RHEL 7 Systemd unit file customization.

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When a service doesn’t run as you would like, when you want to change its default configuration, Systemd offers you several options.

Firstly, you can copy the standard unit file from the /usr/lib/systemd/system directory into the /etc/systemd/system directory and then changes its content. The new unit file will take precedence over the default one. Don’t forget to run the systemctl daemon-reload command each time you create or modify a unit file

Also, if you want to make clear that you built the new unit file from the default one, you can add the following line at the beginning of the new unit file (here /etc/systemd/system/httpd.service):

.include /usr/lib/systemd/system/httpd.service

Here you can read .include. It’s not a typo but the syntax required by Systemd.

The specified directive (here CPUShares) will override the previous configuration except if this directive allows multiple values, in this case, the new value will be added at the end. To avoid this situation, you will have to proceed in two steps: assign an empty value and then assign the desired value in another line.

Secondly, instead of copying the default unit file, you can create a directory of the same name with the .d suffix in the /etc/systemd/system directory and drop a file with the .conf suffix containing the settings you want to override. This is automatically done when using the systemctl set-property command. This method also allows to override settings coming from a unit file located in the /etc/systemd/system directory.

In our example, create the /etc/systemd/system/httpd.service.d directory, then the file called constraints.conf and paste the following lines into it:


Thirdly, it is still possible to customize the environment before the service starts. You can specify a list of environment variables and their values with the Environment directive:

Environment="VAR1=word1 word2" VAR2=word3

You can also use a dedicated file with the EnvironmentFile directive. In the httpd case, you can see the following line in the /usr/lib/systemd/system/httpd.service file:


Finally, don’t hesitate to run the systemd-delta command to know what was changed from the default configuration.

Who said that Systemd was not flexible!

Posted in RHEL7
2 comments on “RHEL 7 Systemd unit file customization.
  1. keshara dorakumbura says:

    Thanks million times for sharing these tips.

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