KB: 19032014-001: Fixing kernel memory allocation problem


If after enabling the firewall you get the following error:

iptables: Memory allocation problem

Or at the server logs you find the following indications:

vmap allocation for size 9146368 failed: use vmalloc= to increase size.

This means the kernel internal memory has reached valloc limit.

Affected releases

All Core-Admin releases that uses a Linux kernel superior or equal to 2.6.32.


The first step is to check current limit. To that end, run the following:

>> cat /proc/meminfo | grep -i vmalloc
VmallocTotal: 124144 kB
VmallocUsed: 5536 kB
VmallocChunk: 1156 kB

In this example, VmallocTotal is telling us we have around 128M of allowed valloc memory.

With this value, we have to increase it to something bigger like 256M or a 384M (which may be too much).


To update this value we have to pass a parameter to the kernel at boot time.

The exact parameter is vmalloc=256M (configuring the right amount of memory you want). According to the boot loader you are using you’ll have to do the following:

1) LILO: Edit  /etc/lilo.conf to update the append declaration like follows:

image = /boot/vmlinuz
root = /dev/hda1
append = "vmalloc=256M"

2) GRUB 1.0: edit “kopt” variable at /boot/grub/menu.lst to include the declaration. A working example is:

kopt=root=UUID=b530efc1-0b0c-419e-affb-87eb9e18b0dc ro vmalloc=256M

After that, save the file and reload grub configurationl. This is usually done with:

>> update-grub

3) GRUB 2.0 edit /etc/default/grub to update GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT variable to include the following declaration:


After that, you must reload configuration. This is usually done with:

>> update-grub

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