Linux Operating System Configuration

The most important suggestions listed in this section can be easily applied by making use of a script. Please refer to the page Linux OS Tuning Script Examples for ready-to-use examples.

System Locales

Some systems may miss the required locale to start the server, resulting in an error message like the following:

FATAL [7ef60] {config} specified language 'en_US' does not match previously used language ''

The locale can be generated with the following command:

sudo locale-gen "en_US.UTF-8"

Your distribution may also provide a frontend for doing so, for instance dpkg-reconfigure locales on Debian.

If you don’t set a default language for the server explicitly, ArangoDB will use the default locale of your system.

The server language is stored in the LANGUAGE file in the database directory. This file should not be modified manually to bypass issues with the locale, because it may render indices invalid without raising a warning or error. Dumping the data and restoring it into an instance that has the correct language configured is advised.

File Systems

We recommend to not use BTRFS on linux, as user have reported issues using it in conjunction with ArangoDB. We experienced ArangoDB facing latency issues when accessing its database files on BTRFS partitions. In conjunction with BTRFS and AUFS we also saw data loss on restart.

We would not recommend network filesystems such as NFS for performance reasons, furthermore we experienced some issues with hard links required for Hot Backup.

Page Sizes

On Linux ArangoDB uses jemalloc as its memory allocator. Unfortunately, some OS configurations can interfere with jemalloc’s ability to function properly. Specifically, Linux’s “transparent hugepages”, Windows’ “large pages” and other similar features sometimes prevent jemalloc from returning unused memory to the operating system and result in unnecessarily high memory use. Therefore, we recommend disabling these features when using jemalloc with ArangoDB. Please consult your operating system’s documentation for how to do this.


sudo bash -c "echo madvise >/sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/enabled"
sudo bash -c "echo madvise >/sys/kernel/mm/transparent_hugepage/defrag"

before executing arangod.

Swap Space

It is recommended to assign swap space for a server that is running arangod. Configuring swap space can prevent the operating system’s OOM killer from killing ArangoDB too eagerly on Linux.

Overcommit Memory

The recommended kernel setting for overcommit_memory is 0 or 1. The Linux kernel default is 0.

You can set it as follows before executing arangod:

sudo bash -c "echo 0 >/proc/sys/vm/overcommit_memory"


  • When this flag is 0, the kernel attempts to estimate the amount of free memory left when userspace requests more memory.

  • When this flag is 1, the kernel pretends there is always enough memory until it actually runs out.

  • When this flag is 2, the kernel uses a “never overcommit” policy that attempts to prevent any overcommit of memory.

Experience has shown that setting overcommit_memory to a value of 2 has severe negative side-effects when running arangod, so it should be avoided at all costs.

Max Memory Mappings

Linux kernels by default restrict the maximum number of memory mappings of a single process to about 64K mappings. While this value is sufficient for most workloads, it may be too low for a process that has lots of parallel threads that all require their own memory mappings. In this case all the threads’ memory mappings will be accounted to the single arangod process, and the maximum number of 64K mappings may be reached. When the maximum number of mappings is reached, calls to mmap will fail, so the process will think no more memory is available although there may be plenty of RAM left.

To avoid this scenario, it is recommended to raise the default value for the maximum number of memory mappings to a sufficiently high value. As a rule of thumb, one could use 8 times the number of available cores times 8,000.

For a 32 core server, a good rule-of-thumb value thus would be 2,048,000 (32 * 8 * 8000). For certain workloads, it may be sensible to use even a higher value for the number of memory mappings.

To set the value once, use the following command before starting arangod:

sudo bash -c "sysctl -w 'vm.max_map_count=2048000'"

To make the settings durable, it will be necessary to store the adjusted settings in /etc/sysctl.conf or other places that the operating system is looking at.

Memory Limits

A long-running arangod process may accumulate a lot of virtual memory after a while, so it is recommended to not restrict the amount of virtual memory that a process can acquire, neither via using ulimit, cgroups or systemd.

Zone Reclaim


sudo bash -c "echo 0 >/proc/sys/vm/zone_reclaim_mode"

before executing arangod.


This is value ORed together of

  • 1 = Zone reclaim on
  • 2 = Zone reclaim writes dirty pages out
  • 4 = Zone reclaim swaps pages


Multi-processor systems often have non-uniform Access Memory (NUMA). ArangoDB should be started with interleave on such system. This can be achieved using

numactl --interleave=all arangod ...

Open Files Limit

An arangod instance may need to use a lot of file descriptors for working with files and network resources. It is therefore required to allow arangod processes to use a lot of file descriptors at the same time. A reasonable value for the maximum number of open file descriptors for an arangod process is 1048576. This should provide enough headroom so that arangod doesn’t run out of file descriptors.

The maximum number of file descriptors can be adjusted using ulimit, cgroups and systemd.

Environment Variables

It is recommended to set the environment variable GLIBCXX_FORCE_NEW to 1 on systems that use glibc++ in order to disable the memory pooling built into glibc++. That memory pooling is unnecessary because Jemalloc will already do memory pooling.



before starting arangod.


While it should be possible to compile ArangoDB on 32bit system, this is not a recommended environment. 64bit systems can address a significantly larger memory region. This is also the reason why only 64bit release builds are supplied by ArangoDB Inc.