When I run a playbook that simply copies a directory from one place to another, ansible throws

ERROR! A worker was found in a dead state

Error. After some googling, it looks like this is caused by the oom-killer killing the ansible process (but i'm not exactly sure that this is the case). My Memory is:

              total        used        free      shared  buff/cache   available
Mem:            991         372         448           1         170         467
Swap:           511         365         146

I don't have a clue how to fix it. I should mention I only had the RAM when I first executed the playbook, which couldn't run cause of low memory. After that, I added the swap.Not sure if it's related but note that it's a swap file, not a separate partition.

I've watched the memory while running and I see that the free swap goes down very fast once it runs that task. The error message is thrown when it hits 0.

I'm running the following playbook.

- hosts: localhost
  become: true
  become_method: sudo
  become_user: root

      - mysite
    contentPath: "/var/www/"
    backupPath: "/home/dataFiles/backups/"


    - name: backup content
        src: "{{ contentPath }}/{{ item }}"
        dest: "{{backupPath}}/{{ item }}/{{ ansible_date_time.date }}/"
        - "{{ portals }}"

The error I've given above is the only info I get out of ansible. Even running the playbook verbosely doesn't give anything additional for that.

  • Update: added 2 GB of swap. It still runs out when the command is run. – Don Drenai Mar 16 '17 at 13:53
  • You should add the task which throws the error and the complete error message returned by Ansible. – Henrik Pingel Mar 16 '17 at 14:10
  • @HenrikPingel Thanks for the response. Added the info. – Don Drenai Mar 17 '17 at 6:37
  • Look on your logs. Read up on ansible debugging. Pfovide more information. – Iain Mar 17 '17 at 6:56
  • Yes, you need to run your ansible-playbook command with -vvv. You should also add your ansible version with ansible --verison – Henrik Pingel Mar 17 '17 at 7:05
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There is a note in the copy_module documentation:

The “copy” module recursively copy facility does not scale to lots (>hundreds) of files. For alternative, see synchronize module, which is a wrapper around rsync.

Assuming this is the case here one should consider using the synchronize module.

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