Troubleshooting Amazon EFS: general issues - Amazon Elastic File System

Troubleshooting Amazon EFS: general issues

Use this information to troubleshoot general Amazon EFS issues. For information about performance, see Amazon EFS performance.

In general, if you encounter issues with Amazon EFS that you have trouble resolving, confirm that you're using a recent Linux kernel. If you are using an enterprise Linux distribution, we recommend the following:

  • Amazon Linux 2 with kernel 4.3 or newer

  • Amazon Linux 2015.09 or newer

  • RHEL 7.3 or newer

  • All versions of Ubuntu 16.04

  • Ubuntu 14.04 with kernel 3.13.0-83 or newer

  • SLES 12 Sp2 or later

If you are using another distribution or a custom kernel, we recommend kernel version 4.3 or newer.


RHEL 6.9 might be suboptimal for certain workloads due to Poor performance when opening many files in parallel.

Unable to create an EFS file system

A request to create an EFS file system fails with the following message:

User: arn:aws:iam::111122223333:user/username is not authorized to perform: elasticfilesystem:CreateFileSystem on the specified resource.
Action to take

Check your AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) policy to confirm that you are authorized to create EFS file systems with the specified resource conditions. For more information, see Identity and access management for Amazon Elastic File System.

Access denied to allowed files on NFS file system

When a user who is assigned more than 16 access group IDs (GIDs) attempts to perform an operation on an NFS file system, they could be denied access to allowed files on the file system. This issue occurs because the NFS protocol supports a maximum of 16 GIDs per user, and any additional GIDs are truncated from the NFS client request, as defined in RFC 5531.

Action to take

Restructure your NFS user and group mappings so that each user is assigned no more than 16 access groups (GIDs).

Errors when accessing the Amazon EFS console

This section describes errors users might experience when accessing the Amazon EFS management console.

Error authenticating credentials for ec2:DescribeVPCs

The following error message displays when accessing the Amazon EFS console:

AuthFailure: An error occurred authenticating your credentials for ec2:DescribeVPCs.

This error indicates that your login credentials did not successfully authenticate with the Amazon EC2 service. The Amazon EFS console calls the Amazon EC2 service on your behalf when creating EFS file systems in the VPC that you choose.

Action to take

Ensure that the time on the client accessing the Amazon EFS console is set correctly.

Amazon EC2 instance hangs

An Amazon EC2 instance can hang because you deleted a file system mount target without first unmounting the file system.

Action to take

Before you delete a file system mount target, unmount the file system. For more information about unmounting your Amazon EFS file system, see Unmounting file systems.

Application writing large amounts of data hangs

An application that writes a large amount of data to Amazon EFS hangs and causes the instance to reboot.

Action to take

If an application takes too long to write all of its data to Amazon EFS, Linux might reboot because it appears that the process has become unresponsive. Two kernel configuration parameters define this behavior, kernel.hung_task_panic and kernel.hung_task_timeout_secs.

In the example following, the state of the hung process is reported by the ps command with D before the instance reboot, indicating that the process is waiting on I/O.

$ ps aux | grep root 33253 0.5 0.0 126652 5020 pts/3 D+ 18:22 0:00 python /efs/large_file

To prevent a reboot, increase the timeout period or disable kernel panics when a hung task is detected. The following command disables hung task kernel panics on most Linux systems.

$ sudo sysctl -w kernel.hung_task_panic=0

Poor performance when opening many files in parallel

Applications that open multiple files in parallel do not experience the expected increase in performance of I/O parallelization.

Action to take

This issue occurs on Network File System version 4 (NFSv4) clients and on RHEL 6 clients using NFSv4.1 because these NFS clients serialize NFS OPEN and CLOSE operations. Use NFS protocol version 4.1 and one of the suggested Linux distributions that does not have this issue.

If you can't use NFSv4.1, be aware that the Linux NFSv4.0 client serializes open and close requests by user ID and group IDs. This serialization happens even if multiple processes or multiple threads issue requests at the same time. The client only sends one open or close operation to an NFS server at a time, when all of the IDs match. To work around these issues, you can perform any of the following actions:

  • You can run each process from a different user ID on the same Amazon EC2 instance.

  • You can leave the user IDs the same across all open requests, and modify the set of group IDs instead.

  • You can run each process from a separate Amazon EC2 instance.

Custom NFS settings causing write delays

You have custom NFS client settings, and it takes up to three seconds for an Amazon EC2 instance to see a write operation performed on a file system from another Amazon EC2 instance.

Action to take

If you encounter this issue, you can resolve it in one of the following ways:

  • If the NFS client on the Amazon EC2 instance that's reading data has attribute caching activated, unmount your file system. Then remount it with the noac option to disable attribute caching. Attribute caching in NFSv4.1 is enabled by default.


    Disabling client-side caching can potentially reduce your application's performance.

  • You can also clear your attribute cache on demand by using a programming language compatible with the NFS procedures. To do this, you can send an ACCESS procedure request immediately before a read request.

    For example, using the Python programming language, you can construct the following call.

    # Does an NFS ACCESS procedure request to clear the attribute cache, given a path to the file import os os.access(path, os.W_OK)

Creating backups with Oracle Recovery Manager is slow

Creating backups with Oracle Recovery Manager can be slow if Oracle Recovery Manager pauses for 120 seconds before starting a backup job.

Action to take

If you encounter this issue, disable Oracle Direct NFS, as described in Enabling and Disabling Direct NFS Client Control of NFS in the Oracle Help Center.


Amazon EFS doesn't support Oracle Direct NFS.