Unable to parse vm max map count – How to solve this OpenSearch error

Opster Team

Aug-23, Version: 1-2.9

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Briefly, this error occurs when OpenSearch cannot parse the value of the system configuration parameter ‘vm.max_map_count’. This parameter is crucial for OpenSearch as it sets the maximum number of memory map areas a process may have. If it’s not set correctly, OpenSearch may fail to start. To resolve this issue, you can set the ‘vm.max_map_count’ to a higher value. You can do this by running the command ‘sysctl -w vm.max_map_count=262144’ as root. Remember to also update the ‘/etc/sysctl.conf’ file with ‘vm.max_map_count=262144’ to make this change permanent.

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This guide will help you check for common problems that cause the log ” unable to parse vm.max_map_count [{}] ” to appear. To understand the issues related to this log, read the explanation below about the following OpenSearch concepts: bootstrap.

Log Context

Log “unable to parse vm.max_map_count [{}]” classname is BootstrapChecks.java.
We extracted the following from OpenSearch source code for those seeking an in-depth context :

                final String rawProcSysVmMaxMapCount = readProcSysVmMaxMapCount(bufferedReader);
                if (rawProcSysVmMaxMapCount != null) {
                    try {
                        return parseProcSysVmMaxMapCount(rawProcSysVmMaxMapCount);
                    } catch (final NumberFormatException e) {
                        logger.warn(() -> new ParameterizedMessage("unable to parse vm.max_map_count [{}]"; rawProcSysVmMaxMapCount); e);
            } catch (final IOException e) {
                logger.warn(() -> new ParameterizedMessage("I/O exception while trying to read [{}]"; path); e);


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