Marc Wäckerlin
Für eine libertäre Schweiz

Run a Stable LizardFS

December 25, 2018

A LizardFS is very simple to setup. It can handle terabytes of data, but it has some pitfalls you should avoid. My system currently runs 14TB of real data, including duplicates and snapshots 65TB in 26.732.025 chunks on 4 chunk servers that provide 80TB of disk space. My master server uses 80GB RAM of currently 134GB installed RAM (the calculation of the fraudulent manufacturers: 16GB + 4×32GB = 134GB, so they sold me 160GB but I got 134GB).

For basic installation instructions, see my previous blog.

Basic Tips

  • master server:
    • install two master servers: one productive and one shadow
    • masters only use one single CPU thread, so more cores don’t help
    • masters require a huge amount of ram, so get servers with many free slots
    • watch the memory usage on your masters and plug in more RAM before it is out of space
    • master servers hang your whole host when they go out if RAM
    • if you don’t have enough RAM, and the bugs (as of Jan 2019) will have been fixed, you may try to use BerkelyDB
  • chunk server:
    • chunk servers don’t need much RAM, mine use ~3GB
    • CPU usage is low on chunk servers
    • there must always be enough free disk space on all chunk servers
    • if any of the chunk server runs out of disk space, you lose data
  • metalogger server:
    • run some metalogger server, they may prevent data loss when the master server crashes
    • metalogger server don’t need much resources
  • cgi server:
    • a cgi server gives you a good overview of your resources
    • cgi server don’t need much resources
  • backup:
    • add a shadow master server
      • at least, backup /var/lib/lizardfs excluding chunk:
        On a second server, add to daily cron job:

        /usr/bin/rsync -aq --exclude=chunk universum:/var/lib/lizardfs/ /var/backup/mfsmaster/
    • add metalogger servers
    • distribute chunks on 2 or more chunk servers
    • do daily, weekly, monthly (but not hourly) snapshots of your data


After filling up my chunks with terabytes of data, the storage became very slow. Then I opened a ticket and discussed with the developers. As summary of this discussion, I recommend the following configuration options:

On the master servers set in /etc/lizardfs/mfsmaster.cfg:


In the chunk servers set in /etc/lizardfs/mfschunkserver.cfg:


As mount options, e.g. in /etc/fstab, use:

mfsmount /srv fuse rw,mfsmaster=universum,mfsdelayedinit,nosuid,nodev,noatime,big_writes,mfschunkserverwriteto=40000,mfsioretries=120,mfschunkserverconnectreadto=20000,mfschunkserverwavereadto=5000,mfschunkservertotalreadto=20000 0 0

Master Memory

I had a lot of trouble and crashes due to the master server going out of memory. There are many reasons why this can happen, i.e.:

  • your filesystem grows
  • your snapshots grow
  • removing files (i.e. old snapshots) fills up the trash

Therefore, the main rue is: Give the master servers enough RAM and upgrade RAM before it runs out.

Use BerkeleyDB

There is another option: You can use BerkeleyDB to store file / directory names. This saves RAM but slows a bit down the master server. You may also increase the database cache from 10MB to e.g. 1GB (1024MB), so add to /etc/lizardfs/mfsmaster.cfg (the second line is optional; test your system with and without it):


My experience: This option does not change anything. And currently it seems to be broken according to the reports here and here. Next try: It seems to use less memory, but is extremely slow with default caching, increasing the cache to 2048 works better, but it crashed after half a day. So: Do not use BerkeleyDB! (status Jan 1st 2019)

Trash Exhausting

If you remove a lot of files, your trash space may grow faster than it is cleaned up. I had this effect the first time, when I enabled hourly backups, kept 24 snapshots and deleted the oldest one every hour. My trash space was 214TB one day before the server crashed:

output of cgi server: there are 214TB in trash

One possible solution to solve this problem is to set the trash time to zero, so nothing remains in trash and files are immediately removed, e.g. when the files are mounted to /srv:

sudo  lizardfs settrashtime -r -l 0 /srv