6.3.  Identify the configuration settings (e.g., JVM settings, connection pools, thread pools) that affect WebSphere Application Server performance.


Runtime provisioning

Runtime provisioning is a feature introduced in WebSphere Application Server V7. It focuses on improving application server startup time by providing intelligent analysis of application set and server configuration to determine the needed subset of components to be loaded. This feature does not load an entire runtime library and thus decreases the memory footprint and shortens the start time.

There is no need for administrators and application developers to modify any processes to take advantage of the runtime provisioning. To turn this feature on, complete the following steps:

  1. Click Servers > Server Types > WebSphere application servers, as shown below:

    Figure 6.13. WebSphere application servers window

    WebSphere application servers window

  2. In the Application servers view, select your desired application server, as shown below:

    Figure 6.14. WebSphere application server view server selection

    WebSphere application server view server selection

  3. Select Start component as needed to enable runtime provisioning in this server, as shown below:

    Figure 6.15. Application servers configuration window

    Application servers configuration window

    Save the changes.

Configuring the JVM

As part of configuring an application server, you might define settings that enhance the way your operating system uses of the Java virtual machine (JVM).

The JVM is an interpretive computing engine that is responsible for running the byte codes in a compiled Java program. The JVM translates the Java byte codes into the native instructions of the host machine. The application server, being a Java process, requires a JVM to run and to support the Java applications running on it. JVM settings are part of an application server configuration.

To view and change the JVM configuration for an application server process, use the Java virtual machine page of the administrative console or use wsadmin scripts to change the configuration.

  1. In the administrative console, click Servers > Server Types > WebSphere application servers > server_name.

    Figure 6.16. 

    Figure 6.17. 

  2. Under Server Infrastructure, click Java and Process Management > Process definition.

    Figure 6.18. 

  3. Select Java Virtual Machine.

    Figure 6.19. 

  4. Specify values for the JVM settings in Generic JVM arguments text area as needed, and click OK.

    Figure 6.20. 

  5. Click Save in the messages section of the administrative console panel to save the changes to the master configuration.

  6. Restart the application server.

Garbage collection (GC) is an integral part of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) as it collects unused Java heap memory so that the application can continue allocating new objects. The effectiveness and performance of the GC play an important role in application performance and determinism. The IBM JVM provided with IBM WebSphere Application Server V8 (on supported platforms) provides four different GC policy algorithms:

Each of these algorithms provides different performance and deterministic qualities. In addition, the default policy in WebSphere Application Server V8 has changed from -Xgcpolicy:optthruput to the -Xgcpolicy:gencon policy.

Configuring connection pooling properties

Performance of an application that connects to a database can be greatly affected by the availability of connections to the database and how those connections affect the performance of the database itself. There are no simple rules that tell you how to configure the connection pool properties. Your configuration is highly dependent on application, network, and database characteristics. You need to coordinate the values that you specify in WebSphere closely with the database administrator.

Complete the following steps to access the connection pool properties:

  1. Navigate to Resources > JDBC > Data sources and click the data source name.

    Figure 6.21. 

  2. Click Connection pool properties in the Additional Properties section.

    Figure 6.22. 

    The window shown in figure below opens:

    Figure 6.23. 

  3. Specify the following information:

    • Connection Timeout

      Specify the interval, in seconds, after which a connection request times out and a ConnectionWaitTimeoutException is thrown. This action can occur when the pool is at its maximum (Maximum Connections) and all of the connections are in use by other applications for the duration of the wait.

      For example, if Connection Timeout is set to 300 and the maximum number of connections is reached, the Pool Manager waits for 300 seconds for an available physical connection. If a physical connection is not available within this time, the Pool Manager throws a ConnectionWaitTimeoutException.

      Tip: If Connection Timeout is set to 0, the pool manager waits as long as necessary until a connection is allocated.

    • Maximum Connections

      Specify the maximum number of physical connections that can be created in this pool.

