The stateful container manages the stateful session beans, which, by definition, carry the client-specific state. There is a one-to-one relationship between the client and the stateful session beans. At creation, each stateful session bean (SFSB) is given a unique session ID that is used to access the session bean so that an instance of a stateful session bean is accessed by a single client only.
The max-cache-size element specifies the maximum number of session beans that are held in cache. If the cache overflows (when the number of beans exceeds max-cache-size), the container then passivates some beans or writes out the serialized state of the bean into a file. The directory in which the file is created is obtained from the EJB container using the configuration APIs.
For more information about sun-ejb-jar.xml, see The sun-ejb-jar.xml File in Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server 2.1 Application Deployment Guide.
The passivated beans are stored on the file system. The Session Store Location setting in the EJB container allows the administrator to specify the directory where passivated beans are stored. By default, passivated stateful session beans are stored in application-specific subdirectories created under domain-dir/session-store.
Make sure the delete option is set in the server.policy file, or expired file-based sessions might not be deleted properly. For more information about server.policy, see The server.policy File.
The Session Store Location setting also determines where the session state is persisted if it is not highly available; see Choosing a Persistence Store.