/etc/system viruses

There is a class of problems I call "/etc/system viruses" which occur when someone blindly copies someone else's /etc/system settings. This can really cause problems in addition to the propagation of inappropriate settings.

For example, there is at least one Sun Cluster customer who has


set halt_on_panic=1

in /etc/system. This setting means the system will not automatically reboot after a panic.

There may be a good reason for this setting. Perhaps this is a test cluster. Perhaps they have a 24x7x365 managed datacenter and this is their policy.

I do not recommend this as standard operating procedure for most cases because human intervention will be required to boot if there is a panic. Fortunately, panics are not very common. In general, if you are trying to build a highly available system, then you want to reduce scenarios where human intervention is required.

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