RIAK is an easy to use, fault tolerant decentralized database architecture that’s great for many different storage applications. Once you get it going its virtually maintenance free and its rock solid. Its easy to expand and has a pretty good looking admin interface as well!

Sometimes in testing, building or rebuilding RIAK nodes, the RIAK daemon just doesn’t want to start. This issue has come up numerous times while dealing with RIAK setups so i wanted to get something out there and hopefully help someone else that deals with some of the same issues. At the moment I’m running RIAK version 1.4 on Centos 6.3, and although it seems Basho fixes a lot of these issues over time, there are still some lingering ones that I still bump into pretty often.

And… you get an error similar to the following:

If you followed the instructions to setup RIAK step by step, the first thing you should do is run:

  1. Make sure that output has nothing obvious that you can check. After that here are a few more things you can check:
  2. Ensure all log directories are writable by the RIAK user. I’m not sure why, but RIAK seems to want write access to /var/log/riak as well as platform_log_dir in app.config but wont tell you this in the console output when it has problems writing to the directory. It really should, but it doesn’t.
  3. Ensure any certificates you have specified in app.config exist where they should and are readable by the RIAK user
  4. Clear out the /tmp/riak folder and ensure the RIAK user has write access to /tmp to create the directory. If its able to create the directory it should be OK, but sometimes removing this will delete any locks causing RIAK not to start. (Thanks to Nathan Evans) To fix this just run:

Some additional stuff:

Check permissions on the data directories as well, if these have incorrect permissions you should probably either delete them if its a new installation or just:

Make sure there are no other processes being run by RIAK, if there are kill them:

Then restart riak

To verify things are up to snuff, consider [installing and] running Riaknostic to detect more errors and find suggestions for improvement:


Feel free to comment with what may have worked for you and i will gladly add it to this post and give credit!

One thought on “Troubleshooting RIAK Startup

  1. thanks for this page. it really helped me. my issue with the riak user having ownership when i re-mapped the data directory to a new EBS volume attached to my instance.


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