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and, more importantly, how can I adjust this threshold for Ubuntu 14.04 server installations?

I have standard Ubuntu 14.04 server VMs crashing due to CPU softlocks and VMWare recommends adjusting this threshold.

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With new(er) kernel, you tune /proc/sys/kernel/watchdog_thresh instead. (Older kernels use /proc/sys/kernel/softlockup_thresh, I think).

I add the following line to end of /etc/sysctl.conf to have it applied at boot:

kernel.watchdog_thresh=nn

where nn is a number 0 or higher.

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