When an lnode is made active, all of its parents up to the root lnode are also activated. As a result of this process, if one of the lnodes is seen to have a parent that has already been encountered, the kernel has discovered a group loop.
If the limits database is corrupted, it is possible for a group loop to occur, in which one of the ancestors of an lnode is also one of its children. When the kernel discovers a group loop, it silently and automatically connects the loop into the scheduling tree by breaking it arbitrarily and connecting it as a group beneath the root lnode. The kernel cannot determine which is the uppermost lnode since the loop has no beginning or end. This means that the lnode at the point where the loop is connected to the scheduling tree becomes a group header of a topmost group. It is possible that members of this group might inherit privileges or higher limits than they would otherwise have.
Group loops are prevented by limadm when setting scheduling group parents. A group loop can only occur through corruption to the limits database. This is a serious problem, and may cause all sorts of other difficulties in Solaris Resource Manager since the limits database is so basic to its operation.
The problem is self-correcting with respect to the structure of the scheduling tree since the kernel attaches the lnode to the root lnode. Because the attachment is from an arbitrary point in the loop, the administrator has to determine where the lnode should be attached and also check the point of attachment for every other member in the loop.
The result of automatic group loop repair can be seen by listing the lnodes that are children of the root lnode. The command:
% limreport 'sgroup==0' - uid lname
will list all lnodes that have the root lnode as their parent. If any lnodes are listed that should not be children of the root lnode, they are possibly the top of a group loop that has been attached beneath the root lnode.
The major concern for the administrator when a group loop is detected is that, since the cause of the group loop was corruption to the limits database, many more serious problems could arise. If the administrator suspects corruption in the limits database, it is best to carry out some validation checks against the file to determine if it has been corrupted and then take remedial action. Refer to Crash Recovery for details on detecting and correcting a corrupt limits database.