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I have a server that keeps on crashing. I know there are several causes for a server to crashes down. But if the cause is that the system is running out of RAM before it crash down; how should I confirm that is cause? What log files should I look? And what line/error mes should I look for? I am running CentOS. With heavy usage of php parsing xml files over 2 gigabytes at most. The server has 16GB RAM.

EDIT 1

[root@61540 ~]# free -m
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:         16035       1526      14509          0         40       1002
-/+ buffers/cache:        483      15552
Swap:         8197          0       8197

EDIT 2 /var/log/messages

Feb 17 20:38:26 61540 syslogd 1.4.1: restart.
Feb 17 20:38:26 61540 proftpd[3896]: 66.90.101.85 - received SIGHUP -- master server reparsing configuration file
Feb 17 22:23:06 61540 avahi-daemon[3984]: recvmsg(): Resource temporarily unavailable
Feb 17 23:07:37 61540 proftpd[10620] - (Several lines of ftp session)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 syslogd 1.4.1: restart.
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: klogd 1.4.1, log source = /proc/kmsg started.
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: Linux version 2.6.18-308.el5 (mockbuild@builder10.centos.org) (gcc version 4.1.2 20080704 (Red Hat 4.1.2-52)) #1 SMP Tue Feb 21 20:06:06 EST 2012
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: Command line: ro root=LABEL=/
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: BIOS-provided physical RAM map:
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel:  BIOS-e820: 0000000000010000 - 000000000009a000 (usable)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel:  BIOS-e820: 000000000009f800 - 00000000000a0000 (reserved)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel:  BIOS-e820: 00000000000f0000 - 0000000000100000 (reserved)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel:  BIOS-e820: 0000000000100000 - 00000000cfda0000 (usable)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel:  BIOS-e820: 00000000cfda0000 - 00000000cfdd1000 (ACPI NVS)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel:  BIOS-e820: 00000000cfdd1000 - 00000000cfe00000 (ACPI data)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel:  BIOS-e820: 00000000cfe00000 - 00000000cff00000 (reserved)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel:  BIOS-e820: 00000000e0000000 - 00000000f0000000 (reserved)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel:  BIOS-e820: 00000000fec00000 - 0000000100000000 (reserved)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel:  BIOS-e820: 0000000100000000 - 000000042f000000 (usable)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: DMI 2.4 present.
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: No NUMA configuration found
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: Faking a node at 0000000000000000-000000042f000000
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: Bootmem setup node 0 0000000000000000-000000042f000000
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: Memory for crash kernel (0x0 to 0x0) notwithin permissible range
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: disabling kdump
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: ACPI: PM-Timer IO Port: 0x808
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: ACPI: LAPIC (acpi_id[0x00] lapic_id[0x00] enabled)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: Processor #0 5:1 APIC version 16
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: ACPI: LAPIC (acpi_id[0x01] lapic_id[0x01] enabled)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: Processor #1 5:1 APIC version 16
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: ACPI: LAPIC (acpi_id[0x02] lapic_id[0x02] enabled)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: Processor #2 5:1 APIC version 16
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: ACPI: LAPIC (acpi_id[0x03] lapic_id[0x03] enabled)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: Processor #3 5:1 APIC version 16
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: ACPI: LAPIC (acpi_id[0x04] lapic_id[0x04] enabled)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: Processor #4 5:1 APIC version 16
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: ACPI: LAPIC (acpi_id[0x05] lapic_id[0x05] enabled)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: Processor #5 5:1 APIC version 16
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: ACPI: LAPIC (acpi_id[0x06] lapic_id[0x06] enabled)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: Processor #6 5:1 APIC version 16
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: ACPI: LAPIC (acpi_id[0x07] lapic_id[0x07] enabled)
Feb 18 23:03:48 61540 kernel: Processor #7 5:1 APIC version 16
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How much swap has it got? –  MadHatter Feb 19 '13 at 13:13
    
@MadHatter I am not quite sure how to check the swap. but i just run the free -m command. i posted the result on the question. thanks –  Pelang Feb 19 '13 at 13:20
    
Couldn't be RAM corrupted somewhere at higher addresses and that cause crash? –  Ency Feb 19 '13 at 13:31
    
@Ency How could I determine that there is a problem on the RAM? Can I see it a log files? or there test or commands available to check the RAM? –  Pelang Feb 19 '13 at 13:32
1  
@Mark memtest (you should see it in grub/lilo menu after install) can do that, but it will require server down time. –  Ency Feb 19 '13 at 13:34
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2 Answers

You should check /var/log/messages The dmesg command will not be useful in this case because it only shows you the kernel messages since last boot.

"Running out of memory" is not usually enough to completely crash Linux. Linux will start killing processes when it runs out of memory (OOM killer). So you would probably look for some kernel panic. If you're using less to read the logs, you can search pressing the / key.

But the bottom line is: you should first read /var/log/messages. It is ordered by time, so it's easy to find the moment when the server last booted. Check what happened before that, which caused your server to crash.

share|improve this answer
    
I check on /var/log/messages I did not see something wrong. I have posted the logs above on the quesion. thanks –  Pelang Feb 19 '13 at 14:24
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if linux runs out of memory it usually starts the OOM killer (Out Of Memory). Thats a kernel process which goes around killing other procs to free memory. if this happens you should see according logs when you enter dmesg.

try this: dmesg | grep -i oom. if there is no output, the OOM killer probably didnt kill your process.

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i tried "dmesg | grep -i oom" and there is no output. so running out of RAM could not be the reason the server crashes down? Can I accurately say that? –  Pelang Feb 19 '13 at 13:30
    
This assumes that you haven't restarted it since the crashes, since dmesg shows the contents of the running kernel's message buffer. You'll have to look in logfiles for stuff that happened before the last reboot. –  nickgrim Feb 19 '13 at 13:51
    
@nickgrim I have already restarted the server after the crashes. Since I cannot access it. Are there other ways to check RAM errors relating to running out? –  Pelang Feb 19 '13 at 13:59
1  
So this means you don't know at all what happens in the system, right? for example it would also be possible that it just looses the network connection or something like this? did you check the contents of /var/log/messages /var/log/warn /var/log/dmesg and all these logs? –  mauro.stettler Feb 19 '13 at 14:19
1  
@mauro.stettler yes. i did not see anything like kernel panic. I just know that I cannot access the directadmin, no ping, and no ssh. I used to manage the server thru ssh, I have no physical access. I need to ask my hosting everytime to restart the server. I am going to confirm from them if they can still access the server from their end when I ask them for the restart. thanks for giving me this idea. –  Pelang Feb 19 '13 at 14:32
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