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An Introduction to WebSphere Application Server Performance Tuning Toolkit

Uncover performance bottlenecks in your application server infrastructure using this easy to use toolkit

Shishir Narain, IT Architect, IBM
Shishir Narain photo
Shishir Narain is an Open Group certified Master IT Specialist with deep skills in middleware technologies. He works for IBM Software Services for WebSphere, an IBM labs based team focused on providing quality WebSphere consulting to clients. He has worked for the last 14 years leading and delivering software projects for large enterprises as a solution developer and architect. . He holds a Master of Technology degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.
(An IBM developerWorks Contributing Author)
Wang Yu, Software Engineer, IBM China
author photo
Wang Yu (Edward) is a software engineer at the IBM China Software Development Lab in Beijing. He is a member of WebSphere Application Server SVT team. He is also interested in WebSphere Application Server performance analysis, performance tuning, problem diagnosis, and high availability.
Tao Zhang, Software Engineer, IBM China
author photo
Zhang Tao (Jordan) joined IBM in 2009. He works in IBM China Software Development Lab WebSphere Application Server SVT team in Beijing. He is interested in WebSphere Migration, Intelligent Management, and high availability.

Summary:  WebSphere® Application Server is one of the key components of enterprise architecture, and performance bottlenecks can affect multiple applications. WebSphere Application Server Performance Tuning Toolkit is an easy to use tool that can be used to uncover performance issues with WebSphere Application Server. This toolkit is very useful in ensuring that you get the maximum out of your infrastructure.

Date:  17 Oct 2012
Level:  Intermediate PDF:  A4 and Letter (1009 KB | 16 pages)Get Adobe® Reader®

Activity:  26135 views
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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
overview                         of the 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

Advantages of PTT over other tools

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.

PTT and the built-in Tivoli Performance Viewer

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.

What PTT is not

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.

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