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45 Page User Guide for the CF 8 Server Monitor

Note: This blog post is from 2008. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
If you're exploring the ColdFusion 8 Server Monitor, or perhaps have been using it and wonder if you may be getting all you can out of it, I want to point out an available 45-page user guide for it.

Ok, that's a bit of a tease. I'm referring to my 4-part series of articles on the Monitor available in the Adobe Dev Center. While I did them several months ago, I still often see people ask questions that are answered there, so I wanted to take a moment to remind folks of its existence. I realize that everyone may not keep up on the articles posted in the DevCenter (but I'll note that I offered an entry recently on how to keep up on new postings there and elsewhere.)

My CF8 Server Monitor article series was divided into 4 parts, which I've listed below. I also show here each articles's sections. (Note that the "table of contents" offered on the left of the online articles doesn't always list each section heading: it's more for breaking up the articles into managable sized online pages, which is too bad if one uses them as a gauge of the article's sections.) I've also broken down the sections into subsections.

  • Part 1: Using the Server Monitor in development
    • Unlocking the "black box"
    • Starting and using the Monitor
    • What it means to "Start Monitoring" (or not)
    • Useful monitoring for development
      • Tracking shared scope memory utilization
      • Track slowest tags or function calls
      • Tracking largest variables in a request
      • Tracking JVM Memory Usage
      • Tracking cached queries
      • Tracking large, slow, and frequent queries
  • Part 2: Using the Server Monitor in production
    • Challenges in managing a production ColdFusion 8 server
    • More zero-overhead reports
      • Template Cache status tracking
      • Session tracking revisited: active sessions over time
      • Tracking ColdFusion errors
    • Reports enabled with monitoring, profiling, or memory tracking
      • Avg Response Time and Requests Per Second
      • Active Requests
      • Queued/running requests over time
      • Finding heavy hitters
      • Active Queries
    • Aborting unresponsive or troublesome requests
  • Part 3: Automated monitoring and request management with Alerts and Snapshots
    • Automated monitoring and request management with Alerts
      • Toward 24x7 operations
      • Configuring Alerts
      • Available actions (overview)
      • Types of alerts
      • Viewing Alerts data
      • Available alert actions (details)
    • Substantial diagnostic details with Snapshots
      • The Snapshots page
      • Viewing snapshots
      • Stack traces within the Snapshot
      • Accessing past snapshot data
  • Part 4: Multiserver Monitor, Admin API monitoring, and more
    • An enterprise dashboard with the Multiserver Monitor
      • Opening the Multiserver Monitor
      • Adding new monitors
      • Observing the status of a monitored server
    • Some possible challenges using the Multiserver monitor
      • Securing the monitoring of your server
      • Be careful with browser caching and the cross-domain file
      • Multiserver Monitor configuration is stored per the domain used to open it
    • Programmatic Monitoring with the Admin API
    • Tweaking the Monitor in the Settings section
      • The General settings tab
      • The Filter Settings tab
      • The Profiling Filter tab
      • The Aliasing tab
      • The Refresh, Reset All Statistics buttons
    • Miscellaneous aspects of the Monitor
      • Flash Remoting must be enabled
      • Start settings remain enabled
      • Monitoring even when the server is becoming unresponsive

I hope you'll see from the above that there could be much more to the CF monitor than you may have realized. Each of the subsections often has lots of useful tips, tricks, and traps that I've observed over a year of use in both development and production.

And though I make the point in the articles, I'll repeat that some of the features come with zero overhead. I've blogged about that before. Don't let people tell you never to use it because it will harm your server's performance. As I say in each of the above, it's only the "Start memory tracking" button (one of 3 at the top) that could be trouble (and maybe "start profiling", but to a much less worrisome extend). But you don't even need to use the 3rd (and least obtrusive button) "start monitoring" to get a lot of great value from it. I stress more about this in parts 1 and 2 of the series.

What about FusionReactor and SeeFusion?

Of course, my support for the CF Server Monitor doesn't diminish my enthusiasm for alternatives like FusionReactor and SeeFusion, nor do I see one replacing the other as I've written about before. Each does something the other may not do, and I see value in each of them (and even have recommended running more than one at a time to solve certain problems).

See my corresponding blog categories on these, at the right, to find more entries on FR and SF, as well as the CF8 Server Monitor.

I just want to help people make the most of whatever monitor they use.

Available for Consulting Help as well

I'll throw in, as well, that if you need help using any of these tools, or doing any CF server troubleshooting, I'm available for consulting help, whether online or on-site, for as little time as is needed to help solve the problem. See my consulting page for more information. I've helped many organizations, large and small, resolve nagging problems, using either (or none) of these monitoring tools.

Feel free to contact me any time to pose a problem related to performance, stability, or similar errors or problems, and I'll let you know if it's something I can help with.

Averse to reading 45 pages online? you don't need to

For those who don't fancy the prospect of reading 45 pages of content online, note that I'm referring to the page count as it would be if you printed the available "printable version" (offered on all DevCenter articles). You can use that feature yourself to obtain a single long HTML page for each article, and then if you want you could print that out. (And if you use features in your printer to print multiple pages to a side and 2-sided, as I discuss here, you can fit it all in just a few pieces of paper!) (Update: tipicalcharlie domain is no more, but page recovered using Archive.org.)

I'll add that for those who prefer watching over reading, I've also given presentations about the monitor at several conferences and user groups (some available as online recordings), which you can find at my presentations page.

For more content like this from Charlie Arehart: Need more help with problems?
  • If you may prefer direct help, rather than digging around here/elsewhere or via comments, he can help via his online consulting services
  • See that page for more on how he can help a) over the web, safely and securely, b) usually very quickly, c) teaching you along the way, and d) with satisfaction guaranteed
Can we get a single .pdf of the entire article? Would like to have it set out next to the admin's server. Thanks.
# Posted By Robert Myers | 8/1/08 3:49 PM
Rob, I'm looking into that. I need to make sure Adobe's ok with it, and whether they'd want me to to put any sort of attribution on the article. They have gone to a Creative Commons license for Dev Center articles in recent months. I just can't remember if these were covered by that, and if so, how that affects creating a single PDF of the three (for me to redistribute). I've asked my connections there, so we'll see.
In case anyone finds this in the future, note that while it refers to CF8 above, the monitor is essentially unchanged in CF9, so all the above applies there as well.
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