spawning smb processes out of control

Alfredo Ramos ralf at
Fri Dec 7 10:02:19 GMT 2001

Please help. I have a weird problem with samba 2.2.1a.

For the most part, Samba behaves just wonderfully. I'd say, 99.9% of the
time it chugs along serving applications, sharing files and printers like
a champ. But at least once a week, and some weeks, three or four times,
the samba server starts spawning smbd processes like there's no tomorrow
until it runs out of resources. At that point, users services come to a
complete halt. Nobody is able to login, print, or do anything else. The
load on the server becomes extremely high, and the only way to recover is
by killing all the smbd processes that were spawned by the server. The
number of processes spawned goes way past the 500 mark. If you're lucky
and the server responds, you can kill the processes and everything goes
back to normal. If the server is beyond recovery, only a reboot will get
the server back. 

The server is a dedicated Sun Enterprise 220R with truckloads of memory,
running Solaris 8. The weird part is that, the out-of-control spawning can
happen when there's only a handful (8 or 10) of users, or when the labs
are packed, sometimes during the day, at other times at wee hours of the

The logs don't show information that I could relate the this problem. I've
set the debug level to 3 or 4, and the only thing that I was able to spot
was a problem with the oplocks. Something to the effect that the server
was waiting for an oplock to be released, and then receiving a
notification without expecting it, also about oplocks, (sorry, I do not
have the log output anymore. I think I can get it again though).

Anyway; thinking that this was the cause of the problem, I disabled the
oplocks parameter on the smb.conf file, but it did not make a difference.

If anybody has experienced the same problem, or knows what is causing it,
I would really, I mean REALLY, appreciate pointing me in the right
direction to correct it.


Al Ramos.

                                           | Alfredo Ramos
This space available for rent.             | Educational Technology
Get your product moving. Advertise here!   | Rice University.
                                           | Email: ralf at

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