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From David Bishop <>
Subject Re: Performance issues with tomcat 5
Date Wed, 15 Feb 2006 19:19:32 GMT

I was running Apache Cocoon with Tomcat 5.0.28 and a Sun 1.4.2 JVM.

Unexpectedly the system was falling over at a certain load and not  
gracefully slowing down. At a certain number of concurrent users it  
was returning very strange errors including Java Out of Memory  
errors, but only after returning some weird ones!

After doing some intensive testing and not getting anywhere I looked  
for help from the Cocoon community and was pointed at the JVM because  
the stock for garbage collection is no good for web servers and can  
be improved with fine tuning via command line parameters. The  
following document has some good points regarding it..

I actually solved all my problems by upgrading to the 1.5 JVM which  
has far better garbage collection handling and I have found under  
regression testing the web system gracefully slows down when things  
get tough as opposed to falling over, it also performs much better  
than it did under the 1.4.2 JVM.

Hope this helps,


On 15 Feb 2006, at 13:29, Leon Rosenberg wrote:

> Hi,
> has someone ever estimated the max possible load for tomcat? We are
> suffering from very odd behaviour, as long as tomcat/machine is under
> certain load it works very well, but then it just "breaks a magical
> limit" and the performance breaks down.
> Tomcat or the JVM are starting to leak memory (we are running with
> mx800M, and are normally at 600+ free memory, but then it goes to
> zero). Tomcat begins to throw absolutely ununderstandable exceptions,
> like beans not present in scope which are normally there, socket/pipe
> errors, unable to deliver 5xx or 4xx error pages and so on. Busy
> threads are going high, from 10-20 to some hundreds.
> We are running with jdk1.4.2_04, tomcat 5.0.25, linux kernel 2.6.8
> (debian) 32 bit on different hardware, intel or opteron 1-2
> processors, 32 and 64 bit processors (up to 4 virtual processors). No
> tomcat clustering, no app. server. Our loadbalancing is based on CPU
> Idle time, so the amount of traffic on each machine is different,
> faster machines serving 4 times more then slower. The faster machines
> are serving 100-150 requests per second in normal, and approx. 300-400
> requests per second in peak times. Avg. request duration is <15 ms in
> normal times (the servlet execution, not counting the jsp transmission
> afterwards) and 100-200 under high load.
> We need some serious performance benchmarks, but those are hard to
> find (most people talk about absolutely irrelevant things like
> database tuning)...
> Any good links?
> Leon
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