smp snippets

Fixing "enif_send: env==NULL on non-SMP VMAborted"

Tagged elixir, erlang, smp  Languages bash, erlang

I received the following error while testing an Elixir application on a Debian VPS having only 1 CPU:

enif_send: env==NULL on non-SMP VMAborted

Usually this means your Erlang VM was compiled without SMP support.

In my case, the issue was caused by the VPS having only 1 CPU, as explained in the documentation for erl:

$ man erl
-smp [enable|auto|disable]

    -smp enable and -smp starts the Erlang runtime system with SMP support enabled. This may fail if no runtime system with SMP support is available.
    -smp auto starts the Erlang runtime system with SMP support enabled if it is available and more than one logical processor are detected.
    -smp disable starts a runtime system without SMP support.

Also see

I fixed the issue by enabling SMP-mode using the —erl switch:

MIX_ENV=prod iex --erl "-smp enable" -S mix

Next, I tried to fix the issue by using the ELIXIR_ERL_OPTIONS environment variable:

ELIXIR_ERL_OPTIONS="-smp enable"

This works fine when running the application with mix. However, with exrm this option does not work.


If you’re deploying your app to production using exrm then you have to add the switch to running-config/vm.args after each deploy, or in rel/vm.args for a permanent solution:

# Enable SMP on 1 CPU machines
-smp enable

See this issue on Github for more information about why you can’t use ELIXIR_ERL_OPTIONS=”-smp enable”:

Also see the exrm documentation for more details: