Drupal 6: Setting up a script to ensure the Apache Solr java process is running

I recently found some time to switch my site’s search framework from Lucene to Apache Solr. The module’s README.txt makes installation for small production sites easy and straight forward.

Following the installation guide, I started the java Solr process by entering the right directory and executing the java jar..

$ java -jar start.jar

Everything was up and running in minutes.. until I closed my terminal and the java service ended with my shell process. Short term, I decided to writing a bash shell script to ensure Solr is running, and cron it to run every five minutes.

Here are the contents of my bash shell script:


# check for process id
pid=`ps ax | grep -i java.*jar.*start\.jar | grep -iv grep | awk '{print $1}'`

# check if pid is not an integer
if ! [[ "$pid" =~ ^[0-9]+$ ]] ; then

  # start service
  cd /path/to/my/apache-solr-1.4.1/installation
  java -jar start.jar &

  # send email notification
  message='ericlondon.com: starting solr service'
  subject='ericlondon.com: starting solr service'
  echo "$message" | mail -s "$subject" $to

  exit 1;


I added the following cronjob:

$ crontab -l
*/5 * * * * /path/to/my/scripts/folder/check_solr.sh

A better option would be to setup initialization scripts for the process (/etc/init.d/), or install Solr as a more permanent solution, but I guess this will do for the time being :) …

Part 2, Using Supervisor (updated: 2011/04/12)

As mentioned above using a cronjob is probably not the best solution. I decided to install and configure supervisord to monitor the process.

Unfortunately supervisor was not available for for Centos 5.5 (RHEL):

$ yum search supervisor
Warning: No matches found for: supervisor
No Matches found

Luckily I found some RPMs via http://rpmfind.net. I installed supervisor and its one dependency:

# downloading RPMs
$ wget ftp://rpmfind.net/linux/epel/5/x86_64/supervisor-2.1-3.el5.noarch.rpm
$ wget ftp://rpmfind.net/linux/epel/5/x86_64/python-meld3-0.6.3-1.el5.x86_64.rpm

# installing RPMs
$ rpm -Uvh python-meld3-0.6.3-1.el5.x86_64.rpm
$ rpm -Uvh supervisor-2.1-3.el5.noarch.rpm

# setting run level for supervisord
$ chkconfig --level 2345 supervisord on

# starting supervisor
$ /etc/init.d/supervisord start

Next I create a simple shell script to start the Solr process and made the script executable. NOTE: file contents have been simplified:


# enter solr dir
cd /path/to/my/apache-solr-1.4.1/installation

# start solr
java -jar start.jar

Last I added a few line to my supervisor conf file (/etc/supervisord.conf):


Upon restarting supervisor, solr started automatically

$ /etc/init.d/supervisord restart

$ ps aux | grep -i java | grep -iv grep
root     28670  0.1  8.5 1041076 43548 ?       Sl   13:30   0:02 java -jar start.jar

I killed the script and it immediately came back (with a different process ID):

$ kill 28670

$ ps aux | grep -i java | grep -iv grep
root     28869 62.0  5.3 1021532 27016 ?       Sl   13:50   0:00 java -jar start.jar