Getting SAS Software running on CrunchBang Linux 64-bit

This is a follow-up to my prior post on Getting SAS® Software running on Arch Linux 64-bit. In my quest for a new Linux distro the next stop was CrunchBang Linux. I like the look of CrunchBang because it’s lightweight, based on Debian, and uses Openbox by default. Being Debian based, like Ubuntu, I get to re-use the knowledge I gained from using Ubuntu over the last few years (it’s hard not to automatically type apt-get whenever I want to install something!). CrunchBang is not a rolling release distro like Arch or Gentoo but it’s other attributes make it well worth a look. I’ve seen a disclaimer on the web site where they say it “… could possibly make your computer go CRUNCH! BANG!” but from everything else I’ve read it sounds pretty stable. Anyway, I like my (own) computers to go crunch bang every now and then – it’s a great opportunity to learn something new ;)

I installed the CrunchBang 11 “Waldorf” 64-bit testing image in a multi-boot configuration, alongside Arch and Ubuntu, to test it with our existing SAS deployments. These are the steps I needed to take to get the existing SAS software installation running on CrunchBang 64-bit. As with Arch, no changes were needed to the SAS deployments, it just required a few minor changes and additional libraries for the CrunchBang installation.

After CrunchBang had been installed and I’d mounted the SAS installation volume, I tried to run SAS 9.3 M2 first and got the following error: Continue reading “Getting SAS Software running on CrunchBang Linux 64-bit”

Getting SAS Software running on Arch Linux 64-bit

Recently, I’ve been looking to switch from Ubuntu to an alternative distro as the primary Linux platform for our Metacoda development/testing environments, where we also run SAS® software. I’ve run quite a few distros in my time including Slackware, RedHat (pre-Fedora), Fedora, Gentoo & Ubuntu. Ideally I’d like something lighter and perhaps a rolling release too: lighter, so more resources go to SAS; rolling release, because given the choice I prefer regular small upgrades to occasional big upgrades. One of the potential candidates is Arch Linux and so I’ve recently installed it, in a multi-boot configuration with the existing Ubuntu installation, to test it with our existing SAS installations. This is one of the things I love about running SAS on Linux. The SAS software gets installed and configured once and the underlying operating system can be completely upgraded or replaced without having to re-install SAS. It might just take the installation of a few libraries to get everything working again but that’s not much compared to the effort of re-installing and configuring our SAS 9.3 M2, SAS 9.3 M0, SAS 9.2 and SAS 9.1.3 SP4 dev/test environments.

These are the steps I needed to take to get the existing SAS software installation running on Arch Linux 64-bit. No changes were needed to the SAS deployments, it just required a few additional libraries to be added to the Arch installation. If you’re wondering why several SAS versions?, it’s because we need to test our Metacoda software with each of them. The SAS 9.3 and 9.2 installations are 64-bit and the older SAS 9.1.3 installation is 32-bit (so takes a bit more work).

SAS 9.3 (and 9.2)

After Arch had been installed and I’d mounted the SAS installation volume, I tried to run SAS 9.3 M2 first and got the following error: Continue reading “Getting SAS Software running on Arch Linux 64-bit”

SAS & JBoss: Too Many Open Files

I’ve been seeing some ‘Too many open files‘ exceptions in the SAS® mid-tier JBoss logs on my Ubuntu Linux server. I was surprised about this because I remember during installation I had followed the guidance in the SAS documentation and increased the nofile limit. It turns out that verifying the ulimit from a normal console/ssh login was not sufficient, I should have also verified it from an su based login too.

These were the sorts of messages I was seeing in the JBoss logs:

2012-03-11 09:22:38,463 ERROR [org.apache.tomcat.util.net.JIoEndpoint] Socket accept failed
java.net.SocketException: Too many open files
...
2012-03-11 08:57:19,454 ERROR [org.apache.catalina.core.StandardContext] Error reading tld listeners java.io.FileNotFoundException: /opt/jboss-4.2.3.GA/server/SASServer3/work/jboss.web/localhost/SASBIDashboard/tldCache.ser (Too many open files)
...

There are some Pre-Installation Steps for JBoss for both SAS 9.3 and SAS 9.2 that should be followed during installation to avoid these errors. These were the instructions I had followed, but as you’ll see in a moment, it wasn’t quite enough for this (unsupported) Ubuntu installation.

