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Error re-indexing Forest : SVC-EXTIME: Time limit exceeded - XDMP-FORESTERR
27 June 2013 02:42 PM


A forest reindex timeout error may occur when there are transactions holding update locks on documents for an extended period of time. A reindexer process is started as a result of a database index change or a major MarkLogic Server upgrade.  The reindexer process will not complete until after update locks are released.

Example error text seen in the MarkLogic Server ErrorLog.txt file:

XDMP-FORESTERR: Error in reindex of forest Documents: SVC-EXTIME: Time limit exceeded


Long running transactions can occur if MarkLogic Server is participating in a distributed transaction environment. In this case transactions are managed through a Resource Manager. Each transaction is executed in a two phase commit. In the first phase, the transaction will be prepared for a commit or a rollback. The actual commit or rollback will occur in the second phase. More details about XA transactions can be found in the Applicactions Developer Guide - Understanding Transactions in MarkLogic Server

In a situation where the Resource Manager get's disconnected between the two phases, all transactions may be left in a "prepare" state within MarkLogic Server. The Resource Manager maintains transaction information and will clean up transactions left in "prepare" state after a successful reconnect. In the rare case where this doesn't happen, all transactions left in "prepare" state will stay in the system until they are cleaned up manually. The method to manually intervene is described in the XCC Developers Guide - Heuristically Completing a Stalled Transaction.

In order for a XA transaction to take place, it needs to prepare the execution for the commit. If updates are being made to pre-existing documents, update locks are held against the URIs for those documents. When reindexing is occuring during this process, the reindexer will wait for these locks to be released before it can successfully reindex the new documents.   Because the reindexer is unable to complete due to these pending XA transactions, the hosts in the cluster are unable to completely finish the reindexing task and will eventually throw a timeout error.


To avoid these kind of reindexer timeouts, it is recommended that the database is checked for outstanding XA transactions in "prepare" state before starting a reindexing process. There are two ways to verify if the database has outstanding transactions in "prepare" state:

  • In the Admin UI, navigate  to each forest of the database and review the status page; or
  • Run the following XQuery code (in Query Console):

    xquery version "1.0-ml"; 
    declare namespace fo = "";   

    for $f in xdmp:database-forests(xdmp:database()) 
      xdmp:forest-status($f)//fo:transaction-coordinator[fo:decision-state = 'prepare']

In the case where there are transactions in the "prepare" state, a roll-back can be executed:

  • In the Admin UI, click on the "rollback" link for each transaction; or
  • Run the following XQuery code (in Query Console):

    xquery version "1.0-ml"; 
    declare namespace fo = "";

    for $f in xdmp:database-forests(xdmp:database()) 
      for $id in xdmp:forest-status($f)//fo:transaction-coordinator[fo:decision-state = 'prepare']/fo:transaction-id/fn:string()
        xdmp:xa-complete($f, $id, fn:false(), fn:false())
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