CERN LFC Home Page


This page defines the installation, configuration and the procedures related to the CERN LFC service.

This page documents the current situation. It does not cover requirements or issues. These are covered in the LfcNotes. |




The CERN LFC service is defined as a critical service in the services catalog.

The LFC is a core grid component which provides resolution from logical names to physical locations for replicas of files on the Grid. It can be used in two modes:

  • Central : Here a single central catalog is used to store pointers to either the site or the actual physical location of a file for all VO files in the grid
  • Local : Here there is a catalog per site which stores mappings from logical to physical names for all VO files at that particular site.
We provide a highly available, fault tolerant configuration for both central and local catalog for LHC VOs which require them. We also provide some catch-all central catalogs for other CERN & HEP VOs.

LFC Central Catalogs

Alias Supported VOs Database instance Comment
prod-lfc-atlas ATLAS, OPS LCGR  
prod-lfc-shared-central DTEAM, UNOSAT, GEANT4, GEAR, SIXT, OPS LCGR  
prod-lfc-lhcb-central LHCb, OPS LHCBR read-write instance
prod-lfc-lhcb-ro LHCb, OPS LHCBR read-only instance

Installation and Configuration

The main cluster in CDB is gridlfc.

The base CDB template for this cluster is prod/cluster/gridlfc/config.tpl

Configuration specific to subclusters are

The production servers are currently all running SLC5.

Users and Processes

The LFC processes run under the lfcmgr account and group. The reserved accounts and uid/gid values for grid server processes are here. These are delivered to the node via SINDES.

LFC daemon configuration

There is no specific NCM Component for the LFC, but we instead use some other generic components, like exportconf and SINDES. There is a CDB component description "/software/components/lfc/" in which you put the LFC configuration. this must be set before the pro_system_gridlfc template is included. The following values are currently supported:

Name Values Description
alias   This is one of the aliases listed above. It is used to extract a suitable DB connect string from the SINDES LFCnsconfig component
readonly true, false Is this catalog readonly ? This will updated the /etc/sysconfig/lfcdaemon file apropriately

# LFC Sysconfig configuration
  include pro_declaration_component_lfc;
  "/software/components/lfc/active"    = true;

LFC Sysconfig file creation

We use the NCM exportconf component to re-write the lfcdaemon and lfc-dli sysconfig files. An example is :

 "/software/components/exportconf/active"              = true;
 "/software/components/exportconf/dispatch"            = default(true);

"/software/components/exportconf/lfc-dli/rules" = push(nlist(
        "file",         "/etc/sysconfig/lfc-dli",
        "template",     "/etc/sysconfig/lfc-dli.templ",
        "rules",        nlist("LFC_HOST",hostname)));

"/software/components/exportconf/lfcdaemon/rules" = push(nlist(
        "file",         "/etc/sysconfig/lfcdaemon",
        "template",     "/etc/sysconfig/lfcdaemon.templ",
        "rules",        nlist("NB_THREADS", "40",
                              "RUN_LFCDAEMON", "yes",
                              "ORACLE_HOME", "/usr/lib/oracle/",
                              "TNS_ADMIN", "/etc")));

"/software/components/exportconf/lfcdaemon/rules/0/rules" = 
  if( exists ("software/components/lfc/readonly") && (value("/software/components/lfc/readonly") == true)) {
           nlist("RUN_READONLY", "yes"));
  } else {

Trusted Hosts

The LFC uses the shift.conf file to specify external hosts on which the root account should be consider as the root user within the LFC. This is used for admin tasks, and also by LHCb to allow their DIRAC nodes to have access directly to the catalog. This is controlled by the castorconf NCM component:

  # Enable the trusted hosts for the LFC
  #  LHCb hosts have extra on their central R/W and R/O catalogs
  define variable lhcb_trusted_hosts = "lxgate03 lxgate05 lxgate14 lxgate34";
  define variable admin_trusted_hosts = "lxadm01 lxadm02 lxadm03";

  "/software/components/castorconf/LFC/TRUST" = 
   if ( exists("/system/vo/lhcb/services/LFC") && value("/system/vo/lhcb/services/LFC") == "central") {
        admin_trusted_hosts + " " + lhcb_trusted_hosts;
   } else {

To Add another host for either admin or LHCb purposes, simply update the appropriate variable, and re-run the castorconf NCM component.

Oracle RAC Database backend

The database backend for the Production LFCs (central and local) at CERN is Oracle 10g on RAC. The database / service name is lcg_lfc at CERN.

Database Connection Configuration File

The only LFC configuration file is /opt/lcg/etc/NSCONFIG contains the database connection parameters :

cat /opt/lcg/etc/NSCONFIG


This file is delivered by SINDES, along with the host certificates, configured in pro_system_gridlfc.tpl.

#   SINDES config - used to deliver the LFC DB connect string  
 "/software/components/sindes/items/lfcNSCONFIG" = nlist("method", "file", "scope", "cluster");
 "/software/components/sindes/items/grid-host-certificates" = nlist("method","file","scope","node");
 "/software/components/sindes/all" = "passwd-header,group-header,lfcNSCONFIG,grid-host-certificates";

Information System

Currently we use a BDII instead of globus-mds to run the GRIS. We also publish into the info sys the LFC alias, rather than the hostname. The BDII is currently hand-configured by using the run_function yaim script on config_bdii, but will be in yaim after glite 3.0 is released.

Management Procedures


For the LFC, we need to remove the nodes from the load-balanced alias when in standby or maintenance. Currently we use /usr/libexec/SetToDesiredState.gridbdii is used to put the nodes into production/maintenance. On maintenance, there is NO /etc/nologin file, overwise the bdii deamon cannot be started.

NOTE : We should, either rename this script to something more general, or create a LFC specific one.

