kvm guests gets shutdown with 'pthread_create failed: Resource temporarily unavailable' messages under files in /var/log/libvirt/qemu/

Solution Verified - Updated -


  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6
  • kvm


  • kvm guests gets shutdown with following messages under files in /var/log/libvirt/qemu/
pthread_create failed: Resource temporarily unavailable
  • Increasing nproc is not helping.
*          hard    nproc     <value>
  • 90-nproc.conf limits are not getting set in /proc/pidof qemu-kvm/limits file.


  • Make sure that libvirt is 0.8.7-18.el6 or higher.

  • Edit /etc/libvirt/qemu.conf and change following..

# max_processes = 0


max_processes = 4096
  • Stop all guests:
# service libvirt-guests stop
  • Restart libvirtd:
# service libvirtd restart 
  • Start guests:
# service libvirt-guests start
  • Check cat /proc/pidof qemu-kvm/limits to see if the limits are set.

  • If Committed_AS is reaching CommitLimit with vm.overcommit_memory set to 2, try setting it to 0.

Root Cause

  • qemu-kvm process inherits the ulimit settings from libvirtd.

  • If 'init' started libvirtd at system boot, it would get the limits from init, which will be passed on to qemu-kvm. Which would be a high value.

  • If the libvirtd is started after boot then the limits from 90-nproc.conf will be set to qemu-kvm processes started after it.

  • Reaching Committed_AS reaching CommitLimit can also result in this, when vm.overcommit_memory is set to 2 .

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this also happens when you use


Removing the locked flag solves the issue