The instructions specify to edit the /etc/security/limits.conf file directly. Rather than editing this main config file, where the settings might get forgotten or lost during an upgrade, I placed the settings I required for my SAS installation in their own dedicated config file: /etc/security/limits.d/sas.conf

# Increase the open file descriptors limit from the default of 1024 to 30720 for JBoss running web apps for SAS 9.2/9.3
* - nofile 30720

I knew that this had taken effect because I logged in, via ssh, to verify it as the sas user (I run JBoss as the sas user). Checking the ulimit I saw the following:

sas@server:~$ ulimit -Hn;ulimit -Sn
30720
30720

With nofile at 30270, how was it I was still getting ‘Too many open files‘ errors? After a quick session on Google I found a blog post suggesting the increased limits will only apply if the pam_limits PAM module is enabled.

Checking the /etc/pam.d/login file I could see the pam_limits line was already present and uncommented:
...
session required pam_limits.so
...

This made sense since the console/ssh login showed the expected numbers.

Google also led me to a stackoverflow question (how do i set hard and soft file limits for a non-root user at boot?). The answer provided there indicated that, for su commands, you also need to verify the pam_limits module is enabled in an additional su specific PAM config file, which on my machine was /etc/pam.d/su. My JBoss init script runs as root during system startup but uses su to run JBoss as the sas user. Looking in /etc/pam.d/su I could see that the pam_limits line was commented so perhaps that was the issue.

Before making the necessary changes, I verified the nofile ulimit for the sas user by running su as root:

root@server:~# su sas --login --command 'ulimit -Hn;ulimit -Sn'
1024
1024

Aha! It had the 1024 default rather then the increased value. It looked like this was indeed the problem. I uncommented the pam_limits line in /etc/pam.d/su and repeated the test:

root@server:~# su sas --login --command 'ulimit -Hn;ulimit -Sn'
30720
30720

It now shows the increased value as expected, so it looks like the problem’s fixed. I restarted JBoss and haven’t seen any ‘Too many open files‘ errors since.

New Admin Forum on SAS Communities

I read some great SAS news this weekend. I found out there’s a new admin related forum on the SAS Communities site! If you head over to http://communities.sas.com/ and look in the list of Communities and Forums you’ll see a new header, Deployment & Administration of SAS Software, and a new forum called SAS Deployment:

In the announcement Mark Schneider, R&D Director – Deployment, SAS Institute Inc. said the following:

“We’ve received quite a few requests for a SAS Community for SAS Administrators, and as an initial response, we’ve created this SAS Deployment Community.”

Thanks to Mark and the SAS Communities administrators for setting up this new forum.

When I read the announcement I also wondered whether the phrase “initial response” and the fact that the new forum is listed under a heading of its own, could mean we might possibly see additional forums in the future on other specific admin topics (like EG Admin, Web Admin, Security Admin etc). What do you think? From my perspective I’m just pleased there’s an admin forum. If it sees so much activity that more specific ones get created down the track that could be a bonus, but for now I’m just happy there’s a new home for admin discussions.

Hope to see you in the new SAS Communities admin forum. :)

SAS Deployment Manager 9.3

I noticed the user interface for the SAS® Deployment Manager 9.3 has changed slightly.

Here is a screenshot from my “old” SAS 9.2 M3 installation:

… and here’s the screenshot from my new SAS 9.3 installation:

I’m guessing that the new hierarchical folder structure is going to allow for more tools to added.

Interestingly there’s a new Apply Hot Fixes item at the bottom of the list of tools. This new tool is also mentioned in the SAS 9.3 hotfixes area under Important Changes to Hot Fixes. Initially I wondered if this was going to replace the SAS92HFADD tool, but then I saw there’s a SAS 9.3 Hot Fix Analysis, Download and Deployment Tool (SAS93HFADD) that’s currently marked as Under Development. I really liked SAS92HFADD (I did a couple of posts about my experiences with it here and here), so I’ll be interested to see SAS93HFADD when it’s available.

The documentation for the updated SAS Deployment Manager is in the SAS Deployment Wizard and SAS Deployment Manager 9.3: User’s Guide which is available from a link at the bottom of the SAS 9.3 Install Center Documentation page. This is one of those documents that I don’t refer to often enough to always remember where to find it. I hope it makes it onto the very useful, all-in-one page SAS 9.3 Documentation by Title.