      These connections are the physical connections to the back-end database. After this number is reached, no new physical connections are created and the requester waits until a physical connection that is currently in use is returned to the pool, or a ConnectionWaitTimeoutException is thrown.

      For example, if Maximum Connections is set to 5, and there are five physical connections in use, the Pool Manager waits for the amount of time specified in Connection Timeout for a physical connection to become free. If, after that time, there are still no free connections, the Pool Manager throws a ConnectionWaitTimeoutException to the application.

    • Minimum Connections

      Specify the minimum number of physical connections to be maintained. Until this number is reached, the pool maintenance thread does not discard any physical connections. However, no attempt is made to bring the number of connections up to this number.

      For example, if Minimum Connections is set to 3, and one physical connection is created, that connection is not discarded by the Unused Timeout thread. By the same token, the thread does not automatically create two additional physical connections to reach the Minimum Connections setting.

    • Reap Time

      Specify the interval, in seconds, between runs of the pool maintenance thread.

      For example, if Reap Time is set to 60, the pool maintenance thread runs every 60 seconds. The Reap Time interval affects the accuracy of the Unused Timeout and Aged Timeout settings. The smaller the interval you set, the greater the accuracy. When the pool maintenance thread runs, it discards any connections that have been unused for longer than the time value specified in Unused Timeout, until it reaches the number of connections specified in Minimum Connections. The pool maintenance thread also discards any connections that remain active longer than the time value specified in Aged Timeout.

      Tip: If the pool maintenance thread is enabled, set the Reap Time value less than the values of Unused Timeout and Aged Timeout.

      The Reap Time interval also affects performance. Smaller intervals mean that the pool maintenance thread runs more often and degrades performance.

    • Unused Timeout

      Specify the interval in seconds after which an unused or idle connection is discarded.


      • Set the Unused Timeout value higher than the Reap Timeout value for optimal performance. Unused physical connections are only discarded if the current number of connections not in use exceeds the Minimum Connections setting.

      • Make sure that the database server's timeout for connections exceeds the Unused timeout property specified here. Long lived connections are normal and desirable for performance.

      For example, if the unused timeout value is set to 120, and the pool maintenance thread is enabled (Reap Time is not 0), any physical connection that remains unused for two minutes is discarded. Note that accuracy of this timeout, as well as performance, is affected by the Reap Time value. See the Reap Time bullet for more information.

    • Aged Timeout

      Specify the interval in seconds before a physical connection is discarded, regardless of recent usage activity.

      Setting Aged Timeout to 0 allows active physical connections to remain in the pool indefinitely. For example, if the Aged Timeout value is set to 1200, and the Reap Time value is not 0, any physical connection that remains in existence for 1200 seconds (20 minutes) is discarded from the pool. Note that accuracy of this timeout, as well as performance, is affected by the Reap Time value. See Reap Time for more information.

      Tip: Set the Aged Timeout value higher than the Reap Timeout value for optimal performance.

    • Purge Policy

      Specify how to purge connections when a stale connection or fatal connection error is detected.

      Valid values are EntirePool and FailingConnectionOnly. If you choose EntirePool, all physical connections in the pool are destroyed when a stale connection is detected. If you choose FailingConnectionOnly, the pool attempts to destroy only the stale connection. The other connections remain in the pool. Final destruction of connections that are in use at the time of the error might be delayed. However, those connections are never returned to the pool.

      Tip: Many applications do not handle a StaleConnectionException in the code. Test and ensure that your applications can handle them.

WebSphere Application Server data source properties

You can set the properties that apply to the WebSphere Application Server connection, rather than to the database connection. To access the connection pool properties, navigate to Resources > JDBC > Data sources and click the data source name.

Click WebSphere Application Server data source properties in the Additional Properties section.

Figure 6.24. 

Clicking the link opens the window shown in figure below.

Figure 6.25. 

Specify the following information:

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