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Problems with /var partition filling up all the time [Linux Red Hat 7.3]

Posted on 2007-03-20
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I am having a huge problem here with my /var partition filling up on my Linux Red Hat box. This is stopping all email sent from my web server due to lack of space. I usually solve the problem by deleting log files and other miscelaneous stuff on the /var directory but this time I ran out of files to delete.
So I was investigating and it seems like /var/lib/rpm is taking up a lot of space (26 MB) that I could use. Can I just delete this directory? Why is it so big??? I don't understand.
[root@internal var]# pwd
/var
[root@internal var]# du -sh *
41k     arpwatch
1.9M    cache
1.0k    db
2.0k    gdm
26M     lib
1.0k    local
2.0k    lock
3.2M    log
12k     lost+found
0       mail
1.0k    nis
1.0k    opt
1.0k    preserve
25k     run
29k     spool
1.0k    tmp
1.0k    tux
7.0k    webmin
1.1M    www
20k     yp
[root@internal var]#

As you can see the only thing there taking up a lot of space is lib which insisde contains RPM files which are taking a lot of space. Can I go ahead and delete those files or just empty whatever is in them.


Also notice that when I do : df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda6             372M  142M  211M  41% /
/dev/hda1              45M   18M   25M  42% /boot
/dev/hda5              11G  3.1G  7.3G  30% /home
none                  314M     0  313M   0% /dev/shm
/dev/hda2              24G  1.2G   21G   5% /usr
/dev/hda7             251M  238M     0 100% /var

/var seems to have 251 MB of space but when I do

[root@internal /]# du -sh *
5.8M    bin
14M     boot
270k    dev
5.9M    etc
3.1G    home
1.0k    initrd
92M     lib
12k     lost+found
1.0k    misc
3.0k    mnt
1.0k    opt
du: `proc/16060/fd/3': No such file or directory
2.0k    proc
4.7M    root
8.5M    sbin
115k    tmp
1.1G    usr
32M     var

It says var only is using 32MB?
How can this be?

I am somwhat stumped and I need my web server to start sending emails asap.
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Question by:caragol
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Accepted Solution

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sjm_ee earned 250 total points
ID: 18759275
You say "/var/lib/rpm is taking up a lot of space (26 MB)" but that's trivial on your disk overall.

More important is /var showing 238MB used in df but only 32MB in du.  This is usually caused by a file that had been deleted but is still open by one or more processes. Try this command:

lsof -a +L1 /var
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Author Comment

by:caragol
ID: 18759294
well I just solved my problem. I rebooted the webserver. I know df and du can give different results depending on which files have been deleted and are still in use ETC. Anyway is there a way to do this without rebooting, I really should not be solving this problem via reboot. I will give the points to anyone who lets me know how to accomplish this without a reboot.

best.
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Expert Comment

by:Tintin
ID: 18759987
Your /var filesystem is way too undersized.  You should make /var as big as you can afford.  For a disk your size 2GB would have been more sensible.
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by:Hanno Schröder
ID: 21169841
No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned.

I will leave the following recommendation for this question in the Cleanup Zone:
ACCEPT sjm_ee's comment {http:#18759275} as answer.

Any objections should be posted here in the next 4 days. After that time, the question will be closed.
JustUNIX, Experts Exchange Cleanup Volunteer
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by:Computer101
ID: 21198252
Forced accept.

Computer101
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