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session_start hangs in Varien.php

session_start hangs in Varien.php

I am using Magento Everything was working ok until recently.
Suddenly the session_start() function started hanging (I found this from slow log.)
It happens atleast once in every week. When it happens, I have to restart php-fpm and mariadb server and reindex everything.
Then everything will be fine for around one week.
Once the session_start() starts hanging, all the call to API will hang and finally php-fpm stops responding.
The sessions are stored in the folder /var/www/catalog/var/sessions/ . There is no space or permission problem in this directory.
I found 575024 files in that directory, is that a problem? Can I clear everything in this directory? Is the session file supposed to get deleted when the http request ends?
I recently moved the database from mysql to mariadb, and after that only the problem started appearing. Is there any configuration I need to check in mariadb?

backtrace from slow log shows where the code hangs, it is below.

script_filename = /var/www/catalog/index.php
[0x00007f70016fb458] session_start() /var/appdata/catalog/app/code/core/Mage/Core/Model/Session/Abstract/Varien.php:125
[0x00007f70016fb108] start() /var/appdata/catalog/app/code/core/Mage/Core/Model/Session/Abstract/Varien.php:168
[0x00007f70016faf90] init() /var/appdata/catalog/app/code/core/Mage/Core/Model/Session/Abstract.php:84
[0x00007f70016fae08] init() /var/appdata/catalog/app/code/core/Mage/Core/Model/Session.php:42
[0x00007f70016faba8] __construct() /var/appdata/catalog/app/code/core/Mage/Core/Model/Config.php:1348
[0x00007f70016faa60] getModelInstance() /var/appdata/catalog/app/Mage.php:462
[0x00007f70016fa820] getModel() /var/appdata/catalog/app/Mage.php:476
[0x00007f70016f97f8] getSingleton() /var/appdata/catalog/app/code/core/Mage/Core/Controller/Varien/Action.php:493
[0x00007f70016f9650] preDispatch() /var/appdata/catalog/app/code/core/Mage/Core/Controller/Front/Action.php:64
[0x00007f70016f8908] preDispatch() /var/appdata/catalog/app/code/core/Mage/Core/Controller/Varien/Action.php:407
[0x00007f70016f74e8] dispatch() /var/appdata/catalog/app/code/core/Mage/Core/Controller/Varien/Router/Standard.php:250
[0x00007f70016f6ec8] match() /var/appdata/catalog/app/code/core/Mage/Core/Controller/Varien/Front.php:172
[0x00007f70016f68a0] dispatch() /var/appdata/catalog/app/code/core/Mage/Core/Model/App.php:354
[0x00007f70016f5d90] run() /var/appdata/catalog/app/Mage.php:683
[0x00007f70016f5720] run() /var/appdata/catalog/index.php:88


- Regards,
Rajeev K


Re: session_start hangs in Varien.php

I'd recommend setting up and using Redis for sessions. You're far less likely to run into performance issues over using the filesystem. 

If you've found one of my answers useful, please give "Kudos" or "Accept as Solution" as appropriate. Thanks!