The maximum threads setting specifies the maximum number of simultaneous transactions that the Web Server can handle. The default value is greater of 128 or the number of processors in the system. Changes to this value can be used to throttle the server, minimizing latencies for the transactions that are performed. The Maximum Threads value acts across multiple virtual servers, but does not attempt to load balance. It is set for each configuration.
Reaching the maximum number of configured threads is not necessarily undesirable, and you do not need to automatically increase the number of threads in the server. Reaching this limit means that the server needed this many threads at peak load, but as long as it was able to serve requests in a timely manner, the server is adequately tuned. However, at this point connections queue up in the connection queue, potentially overloading it. If you monitor your server's performance regularly and notice that total sessions created number is often near the maximum number of threads, consider increasing your thread limits.
To compute the number of simultaneous requests, the server counts the number of active requests, adding one to the number when a new request arrives, subtracting one when it finishes the request. When a new request arrives, the server checks to see if it is already processing the maximum number of requests. If it has reached the limit, it defers processing new requests until the number of active requests drops below the maximum amount.
In theory, you can set the maximum threads to 1 and still have a functional server. Setting this value to 1 would mean that the server could only handle one request at a time, but since HTTP requests for static files generally have a very short duration. Response time can be as low as 5 milliseconds. Processing one request at a time still allows you to process up to 200 requests per second.
However, in actuality, Internet clients frequently connect to the server and then do not complete their requests. In these cases, the server waits 30 seconds or more for the data before timing out. You can define this timeout period using the IO Timeout setting on the configuration's Performance tab ⇒ HTTP Settings page. You can also use the command wadm set-http-prop and set the io-timeout property. The default value is 30 seconds. By setting the default value to less than 30 seconds you can free up threads sooner, but you might also disconnect users with slower connections. Also, some sites perform heavyweight transactions that take minutes to complete. Both of these factors add to the maximum simultaneous requests that are required. If your site is processing many requests that take many seconds, you might need to increase the number of maximum simultaneous requests.
Suitable maximum threads values range from 100-500, depending on the load. Maximum Threads represents a hard limit for the maximum number of active threads that can run simultaneously, which can become a bottleneck for performance.
The thread pool minimum threads is the minimum number of threads the server initiates upon startup. The default is set to number of processors.
When configuring Web Server to be used with the Solaris Network Cache and Accelerator (SNCA), setting the maximum threads and the queue size to 0 provides better performance. Because SNCA manages the client connections, it is not necessary to set these parameters. These parameters can also be set to 0 with non-SNCA configurations, especially for cases in which short latency responses with no keep-alives must be delivered. It is important to note that the maximum threads and queue size must both be set to 0.
For information about using SNCA, see Using the Solaris Network Cache and Accelerator (SNCA).