Sun Java System Web Server 7.0 Update 7 Performance Tuning, Sizing, and Scaling Guide

Files Open in a Single Process (File Descriptor Limits)

Different platforms each have limits on the number of files that can be open in a single process at one time. For busy sites, increase that number. On Solaris systems, control this limit by setting rlim_fd_max in the /etc/system file. For Solaris 8, the default is 1024, which you can increase to 65536. For Solaris 9 and 10, the default is 65536, which doesn't need to be increased.

After making this or any change in the /etc/system file, reboot Solaris to put the new settings into effect. In addition, if you upgrade to a new version of Solaris, remove any line added to /etc/system and add it again only after verifying that it is still valid.

An alternative way to make this change is using the ulimit –n "value" command. Using this command does not require a system restart. However, this command only changes the login shell, while editing the etc/system file affects all shells.