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My presentations at ColdFusion Summit, CFCamp, etc.

I wanted to share word here of the presentations I'll be offering at the upcoming Adobe ColdFusion Summit 2014 in Vegas on Oct 16-17, as well as CFCamp 2014 in Munich on Oct 20-21.

Also, sorry for the long delay in blogging. Just been so busy doing my CF server troubleshooting consulting.

As for my sessions at CFSummit (next week), I'll be doing the following (and you can follow the links to learn more about the talks, their dates and times, etc.):

At CFCamp, the following week, I'll be offering:

I had also presented the Hidden Gems talk at NCDevCon 2014.

These are all great conferences, and, in addition to cf.Objective 2014 (where I spoke also, on different topics), they are each great ways to keep up on what's going on in the world of ColdFusion and related technologies.

Finally, if someday you're visiting this blog entry and find that one of the conference links no longer work, you can find my own link to all my presentations, at all conferences the past 15+ years (as well as to any recordings made available) at my presentations page.

Come say hello if you're at any of these events.

CF911: High CPU in ColdFusion? Some common but perhaps unexpected causes

I often help people who are reporting that CF is "running hot on the CPU", maybe reaching 80 or even 100% of the CPU, whether in spikes or for extended periods. What might you propose people look at, when you've heard that? I've heard all kinds of things over the years, often focused on coding, or perhaps jvm tuning.

But as is often the case in a lot of the CF server troubleshooting consulting I do, I find the causes to be far less often what most people seem to suspect. So what would I look for when someone reported high CPU in ColdFusion (or Railo)? Read on.

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Ever find the ColdFusion Server Monitor "start" buttons missing? Just refresh...

Have you ever opened the ColdFusion Enterprise Server monitor, only to find that all the pods on the front page are blank? More specifically, have you noticed that the "start" buttons at the top are not there? See below for an example. The good news is that there's an easy "solution" to get it working correctly again.

This entry discusses the problem and solution.

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CF911: Want to monitor ColdFusion "out of process" (from outside the instance itself)? Many ways.

I just blogged about how the hidden gem "enable monitoring server" option in CF 9.0.1 does NOT cause the CF Server Monitor to somehow magically run "out of process". See more on that.

Yet people will reasonably want to be able to have some mechanism that "watches" CF "from the outside", to know when it's gone down. How can you do that? That's what I'll point out in this entry.

And beyond talking about what goes along with the CF Enterprise Server Monitor, I'll also point out options for those who are NOT running CF 8, 9, or 10 Enterprise and therefore do not have the Enterprise Server Monitor. This also includes those CF 6 or 7. There are solutions for you, and also for those running Railo, BD, or indeed any Java server. More on all that in a moment.

This is part 4 of an unexpected series of entries today on the CF Enterprise Server Monitor. :-) I got on a roll, and each seemed deserving of its own topic. See the "Related Blog Entries" below this entry for links to those.

What the CF Server Monitor is, and is not

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CF911: "Enable Monitoring Server" option (new in ColdFusion 9.01) DOES NOT monitor "out of process"

Have you been led to believe that the "Enable Monitoring Server" option (new in the CF 9.0.1 Admin) somehow magically runs the CF Enterprise Server Monitor "out of process". Sadly, even some folks from Adobe have and still may assert that. It's just not true. So what is this option about, then? I'm not denying its value. I just want to clarify it.

BTW, today is "more about the CF Server Monitor" day today here at carehart.org. :-) In my last two entries today, I talked about related matters, regarding the impact of the 3 "start" buttons (monitoring, profiling, and memory tracking), as a followup to an older entry I did on them when the monitor came out with CF 8 in 2007. See the "related blog entries" below for more.

In the last entry, I mentioned that in 9.0.1, Adobe added a new "Monitoring Settings" page to the CF Admin, and one of the features is that ability I discussed to turn off the 3 start buttons from within the Admin.

Below that is this other feature, labeled "Enable Monitoring Server". Let me say first that has really have nothing to do with all the discussion of the "start" buttons in the previous entries.

