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Posts Tagged ‘java

Tuning a JVM for Berkeley DB Java Edition

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For those who not have heard about Berkeley DB (called BDB): it is a transactional storage engine with basic key/value pairs, very agile and highly performance-oriented, with no SQL-like engine. Compared to it’s native version, the Java Edition has quite a few differences and is useful when it is to be integrated with a basic Java application.

The aim of the database is to be available in RAM all the time as much as possible, so that all query responses are fast. Based on this, here’s my take on tuning the JVM that hosts the BDB:

  • JVM heap size should be around the same size as the data store
  • Use the Concurrent Mark/Sweep GC algorithm to have low-pause GC times
  • Since most of the objects are going to be living ‘forever’, it’ll make sense to have a huge tenured generation
  • If the DB size can vary, refrain from giving Xmx and Xms the same values. Give a huge difference so that the JVM can manage it as your data grows

This is what CATALINA_OPTS might look like (includes a lot of debug flags as well):

CATALINA_OPTS="-server -Xms1024m -Xmx4096m -XX:+UseMembar -XX:+PrintGCDetails -
XX:+PrintGCApplicationStoppedTime -XX:NewRatio=4 -XX:+UseConcMarkSweepGC -verbos
e:gc -Xloggc:/appl/tomcat/logs/gcdata.txt"

-XX+UseMemBar is there to accomodate for the high IO waits I had been seeing – I think there’s a problem in linux with the JDK using memory barriers. I read about the bug here.

BDB Java Edition is not a replacement for a traditional database, but is a means to have almost immediate results for things like look-up data, subscriptions and most frequently-used information. There are quite a number of on-line resources available to help you set it up and use it – native or Java, whichever your flavor is.

memcached is another such tool that is useful when improving performance for an application-database connection.  More on it in another post some other time.


Written by mohitsuley

August 8, 2008 at 9:30 pm

Making SSI work on a JSP response

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If you need to parse SSI from a JSP response, there are two simple ways to do it:

1. Use the SSIServlet and handle it within tomcat
2. If you have a separate web server like Apache in front of tomcat, and you want that web server to do it, the plot thickens.

If you ask, ‘why, when you are already using Java? You can do all that you can do with SSI in a JSP, right?‘, you might be surprised. Let’s just say the reason is out-of-scope for this post.

So, you have a three-tier architecture with web servers spread across the world and app/DB servers local to certain data-centers. Naturally, you might want to ‘assimilate’ content on the web servers (closest to local users based on 3DNS/similar) where it’s already present instead of shuttling bytes back-and-forth between the web and app layers. That’s the reason. And did I say earlier it was out of scope? My bad.

The way you would do it is set up Apache on a specific Location to grab for, put an AddOutputFilterByType statement with the MIME type as text/x-server-parsed-html and finally, on the JSP itself, you will set the MIME type using setContentHeader for the response.

Your Location section might look like this:

<Location /application/ssiparser >
Options +Includes
AddOutputFilterByType INCLUDES;DEFLATE text/x-server-parsed-html

In an ideal scenario, everything should have been hunky-dory, but life isn’t so simple. At least it didn’t happen so easily for me.

What I had done earlier was, in order to make certain performance improvements, added a CompressionFilter on tomcat to gzip all responses from it so that the app-web performance improves as well. This meant that once the response reached Apache it would already be gzipped and SSI parsing would not be possible. Mind you, this is Apache 2.0.x and not 2.2.x where you can actually set up FilterDeclare and such.

There are two ways to get around this problem:

1. Get the CompressionFilter to exclude the Location you have on for SSI, and then pass on INCLUDES;DEFLATE to AddOutputFilterByType.
2. Or, unset the Accept-Encoding header on the request first so that it doesn’t take gzip and the CompressionFilter doesn’t compress it at all. If I try to deflate it again now, it doesn’t happen.

The problem with (2) is that you end up sending decompressed data across. Option (1) would be the right way to go.

(1) will entail a change on the web.xml for your application.

(2) will look like this:

<Location /application/ssiparser >
Options +Includes
RequestHeader unset Accept-Encoding
RequestHeader set Accept-Encoding deflate
AddOutputFilterByType INCLUDES;DEFLATE text/x-server-parsed-html

The JSP will start with:

<!--#include virtual="/static/content/news.html"-->
<!--#include virtual="/static/content/weather.html"-->
<!--#include virtual="/static/content/media.html"-->

Most folks do not upgrade Apache as they do with other kinds of software, just because it's so damn stable and fulfills your requirements very well. However, I feel if you need to work with filters and play around with them, 2.2 will be the way to go.

Written by mohitsuley

August 7, 2008 at 1:15 am