Jenkins out of inodes

The first symptom that something really strange was at play, was that some Jenkins jobs, for some seemingly completely illogical reason, started to fail jobs. After hours of trying to tweak the job's configuration, I logged on to the server to find that it was slow and constantly gave "No space left on device" errors.

df reported only 75% usage leaving me somewhat puzzled. However, as a few times before, it was because the server was out of inodes, not space, that this error message was given. A quick:

$ df -i /

Showed that the kernel didn't have any inodes to spare. Something had to be done. I fired off this command to get a list of directories containing the most files on the system. I let it run in the nohup wrapper so that I could exit the shell and go home while it finished up:

$ echo "find / -xdev -printf '%h\n' | sort | uniq -c | sort -k 1 -n" >
$ nohup &

After some investigation, it turned out that Jenkins was to blame, and specifically two of its concepts: fingerprints and config history. E.g. there were 2,711,693 inodes just because of the Jenkins configuration history:

$ awk '/config-history/{ c += $1; } END { print c; }' nohup.out 

The finger print is an XML file for each build it has ever done (!) to facilitates nice cross referencing like "this artifact has been used in the following jobs " and so on. The config history is an XML backup created each time someone changes something in any of the build jobs through Jenkins' web UI.

I therefore wrote this wee script that deletes files older than one year for a selected set of Jenkins directories.

This has two objectives: Save inodes and save diskspace. The first is by far the most pressing one as Jenkins creates a lot of files and although these may not all be big, like configuration files, they all need an inode, which the kernel has a limited set of.

#! /usr/bin env bash

main() {
  local base_dir=/var/lib/jenkins
  local dir_list="

  for dir in ${dir_list}; do
    /usr/bin/find "${dir}" -type f -mtime +365 -delete
    /usr/bin/find "${dir}" -type d -empty -delete

main "$@"

After running this script, the inode usage dropped from 100% to 33%.

To prevent this problem from reoccuring, I added it to the cront tab for the Hudson user:

$ crontab -e

And added this to make it run every week on Saturday:

* * * * 6 $HOME/bin/delete-old-jenkins-files

That's hopefully the last time we'll see Jenkins all of a sudden throwing unexplainable errors due to the lack of inodes 😄

Licensed under CC BY Creative Commons License ~ ✉ torstein.k.johansen @ gmail ~ 🐘 ~ 🐦 @torsteinkrause