So what does "Enabling Monitor Server" do?

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CF911: Disabling the ColdFusion Server Monitor "start" buttons, when you can't get into the Monitor

Many know I'm a big fan of CF monitoring, whether with CF Server Monitor, FusionReactor, or SeeFusion. I've written plenty on each (see the categories to the right here).

But the CF Server Monitor does have an Achilles Heel: you may turn on one of its "start" buttons, especially "memory tracking", and find that it's crippling your server. You may not be able to then turn off the feature.

I talked about this potential issue in an entry when CF 8 was released back in 2007, CF Server Monitor: what's the impact on production? you may be surprised. I clarify there that the monitor will not, as some assert, "always kill your server". See that for more details.

And I discussed in an entry earlier today that you can't just "close the monitor" or even restart CF to make the problem go away, because that won't stop the functionality. See CF911: Using the #ColdFusion Server Monitor? Be aware that the "Start" buttons remain enabled.

So what if you are in a situation where using one of the features, especially typically "memory tracking", has in fact sent your server into a tizzy. If you can't even get into the monitor to turn it off, you're going to be in quite a pickle, and understandably panicked.

Easy solution if you're on CF 9.0.1

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CF911: Using the ColdFusion Server Monitor? Be aware that the "Start" buttons remain enabled

If you use the CF Enterprise Server Monitor (in CF 8, 9, or 10), it's vital that you understand that if you turn on any of the Start buttons at the top ("Start Monitoring", "Start Profiling", or "Start Memory Tracking"), the settings they enable in CF STAY TURNED ON, even if you close the monitor, and EVEN IF YOU RESTART CF.

Why is this important? Well, I discussed the impact of these buttons (which can be severe or negligible, depending on certain factors) in a blog entry I wrote back in 2007 when CF8 was released.

And today someone was kind enough to point it out to someone on Twitter, so I took a look at it and tweaked it a bit to give some more context. While doing that, I realized I'd never mentioned this fact about the "start" buttons, and about an important related change in CF 9.01 (and 10), thus this entry.

The buttons remain enabled over CF restart or closing the monitor

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I'm speaking this evening on the Adobe CF Developer Week webinars: mine on CF Server Monitor

Hey folks, just a heads up (for those who may not have seen all the tweets and list messages) that this week is the Adobe CF Developer Week series of free webinars.

Update, Recording: Note that this session was recorded. You can view it here, but note that you must login with an Adobe ID to see it.

And I'm presenting a session tonight, Tuesday September 13, at 7pm Eastern, on "Understanding and Using the ColdFusion Server Monitor".

As many of you know, I'm pretty much a fanatic about the monitor, especially about truly understanding elements of it that many miss. And so in my talk this will not be just a dog and pony show, but I will talk about practical experiences with it, though presented to either those new to it or experienced with it.

Note that the times for all these devweek sessions is shown (on the Adobe site) as being Pacific time, so again mine is at 7pm, not 4pm, Eastern.

And yes, the sessions are being recorded and seem to be made available the next day.

Finally, beware that there is no one URL you can use to join in on all the Connect sessions, nor can you get the Connect session URL by going to the event page (via the first link above). Instead, you must register for each event (free) from that first page, to get each session's Connect URL--and you'll want to do that at least several minutes in advance of any session to have time to register, get the email, login, etc.

See you then.

PS Hey, while we're talking monitoring, note as well that if you've not heard, FusionReactor has come out with its new release 4, which has lots of great additions, especially FREC (or the FR Extensions for CF) which cause FR to grab and log lots of great info that the CF Server Monitor only shows and never logs. I'll be blogging about FR 4 soon, but plenty to see on their site. and FusionAnalytics is also just about to release, really!

I won't be discussing these at this talk, focused solely on the server monitor, but as I always tell folks, each tool has its use and often a single shop can benefit from having both (like I do, as do many of the clients I help with troubleshooting). You can find more from me about FR here in my blog. And I'll have lots more to say about FA and FR4 more soon.

