Repository        Size 
 squid                   i386       7:2.6.STABLE6-4.el5  updates           1.2 M

Transaction Summary
Install      1 Package(s)         
Update       0 Package(s)         
Remove       0 Package(s)         

Total download size: 1.2 M
Is this ok [y/N]: y
Downloading Packages:
Running Transaction Test
Finished Transaction Test
Transaction Test Succeeded
Running Transaction
  Installing: squid                        ######################### [1/1] 

Installed: squid.i386 7:2.6.STABLE6-4.el5

Squid Basic Configuration

Squid configuration file located at /etc/squid/squid.conf. Open file using a text editor:
# vi /etc/squid/squid.conf
At least you need to define ACL (access control list) to work with squid. The defaults port is TCP 3128. Following example ACL allowing access from your local networks and Make sure you adapt to list your internal IP networks from where browsing should be allowed:
acl our_networks src
http_access allow our_networks

Save and close the file. Start squid proxy server:
# chkconfig squid on
# /etc/init.d/squid start


init_cache_dir /var/spool/squid... Starting squid: .       [  OK  ]

Verify port 3128 is open:
# netstat -tulpn | grep 3128

tcp        0      0      *                   LISTEN      20653/(squid)

Open TCP port 3128

Finally make sure iptables is allowing to access squid proxy server. Just open /etc/sysconfig/iptables file:
# vi /etc/sysconfig/iptables
Append configuration:
-A RH-Firewall-1-INPUT -m state --state NEW,ESTABLISHED,RELATED -m tcp -p tcp --dport 3128 -j ACCEPT
Restart iptables based firewall:
# /etc/init.d/iptables restart

Flushing firewall rules:                                   [  OK  ]
Setting chains to policy ACCEPT: filter                    [  OK  ]
Unloading iptables modules:                                [  OK  ]
Applying iptables firewall rules:                          [  OK  ]
Loading additional iptables modules: ip_conntrack_netbios_n[  OK  ]

Client configuration

Open a webbrowser > Tools > Internet option > Network settings > and setup Squid server IP address and port # 3128.

See also

You may find our previous squid tips useful:

Squid Security and blocking content Related Tips

Squid Authentication Related Tips

Squid Other Tips