Isolating a chronic rpmdb corruption problem.

Tristan Smith triss at
Mon Feb 10 22:35:57 UTC 2014

Hiya, folks.

I'm having a bit of a time in my CentOS 6 environment with what I'm
guessing is some kind of knuckleheaded behavior in one or more of my
We have Spacewalk and Puppet working in general harmony, but I have a
chronic issue with a significant percentage (call it... 10%) of my hosts
turning up with rpmdb problems on a regular basis.  Not the same hosts
every time, either. There's some correlation I'm drawing to relatively idle
systems, but it may be BS.

When yum tries to install on a borked systems, I get error 12s; db_verify
comes up with 'Cannot allocate memory' for Basenames (or sometimes just
Packages).  rpm --rebuilddb almost universally makes them okayish again,
but not entirely; I'm enjoying lost dependencies here and there (yum check
dependencies crying into its beer a lot, and I've got an xargs nightmare to
re-install the missing packages)

Basically, I've got a handle on an ever lengthening list of mitigation
methods, but what I can't seem to isolate is whodunit. I have no idea
what's reaching into the DB hamfisted and making a mess quite so often.

Does anyone have suggestions as to what in hell I should be doing to narrow
down causes?
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