file-max :

The Linux Operating system kernel allocates file handles dynamically and the value in file-max denotes the maximum number of file handles that the Linux kernel will allocate. When you get a lot of error messages about “running out of  file handles” , increasing this limit will help. To change the value, just  write the new number  into the file as below:

 [root@unixfoo root]# cat /proc/sys/fs/file-max
 [root@unixfoo root]# echo 943718 > /proc/sys/fs/file-max
 [root@unixfoo root]# cat /proc/sys/fs/file-max
 [root@unixfoo root]#

This value also can be changed using “sysctl” command. To make the change permanent, add the entries to /etc/sysctl.conf

 [root@unixfoo root]# cat /etc/sysctl.conf
 fs.file-max = 943718
 [root@unixfoo root]#

file-nr :

The three values in /proc/sys/fs/file-nr denotes the number of allocated file handles, the number of allocated but unused file handles, and the maximum number of file handles. You can monitor this to keep a check on the file handles.

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