Tracing From An "idle in transaction" Postgres Backend To The Responsible Process On A Remote System

We've all seen those nasty little "idle in transaction" processes. So I can remember, here's how to go from an unhappy postgres backend to the guilty process on a remote system.

1) Find the unhappy backend

$ ps auxww | grep postgres | grep 'idle in transaction'
postgres 22838 1.2 0.3 74476 31736 ? Rs 16:40 4:36 postgres: nutricate trans_production idle in transaction

2) We now have a remote IP and port number. PostgreSQL 9.0 is quite forthcoming about this, but older versions (and other servers) aren't quite so friendly. Once you have the PID of the unhappy postmaster, you can use either lsof or netstat to find out about the tcp connection, if ps didn't give it to you.

$ sudo netstat -ep | grep $PID
tcp 0 138 db-trans01:postgresql db-reports01:57882 ESTABLISHED postgres 702200 22838/postgres: nutr

3) ssh into the remote server (db-reports01 in the above output) and use netstat again and grep for the port number (57882 in the output above) to figure out which process owns the other end of the tcp connection.

$ sudo netstat -ep | grep 57882
tcp 0 90 db-reports01:57882 db-trans01:postgresql ESTABLISHED nutricate 672248278 16388/python2.6 

4) We now have the PID of the misbehaving process and can delve deeper to find out what it is, and eventually what it's doing.

$ ps auxww | grep 16388
2000 16388 67.6 8.0 275056 89624 pts/8 Rl+ 16:26 212:26 /usr/bin/python2.6 lib/nutricate/django/reports/summarize_parallel.py root


t-mobile Fails Security 101.

I remember back when AdECN was in the process of being acquired by Microsoft. One of the things we went through was a security audit. We did pretty well, but they busted us for storing passwords in the database and made us code a change before the acquisition went through.

With the recent rash of website hacks and password database leaks (I'd link them but there are sooo many), you'd think that a company the size of t-mobile would have clued into best practices around passwords and know better. Apparently not, and best of all they're even dumb enough to advertise it on their login page. "Lost your password? Have it sent to your mobile phone." So clearly the passwords aren't being stored using a one-way hash. Good grief.

Fire Poi!

I've been playing with poi for a couple of years now... and for the last couple of month's I've been serious about it. So serious that I bought myself some fire poi. Expect a followup post about how awesome it is to spin them... and another about how badly I burned myself.