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WebLogic Server Performance and Tuning

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Tuning WebLogic Server Applications

WebLogic Server only performs as well as the applications running on it. To quote the authors of Mastering BEA WebLogic Server: Best Practices for Building and Deploying J2EE Applications: "Good application performance starts with good application design. Overly-complex or poorly-designed applications will perform poorly regardless of the system-level tuning and best practices employed to improve performance." In other words, a poorly designed application can create unnecessary bottlenecks. For example, resource contention could be a case of bad design, rather than inherent to the application domain.

This section discusses some methods to determine the bottlenecks that can impede your application's performance:


Using Performance Analysis Tools

This section is a quick reference for using the OptimizeItTM and JProbeTM profilers with WebLogic Server.

A profiler is a performance analysis tool that allows you to reveal hot spots in the application that result in either high CPU utilization or high contention for shared resources. For a list of common profilers, see Performance Analysis Tools.

Using the JProbe Profiler

The JProbe Suite is a family of products that provide the capability to detect performance bottlenecks, find and fix memory leaks, perform code coverage, and other metrics.

The JProbe website provides a technical white paper, "Using Sitraka JProbe and BEA WebLogic Server", which describes how developers can analyze code with any of the JProbe Suite tools running inside BEA WebLogic Server.

Using the Optimizeit Profiler

The Optimizeit Profiler from Borland is a performance debugging tool for Solaris and Windows platforms.

Borland provides detailed J2EE Integration Tutorials for the supported versions of Optimizeit Profiler that work with WebLogic Server.


JDBC Application Tuning

Most performance gains or losses in a database application are determined by how the application is designed. The number and location of clients, size and structure of DBMS tables and indexes, and the number and types of queries all affect application performance.

For more information on optimizing your applications for JDBC and tuning WebLogic JDBC connection pools, see:


JMS Application Tuning

There are a number of design choices that impact performance of JMS applications. Some others include reliability, scalability, manageability, monitoring, user transactions, message driven bean support, and integration with an application server. In addition, there are WebLogic JMS extensions and features have a direct impact on performance.

For more information on optimizing your applications for JMS and tuning WebLogic JMS, see:


EJB Application Tuning

Tuning WebLogic Server EJBs describes how to tune WebLogic Server Enterprise Java Beans to match your application needs.


Web Services Tuning

There are some performance issues you should be aware of when you program your WebLogic Web services:


Managing Sessions

As a general rule, you should optimize your application so that it does as little work as possible when handling session persistence and sessions. You should also design a session management strategy that suits your environment and application.

Managing Session Persistence

Weblogic Server offers five session persistence mechanisms that cater to the differing requirements of your application. The session persistence mechanisms are configurable at the Web application layer. Which session management strategy you choose for your application depends on real-world factors like HTTP session size, session life cycle, reliability, and session failover requirements. For example, a Web application with no failover requirements could be maintained as a single memory-based session; whereas, a Web application with session fail-over capability could be maintained as replicated sessions or JDBC-based sessions, based on their life cycle and object size.

In terms of pure performance, in-memory session persistence is a better overall choice when compared to JDBC-based persistence for session state. According to the authors of Session Persistence Performance in BEA WebLogic Server 7.0: "While all session persistence mechanisms have to deal with the overhead of data serialization and deserialization, the additional overhead of the database interaction impacts the performance of the JDBC-based session persistence and causes it to under-perform compared with the in-memory replication." However, in-memory-based session persistence requires the use of WebLogic clustering, so it isn't an option in a single-server environment.

On the other hand, an environment using JDBC-based persistence does not require the use of WebLogic clusters and can maintain the session state for longer periods of time in the database. One way to improve JDBC-based session persistence is to optimize your code so that it has as high a granularity for session state persistence as possible. Other factors that can improve the overall performance of JDBC-based session persistence are: the choice of database, proper database server configuration, JDBC driver, and the JDBC connection pool configuration.

For more information on managing session persistence, see:

Minimizing Sessions

Configuring how WebLogic Server manages sessions is a key part of tuning your application for best performance. Consider the following:

For more information, see "Setting Up Session Management" in Assembling and Configuring Web Applications.


Using Execute Queues to Control Thread Usage

You can fine-tune an application's access to execute threads (and thereby optimize or throttle its performance) by using multiple execute queues in WebLogic Server. However, keep in mind that unused threads represent significant wasted resources in a Weblogic Server system. You may find that available threads in configured execute queues go unused, while tasks in other queues sit idle waiting for threads to become available. In such a situation, the division of threads into multiple queues may yield poorer overall performance than having a single, default execute queue.

Default WebLogic Server installations are configured with a default execute queue, weblogic.kernel.Default, which is used by all applications running on the server instance. You may want to configure additional queues to:

Be sure to monitor each execute queue to ensure proper thread usage in the system as a whole. See Tuning the Default Execute Queue Threads for general information about optimizing the number of threads.

Creating Execute Queues

An execute queue represents a named collection of execute threads that are available to one or more designated servlets, JSPs, EJBs, or RMI objects. An execute queue is represented in the domain config.xml file as part of the Server element. For example, an execute queue named CriticalAppQueue with four execute threads appears in the config.xml file as follows:

 <ExecuteQueue Name="default"
 <ExecuteQueue Name="CriticalAppQueue"

To configure a new execute queue using the Administration Console:

  1. Start the Administration Server if it is not already running.
  2. Access the Administration Console for the domain.
  3. Expand the Servers node in the left pane to display the servers configured in your domain.
  4. Right-click the name of the server instance on which you want to add an execute queue, and then select View Execute Queues from the pop-up menu.
  5. On the execute queue Configuration tab, click the Configure a New Execute Queue link.
  6. On the execute queue Configuration tab, modify the following attributes or accept the system defaults:
  7. Click Create to create the new execute queue.
  8. Reboot the server to use the new settings.

Assigning Servlets and JSPs to Execute Queues

You can assign a servlet or JSP to a configured execute queue by identifying the execute queue name in the initialization parameters. Initialization parameters appear within the init-param element of the servlet's or JSP's deployment descriptor file, web.xml. To assign an execute queue, enter the queue name as the value of the wl-dispatch-policy parameter, as in the example:


See "Initializing a Servlet" in Programming WebLogic HTTP Servlets for more information about specifying initialization parameters in web.xml.

Assigning EJBs and RMI Objects to Execute Queues

To assign an EJB object to a configured execute queue, use the new dispatch-policy element in weblogic-ejb-jar.xml. For more information, see the weblogic-ejb-jar.xml Deployment Descriptor.

While you can also set the dispatch policy through the appc compiler -dispatchPolicy flag, BEA strongly recommends you use the deployment descriptor element instead. This way, if the EJB is recompiled, during deployment for example, the setting will not be lost.

To assign an RMI object to a configured execute queue, use the -dispatchPolicy option to the rmic compiler. For example:

java weblogic.rmic -dispatchPolicy CriticalAppQueue ...


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