An Introduction to the Performance Tuning Toolkit
The WebSphere Application Server Performance Tuning Toolkit (PTT) is an Eclipse-based intelligent toolkit, designed to help you tune the performance of WebSphere Application Server. PTT gathers performance-related data from the WebSphere Application Server Performance Monitoring Infrastructure (PMI) and then displays this data using configurable monitoring dashboards. PTT also provides tools to facilitate problem determination.
PTT has the following major components:
- User interface, built using Eclipse Rich Client Platform framework.
- Data Collector, which uses the WebSphere Application Server JMX APIs to collect the PMI data from the server.
- Event Processor, which processes the PMI data. The event processor uses the Drools rule engine for generating alerts in the monitor dashboard. The rule engine also allows users to author rules to create their own custom alerts.
- Persistence Manager, to persist the data to the database. The Event processor uses Persistence Manager to transform and save the PMI events to the database.
Figure 1 provides an overview of different components of PTT.
Figure 1: Technical overview of WebSphere Application Server Performance Tuning Toolkit
PTT provides the following functionality:
- Find errors as soon as they occurs:
- Monitor the server for various types of problems such as servlet errors, transaction rollback, transaction timeout, JDBC connection timeout, JCA connection errors, thread hung and failed proxy request.
- Find potential problems:
- Show detailed status of system through dashboard displays.
- Detects the abnormal symptoms according to pre defined rules
- Accelerate performance tuning process:
- Tune all the servers in a centralized view.
- Run tuning scripts within the workbench.
- Facilitate problems determination by providing tools to:
- Generate thread dump and heap dump
- Enable runtime trace
- Extract connection pool contents
- Data processing and report:
- Provide report.
- Support both online and offline analysis of the PMI data
PTT has a number of advantages:
- It is easy to install and use. Unzip the download and do a minor configuration and you are ready to go.
- It has a small footprint (about 250M), and no other installation is required.
- It is non invasive. You do not need to change the application or install any agents on the application servers, as the toolkit can be run remotely.
- It has minimal impact on WebSphere Application Server performance. (See Performance degradation metrics when using PMI)
- It is easy to use and has customizable user interface.
- It allows real time monitoring of either single server or an entire cell from one place. The server performance charts can also be saved for later analysis.
- It features rule based events processing which also allows users to customize alert engine as per the project requirements.
- Lastly, and certainly not the least: it's free.
WebSphere Application Server has a built-in Tivoli Performance Viewer, which also uses PMI data to monitor the overall health of WebSphere Application Server from within the administrative console. PTT builds on the features of Tivoli Performance Viewer by:
- providing easy to monitor dashboards thus making it easier to understand how WebSphere Application Server is performing.
- generating alerts which allows easier detection of performance issues. These alerts can even be customized.
- providing features like generating dumps and trace information which aids advanced problem determination.
It is not a system management tool and it shouldn't be used for long term system monitoring. The tool is aimed for short term monitoring of WebSphere Application Server while doing Performance Testing. The Tivoli range of IBM products are suitable for system monitoring. See the Resources.