Too many open files: mod_fcgid: couldn't set child process attributes


We suddenly received some calls from customers that their sites aren't loading. Looking in the apache error logs gave us the following information:

[Tue Jul 21 17:33:59 2009] [error] (24)Too many open files: mod_fcgid: couldn't set child process attributes: /var/lib/apache2/fcgid/sock/27657.218
[Tue Jul 21 17:33:59 2009] [warn] (24)Too many open files: mod_fcgid: spawn process /var/www/hosting/users/user11/php-fastcgi/php4-fcgi error

Apache, PHP Fastcgi and PHP_FCGI_CHILDREN


We had long suspected that something wasn't quite acting as advertised with our PHP Fastcgi set up. Not that we had any issues, but like many tutorials recommend, we using a wrapper script to run the fastcgi enabled version of php. In that wrapper script we set PHP_FCGI_CHILDREN variable and exec'd php. Here is the snippet from our config:


ScriptAlias /php-fastcgi/ /path/to/users/home/php-fastcgi/
AddType application/x-httpd-fastphp .php
Action application/x-httpd-fastphp /php-fastcgi/php5-fcgi



Cisco wierdness


We found something rather strange today on our Cisco 4948s. Something that we probably wouldn't have noticed had it not been for RANCID. Our 4948s talk back to the rest of our network via OSPF. Because we only want to talk to our network via OSPF, we have "passive-interface default" as part of our OSPF configuration and have the interfaces we want specifically enabled with "no passive-interface".

Rails 2.2.2 and will_paginate bug


NoMethodError (undefined method `extract_attribute_names_from_match' for #):
/usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/activerecord-2.2.2/lib/active_record/base.rb:1833:in `method_missing_without_paginate'
/usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/will_paginate-2.2.2/lib/will_paginate/finder.rb:164:in `method_missing'
/usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/will_paginate-2.2.2/lib/will_paginate/finder.rb:206:in `wp_count'
/usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/will_paginate-2.2.2/lib/will_paginate/finder.rb:85:in `paginate'



GPLPV are drivers for Windows sitting on top of Xen to give better disk and network performance, similar to vmware-tools for VMware. There seems to to be little concrete information regarding these drivers, so I have begun to gather information at

Fun with VMware, Sun Ray server and Terminal Services


At work we have our guys running on Sun Ray terminals. These connect happily through to a Windows Terminal Services box which handles all of the sessions. Both the Solaris Sun Ray server and the Windows 2003 Server run as Virtual Machines under VMware ESXi.

The Big Virtualisation Project


Just a quick update about one of the projects we are working on at Global Dial. We are migrating data centre for some of our equipment and figured it was a good time to do a hardware refresh and re-assess how we are doing things. As a result, we will be moving all of our existing physical and virtual (ESXi) servers across to VMware Infrastructure. This is being done with some top level equipment:

  • Cisco 4948 switches
  • Sun X4140 servers with 2 x Quad Core, 64GB of RAM, 8 x 146GB SAS drives and dual power
  • NetApp storage with dual IO controllers

A quick introduction to Perlbal


If you're hoping to one day reach the point where your web application is growing to hundreds or thousands of hits per second then you need to be ready to scale out. One part of this involves being able to balance the load across a few backend servers, or just splitting your requests between static content (images, css, javascript) and application content. Enter Perlbal.

Openser, opensips, kamailio and configuration

We are currently using openser in our production environment as a SIP proxy. Yes, the version we are using goes back to the times when openser was still openser and not the two projects it is today, kamailio and opensips. Since we are now looking at some additional features, I was (yet again) having a look through the current feature lists of both opensips and kamailio to try to choose which one to go forward with.

Facebook security


Some good tips for all of us using Facebook:

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