CF911: Lies, Damned Lies, and CF Request Timeouts...What You May Not Realize

How often have you seen (or seen others complain of getting) a CF page running longer than it's "supposed to" by a timeout you have set. Maybe you've set the CF Admin "request timeout" (first setting on first page of the Admin), or used the cfsetting requesttimeout tag or the timeout attribute on some specific tag if it's available, trying to get the request to "end" in 60 seconds, and yet you see a request running for 3 minutes, 3 hours, or 3 days! How can that happen?

Or same with if you've set the request to timeout using an alerting feature in a CF monitor like CF Enterprise server monitor, FusionReactor, or SeeFusion.

And perhaps you've seen this error from ColdFusion, in your logs or on-screen:

The request has exceeded the allowable time limit Tag: cfoutput

Do you know what this means? It's usually not what you think, and it may appear as I said 3 hours after a request was "supposed to timeout" in 60 seconds. I've even seen experienced CF developers who get thrown by this challenge. It's not new (and for those reading this even in the CF2016 era, it still happens). And it's not so much a "bug" (in either CF or the monitor tools) but just a situation that you need to understand, and there can be some ways to resolve things.

In this entry I'll try to help explain this surprisingly common problem and I hope to correct some equally common misconceptions. I'll even contend that the info in this error message is often useless and indeed misleading (and therefore the feature producing it ought not be relied upon completely, and should perhaps even be turned off for many). More important, again, there may be a way to "really" kill such a long-running request. Along the way, I'll share some things that I've not seen documented elsewhere.

I also share a solution that may work for query processing but it's NOT about a tag attribute but rather a CF Admin setting in the datasource "advanced settings" to set a "query timeout". This was added in CF 9, but many never noticed. If that's your problem and you want to skip to more on that here, feel free. but you may want to come back and read the rest as it is STILL not a perfect solution.

Strap on your seatbelts. We're going for a bit of a ride (if this situation was easy to understood in the length of a tweet, then perhaps everyone would already understand it and not find it challenging!) As always, I welcome feedback.

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I'll be speaking at cf.Objective() on "Stack Tracing CFML Requests to Solve Problems"

Though I got the news a couple of weeks ago that my submission to cf.Objective() 2010 had been accepted, I only tweeted my delight about it and didn't blog it. Here's the description:

"CF911: Stack Tracing CFML Requests to Solve Problems"

Regardless of what CFML server monitoring tool(s) you have, or even if none, did you know that you can use a feature called "stack traces" to be able to pinpoint the exact line of code that a CFML request is running at any time? Did you know how to use that information to troubleshoot performance/stability problems? Do you know how to obtain that information either manually or automatically (such as during a crash while you're not watching)? Do you know how to obtain that information in any of the CFML Server Monitors (FusionReactor, SeeFusion, the CF8/9 Enterprise Server Monitor), or with free command line tools? And how to do this for any CFML engine (CF, Railo, BlueDragon, etc.)? Do you know how to interpret the information once you get it?

In this session, veteran CF troubleshooter Charlie Arehart will help remove the mystery from using stack traces. It really is amazingly simple with the right tools, and it can be incredibly useful to solve otherwise thorny problems, once you understand how to interpret the information.

Of course, I'm thrilled to be heading back to Minneapolis. I spoke there previously in 2008 and 2007 but couldn't attend in 2009. It'll be great to see all the fine folks who run and attend this unique conference.

BTW, I just saw also that CFUnited announced another round of topics accepted today and I see a topic whose title if very similar, "How to Read a Stack Trace", by the inimitable Daryl Banttari. It's hard to tell from his brief description how similar these will be, but Daryl is awesome so I'm sure I'll learn much from his. (I was literally just about to offer mine as another CFUnited submission but now won't of course. :-) Hopefully another of my submissions will be accepted, so I can keep my streak of having spoken at every CFUnited since they started.)

Anyway, the good news is that whichever conference you go to, this important (and often misunderstood) topic will be covered! :-)

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