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What are all these "Bug: soft lockup" messages about?

This document (7017652) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.

Environment

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12

Situation

In the system log (/var/log/messages or journalctl) a lot of the following messages is printed.
May 25 07:23:59 XXXXXXX kernel: [13445315.881356] BUG: soft lockup - CPU#16 stuck for 23s! [yyyyyyy:81602]

followed by various stack traces. This document tries to explain what the soft lockup messages mean.


Resolution

Under normal circumstances those messages may go away if the load decreased.
This 'soft lockup' can happen if the kernel is busy, working on a huge amount of objects which need to be scanned, freed or allocated respectively.
The stack traces of those tasks can give a first idea what the tasks were doing. However, to be able to examine the cause behind the messages, a kernel dump would be needed.

You cannot disable those messages, however in some situations increasing the time when those
soft lockups will be fired can relax the situation.
Do do so just increase the following sysctl parameter: kernel.watchdog_thresh
Default value for this parameter is 10 and to double the value might be a good start.

A TID which explains how to configure and capture kernel dump can be found on the SUSE Support Website.

Cause

A 'soft lockup' is defined as a bug that causes the kernel to loop in kernel mode for more than 20 seconds, without giving other tasks a chance to run.
The watchdog daemon will send an non maskable interrupt (NMI) to all CPUs in the system who in turn print the stack traces of their currently running tasks.

Disclaimer

This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for NetIQ/Novell/SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7017652
  • Creation Date:31-MAY-16
  • Modified Date:28-AUG-17
    • SUSESUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
      SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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