Standard Operations Procedures

How to split a database backend


Lemon Alarms

In addition to the OS standard alarms, specific Lemon Alarms have been defined for the LFC:

Alarm name Description Comment
LFCDAEMON_WRONG No lfcdaemon process running  
LFC_DLI_WRONG No lfc-dli process running  
LFC_DB_ERROR ORA-number string detected in /var/log/lfc/log  
LFC_NOREAD can't stat given directory trying to read /grid/ops/
LFC_NOWRITE can't utime on file  
LFC_SLOWREADDIR excessive time taken to read directory time > 10 s
LFC_ACTIVE_CONN number of active connections to LFC use netstat

To configure this for a machine, there are two CDB profiles

The pro_monitoring_cos_gridlfc profile defines the templates for the monitors.

Within the profile pro_system_gridlfc, the pro_monitoring_cos_grid_lfc template is included and the metrics are set to active.

The data will be stored in the Lemon database and visible through the lemon interface. An example is Number of LFC Processes.

These alarms, along with all standard alarms on the nodes, are handled by the operator and sysadmin teams. the procedures are all stored in OPM

Load Balancing

We use the standard DNS load-balancing mechanism provided at CERN (DnsAliases). The alias to be used for a particular host is specified in the CDB variable "/software/components/lfc/alias". This is then used to configure the loadbalancing component on the node:

# DNS Alias name in FQDN 
define variable aliasname = if(exists("/software/components/lfc/alias")) {
   value("/software/components/lfc/alias") + "." + value("/system/network/domainname");
} else {


  "/software/components/loadbalancing/clustername" =  
    if(exists("/software/components/lfc/alias")) {

The LEMON exception which takes the node out of the alias is 30075. This is a alarm which merges together the three possible error alarms LFC_NOREAD, LFC_NOWRITE and LFCDAEMON_WRONG

# JC - This alarm is only an aggregate for the lbclient system, and should
# not be raised to the operator
"/system/monitoring/exception/_30075" = nlist(
        "name",         "lfc_noservice",
        "descr",        "LFC Service not available",
        "active",       true,
        "latestonly",   false,
        "importance",   2,
        "correlation",  "39:1 != 1 || 5202:1 != 0 || 5203:1 != 0"

Problem Determination

Here is what to do in case of a problem with the LFC :

LFC Smoke Tests and Actions


There are 2 daemons running on an LFC machine :

  • lfcdaemon
  • lfc-dli
To start/stop and get the status of a daemon, use :
  • service lfcdaemon start|stop|status
  • service lfc-dli start|stop|status
The cluster is configured so that lfcdaemon and lfc-dli are automatically started at boot.

There should be 40 LFC threads running under the lfcmgr account:

Note: there can be more lfcdaemon threads (see the -t number option and /etc/sysconfig/lfcdaemon)...

The status check should return OK:

service lfcdaemon status
lfcdaemon (pid 2632) is running...                         [  OK  ]

service lfc-dli status
lfc-dli (pid 2656) is running...                           [  OK  ]

Daemons should start after boot (chkconfig mechanism) with the rolling logs in :


If the daemons are not running after reboot look at the log. You could try to start them using :

service lfcdaemon start
service lfc-dli start

If the load is high, all the 20 threads might be occupied, the LFC_NOREADDIR error will occur, and the users might see this :

$ lfc-ls /grid
send2nsd: NS002 - connect error : Connection timed out
/grid/atlas: Communication error

You can check if all the threads are often in use by checking the /var/log/lfc/log file :

tail -f /var/log/lfc/log

03/23 13:51:01  2631,0 Cns_srv_mkdir: NS092 - mkdir request by /C=CH/O=CERN/OU=GRID/CN=Sophie Lemaitre 2268 (18947,2688) from
03/23 13:51:01  2631,0 Cns_srv_mkdir: NS098 - mkdir /grid/dteam/tests1  777 22
03/23 13:51:01  2631,0 Cns_srv_mkdir: returns 0
              here: thread #0 used

DB Configuration Details

Writer / Reader account

For security reasons, the Physics Database team at CERN requires the use of writer / reader accounts by applications.

The writer / reader accounts have limited privileges on the LFC Oracle tables, sequences and views - compared to the owner account.

The scripts granting the appropriate privileges for the LFC accounts are in :

ls /afs/


Everytime there is a schema change, you have to run them for each account in use :

  • set the correct user name in create-reader-account.sql, create-writer-account.sql and create-synonym.sql.
  • run the create-reader-account.sql script :

sqlplus lfc_account/XXXXX@lcg_lfc < create-reader-account.sql

  • execute the output in the reader account.

sqlplus lfc_account_r/XXXXX@lcg_lfc

  • run the create-synonym.sql script :

sqlplus lfc_account_r/XXXXX@lcg_lfc < create-synonym.sql

  • execute the output in the reader account :

sqlplus lfc_account_r/XXXXX@lcg_lfc

Same steps for the writer account.

See Writer / Reader accounts for details.

Oracle accounts used in Production

Several Oracle accounts are used, but some VOs share the same Oracle account.

Check the /usr/etc/NSCONFIG file on all LFC servers to know the current configuration :

lxplus003# wassh -h "root@lfc[001-011]" cat /opt/lcg/etc/NSCONFIG


CERN LFC Operations guide

See LfcOperations.

The OPM guide can be found here

LFC troubleshooting

See the developers DataManagementDocumentation pages.

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
PowerPointppt CERN-LFC-admins-tutorial-27_07_2006.ppt r1 manage 1101.5 K 2006-07-27 - 16:14 SophieLemaitre LFC Overview and Debugging
PNGpng LFC-Production.png r2 r1 manage 106.1 K 2009-04-28 - 10:03 SophieLemaitre LFC service deployment layout
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