Common Problems & Caveats#

There are a few issues which can crop up in the course of configuring and using Gravwell. This document attempts to cover some of the most common.

Clock Source Warning#

When running Gravwell in a virtualized environment such as KVM, you may see a notification like this:

Detected potentially slow clock source acpi_pm. Consider changing webservers and indexers to one of the following: tsc, kvm-clock

Because Gravwell is a heavily time-oriented system, it needs to check the current time frequently. Some clock sources are significantly slower than others, which can lead to a noticeable slowdown in Gravwell queries.

To modify the clock source, follow the directions here.


If you are unable to modify the clock source, this notification is only visible to the default ‘admin’ user, not to any other users, and can be ignored if necessary.

Cannot Reach Gravwell Interface#

After installing Gravwell, you may find that your web browser cannot reach the webserver, or that the webserver is not connecting to any indexers. This is frequently a result of closed firewall ports. Gravwell uses a number of TCP ports which must be opened for proper operation. Please refer to the networking considerations page for more information on which ports must be opened.

Configuring HTTPS and Secure Listeners#

By default, Gravwell does not include or generate TLS certificates. If you intend to use Gravwell on the Internet or any other untrusted network, we strongly recommend you install certificates as soon as possible. See the certificates page for instructions.


Gravwell requires certificates that are compatible with TLS 1.2 or later.

Gravwell Processes Won’t Start#

There are a few reasons that Gravwell components (webserver, indexers, searchagent, ingesters, etc.) may refuse to start.

Invalid Configuration#

An invalid configuration file will usually lead to the failure of the associated component. There are a few places you can look for more information.

  • /dev/shm/ usually contains the stderr output of the process in question, for example the webserver component will output to /dev/shm/gravwell_webserver.

  • /opt/gravwell/log contains log files from some components.

  • Depending on the precise nature of the misconfiguration, ingesters may log errors or warnings to the gravwell tag.

Ownership Issues#

The Gravwell components are intended to run as user “gravwell”. If the root user runs a Gravwell component manually, it may create or modify essential files and mark them as belonging to root. When run under the “gravwell” account later, the processes will not be able to access the files. You can use chown to reassign these files to the gravwell user, but take care not to modify anything in /opt/gravwell/bin as this can conflict with SELinux flags!


Do not modify permissions or ownership of files in /opt/gravwell/bin unless explicitly instructed by Gravwell support.

SELinux Issues#

Gravwell makes an attempt to properly flag files in /opt/gravwell for SELinux compatibility, but careless use of the chown and chmod commands in /opt/gravwell/bin can clear these flags. See the SELinux section of the hardening document for more information.

Gravwell Consumes Too Much Memory/CPU#

Because Gravwell often has to deal with huge quantities of data, we do not restrict how much memory or CPU time it can consume. If, however, you must run Gravwell on the same system as some other important software, you may wish to restrict its access to resources. In that case, see the “systemd Unit Files” section of the system hardening document.

Gravwell and Virtual Memory Areas#

Gravwell indexers use memory mapped (mmap) files to access stored data. Every mapped file counts against the indexer’s maximum number of memory mapped files, as dictated by the Linux Kernel. On some systems, and depending on the amount and granularity of data in your indexer, you may have to increase the allowed number of memory mapped files to avoid crashes. Crashes caused by exhausting the available number of memory mapped files usually appear as a malloc failure. On most modern Linux distributions, the default number of allowed memory mapped files is 65536.

To increase the number of allowed memory mapped files, use sysctl:

sysctl -w vm.max_map_count=262144

To permanently change the allowed number of memory mapped files, add the sysctl parameter to sysctl.conf:

echo vm.max_map_count=262144 >> /etc/sysctl.conf