Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server v2.1.1 Performance Tuning Guide

Keep Alive

Both HTTP 1.0 and HTTP 1.1 support the ability to send multiple requests across a single HTTP session. A server can receive hundreds of new HTTP requests per second. If every request was allowed to keep the connection open indefinitely, the server could become overloaded with connections. On Unix/Linux systems, this could easily lead to a file table overflow.

The Application Server’s Keep Alive system addresses this problem. A waiting keep alive connection has completed processing the previous request, and is waiting for a new request to arrive on the same connection. The server maintains a counter for the maximum number of waiting keep-alive connections. If the server has more than the maximum waiting connections open when a new connection waits for a keep-alive request, the server closes the oldest connection. This algorithm limits the number of open waiting keep-alive connections.

If your system has extra CPU cycles, incrementally increase the keep alive settings and monitor performance after each increase. When performance saturates (stops improving), then stop increasing the settings.

The following HTTP keep alive settings affect performance:

Max Connections

Max Connections controls the number of requests that a particular client can make over a keep-alive connection. The range is any positive integer, and the default is 256.

Adjust this value based on the number of requests a typical client makes in your application. For best performance specify quite a large number, allowing clients to make many requests.

The number of connections specified by Max Connections is divided equally among the keep alive threads. If Max Connections is not equally divisible by Thread Count, the server can allow slightly more than Max Connections simultaneous keep alive connections.

Time Out

Time Out determines the maximum time (in seconds) that the server holds open an HTTP keep alive connection. A client can keep a connection to the server open so that multiple requests to one server can be serviced by a single network connection. Since the number of open connections that the server can handle is limited, a high number of open connections will prevent new clients from connecting.

The default time out value is 30 seconds. Thus, by default, the server will close the connection if idle for more than 30 seconds. The maximum value for this parameter is 300 seconds (5 minutes).

The proper value for this parameter depends upon how much time is expected to elapse between requests from a given client. For example, if clients are expected to make requests frequently then, set the parameter to a high value; likewise, if clients are expected to make requests rarely, then set it to a low value.