Suricata memory Allocation

Hi All,

I’m interested in testing Suricata in resource-constrained duty.

What’s the best way for me to limit the amount of RAM available to Suricata?


You can limit the memory available to Suricata with ulimit -v. The -v option sets the virtual memory limit:
virtual memory (kbytes, -v) unlimited

OK thanks,

Does this have to be configured before Suricata starts or will this be applied to the currently running instance?

Apologies, I’m fairly new to Suricata.


I think so, ya. No expert on ulimit either, so I think you need to experiment a bit.

Btw, if you want to simulate out of memory conditions during packet processing, make sure to set the limit high enough that the initial startup can succeed.

Great, thanks for your help

You can also use LInux “control groups” to limit the amount of memory used. See for an overview.

Unfortunately using ulimit or prlimit might lead to a Suricata crash. The libraries on which suricata depends might not gracefully handle memory allocation failures. In the below example, the rust library raises an abort on a memory allocation failure post hitting the ulimit/prlimit ( RLIMIT_AS )

(gdb) bt
#0  0x00007f9f1dc2a18b in raise () from /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/
#1  0x00007f9f1dc09859 in abort () from /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/
#2  0x000055d3e280b487 in std::sys::unix::abort_internal () at library/std/src/sys/unix/
#3  0x000055d3e2837476 in std::process::abort () at library/std/src/
#4  0x000055d3e2829c0e in std::alloc::rust_oom (layout=...) at library/std/src/
#5  0x000055d3e2866c07 in alloc::alloc::handle_alloc_error (layout=...) at library/alloc/src/
#6  0x000055d3e2893fb4 in alloc::raw_vec::RawVec<T,A>::reserve (self=0x7f9f0c383f78, len=<optimized out>, additional=<optimized out>)
    at /build/rustc-n7HJ8w/rustc-1.47.0+dfsg1+llvm/library/alloc/src/
#7  0x000055d3e27aa5cc in alloc::vec::Vec<T>::reserve (self=0x7f9f0c383f78, additional=1460)
    at /build/rustc-n7HJ8w/rustc-1.47.0+dfsg1+llvm/library/alloc/src/
#8  <alloc::vec::Vec<T> as alloc::vec::SpecExtend<&T,core::slice::Iter<T>>>::spec_extend (self=0x7f9f0c383f78, iterator=...)
    at /build/rustc-n7HJ8w/rustc-1.47.0+dfsg1+llvm/library/alloc/src/
#9  <alloc::vec::Vec<T> as core::iter::traits::collect::Extend<&T>>::extend (self=0x7f9f0c383f78, iter=...)
    at /build/rustc-n7HJ8w/rustc-1.47.0+dfsg1+llvm/library/alloc/src/
#10 suricata::filetracker::FileTransferTracker::update (self=0x7f9f0437d5c0, files=<optimized out>, flags=<optimized out>, data=...,
    gap_size=0) at src/
#11 0x000055d3e27b6ce5 in suricata::smb::files::<impl suricata::smb::smb::SMBState>::filetracker_update (self=<optimized out>,
    direction=<optimized out>, data=..., gap_size=<optimized out>) at src/smb/
#12 0x000055d3e27b3238 in suricata::smb::smb::SMBState::parse_tcp_data_tc (self=0x7f9f04343860, i=...) at src/smb/
#13 suricata::smb::smb::rs_smb_parse_response_tcp (flow=<optimized out>, state=0x7f9f04343860, _pstate=<optimized out>, input=<optimized out>,
    input_len=1460, _data=<optimized out>, flags=8) at src/smb/
#14 0x000055d3e246cd5f in RustSMBTCPParseResponse (f=0x55d3e5b80950, state=0x7f9f04343860, pstate=0x7f9f0c346f90,

Could you provide some details on system memory availability and whether control groups (or similar) are in use?