Spamassassin timeouts - Just an observation

Steve Campbell campbell at
Mon Jan 19 14:59:05 GMT 2009

Martin Hepworth wrote:
> I'd drop the SARE rules back in, one at a time and see if any trigger
> the timeouts. Do you run sa-compile as this can help a great deal
> pre-compiling the perl RE into C.
> --
> martin
> 2009/1/18 Steve Campbell <campbell at>:
>> Quoting "Koopmann, Jan-Peter" <jan-peter at>:
>>> Hi,
>>>> The topic seems to come up quite often, and although the answers are
>>>> usually pretty much the same, I never really see much of a "Solved"
>>> reply.
>>> are you using by any chance. There was a bug in one of the
>>> older versions causing sporadic SpamAssassin timouts.. I looked for ages
>>> and on my systems the old triggered it. Updated (without
>>> changing anything else) and never seen the error again. Just an indea.
>>> Regards,
>>>   JP
>>> --
>> Jan-Peter,
>> So far, it appears the extra rules from SARE was the biggest contributor. I have
>> removed all of the sets from my sa-update and the problems almost disappeared. I
>> do not run
>> The most common problem with these timeouts always seemed to be DNS and RBLs,
>> but I wasn't seeing any problems there. I kept looking there though. I was also
>> being fooled by high, but not critical load averages. I have duplicate servers
>> that were not timing out with similar load averages, rules, and daily email
>> counts. The non-problem machine was getting it's email spread out over the
>> course of a day, whereas the problem machine was receiving large batches at
>> different times of the day.
>> Once I started reviewing the mailscanner-mrtg plots, I saw this. Another thing
>> that threw me off was the fact that no matter how many emails arrived at one
>> time, the LA would spike to 3.5 or higher on either machine. The high message
>> per batch count would cause the LA to gradually creep higher, but the smaller
>> batches would give constant LAs. The low amount of RAM for both machines explain
>> that.
>> I had been fooled by MS doing such a good job for years, and just wasn't
>> thinking very clearly about what could have caused this. Two upgrades ago, I
>> started using the new sa-update feature and added the rules using that. It
>> didn't show immediate changes to the way the machines acted over a week or so,
>> so I never thought it was a problem. The load averages are still fluctuating,
>> but batch times are considerably lower, which allows faster throughput, and less
>> timeouts on the machines. I hope the RAM I have ordered will fix the rest of it.
>> I'm sorry to have caused such a stir with all of this, as this thread has went
>> on way to long. I've sharpened my MS diagnostic skills, though, and hope it
>> might have helped others - the information everyone has provided has been very good.
>> Thanks to all again,
>> steve

I plan on adding the rules back as you suggest, but I will do so after I 
install the RAM that's on it's way. I'm still getting significant 
timeouts on the problem server, but not like before. I want to see if 
the RAM will stop them first, as this machine gets batches of emails 
from mail lists for our reporters, and I can't do anything about that.



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