The right way to discover and kill zombie processes in your Linux knowledge middle servers

Zombied processes can point out a software program downside. So when a course of goes full-on zombie, it’s good to know what to do.

The right way to discover and kill zombie processes in your Linux knowledge middle servers
Zombied processes can point out an issue with a bit of software program. Jack Wallen reveals you the best way to discover and kill these zombies in your Linux knowledge middle servers.


Wait. Unsuitable kind of zombies.

CPUUUU cycllllles.



Extra prefer it.

Occasionally a Linux course of goes astray and does nothing—not even gobble up CPU cycles. Though zombies do not use treasured sources (like a operating and rogue app would possibly), it may well pose a risk. How? When a course of is zombied, it retains its Course of ID (PID). Since Linux techniques have a finite variety of PIDs (though that quantity is fairly excessive), ought to sufficient PIDs be zombied, no different course of may launch.

SEE: Catastrophe restoration and enterprise continuity plan (Tech Professional Analysis)

Possibilities of that occuring are most unlikely. Nonetheless, extra importantly, zombied processes point out one thing has gone flawed with an software, and there is likely to be a bug in a selected program. Bugs on knowledge middle software program shouldn’t be tolerated and must be addressed. Till the flaw is addressed, you would possibly need to verify for and kill zombie processes.

So when a course of goes full-on zombie, what do you do? You discover and kill these zombie processes. Let me present you the way.

Discovering a zombie

The very first thing to do is to seek out the zombie course of. Happily, that is very easy, due to the ps command. Pipe the output of the ps command by way of grep to listing out any course of whose STAT is Z (for zombie). Open a terminal window and concern the next command:

ps aux | grep ‘Z’

The output of the above command will listing out any course of that features Z within the output (Determine A).

Figure A

Determine A: Loads of Zombied instructions.

As you may see, there are a selection of operating processes which have a Zombie standing. This command can even listing any course of that features the letter Z within the output, so it’s good to ignore something with out a Z within the STAT column.

Killing a zombie

As a substitute of decapitating, burning, or fully dismembering the zombie, we need to use the kill command to finish these zombies. The output of the primary command will embrace the PID of all zombied processes, so to kill a kind of, you concern the command:

kill PID

The place PID is the method ID of the method in query. So if you wish to kill the zombied thunderbird course of (with PID 20589), the command is:

kill 20589

And that is it.

You might get artful and cobble collectively a bash script to deal with this mechanically, nevertheless, you run the chance of killing a mandatory course of. Due to that threat, I at all times suggest caring for this process manually. That is very true, contemplating we’re working with a production-level, knowledge middle server (though I demonstrated on a desktop machine).

In case you discover providers and apps crashing on you, you need to verify for zombied processes and eliminate them. As soon as you understand which processes are being zombied, file a bug report or contact the developer and allow them to know (particularly if this turns into a daily prevalence for an software).

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Picture: Jack Wallen

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