Today after unzipping a very large archive one of our Red Hat servers became unresponsive. After rebooting we received the following file system error.

Inode 93464 is too big Unexpected Inconsistency Run fsck Manually

Running fsck immediately promps us to truncate the Inode.

This has spawned a number of questions. Like, how does and Inode become to large? What happens if you truncate said Inode. I assume you lose logical access to the file and or directory the Inode refers to along with any other reference to other linked Inodes. We are running Redhat Enterprise 4.

  • 1
    what filesystem are you using and how big is this file actually? – evildead Oct 26 '09 at 23:53

Check is your version of e2fsprogs (e.g. e2fsck -V). There was apparently a bug prior to version 1.40.2 that could cause e2fsck (which is called by fsck for EXT2/EXT3 filesystems) to incorrectly report filesystem corruption of this type:

Fix a bug in e2fsck which caused it to incorrectly salvange directories when the last entry's rec_len is bogusly too big. This resulted in a nonsense filesystem corruption to be reported, and required a second run of e2fsck to fully fix up the directory.

The RHEL 4 servers that I have access to have version 1.35 on them, so this could be the real cause of your problem. It might be worth installing a newer version and running fsck again to be sure.

If that doesn't help, it may indeed be a filesystem problem. According to this thread, it appears that this can happen if you have a directory containing a very large number of files (millions or more). "Fixing" it with fsck will result in the inode being truncated, as you saw. In the case of a directory inode, truncation will cause the directory to "lose" files, and those orphaned files will end up in the filesystem's lost+found directory. They will be named after their inode number, not their original names, so although you'll still have the files, it may be difficult to tell them apart.

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