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What's new in FusionReactor 7.3 - over a dozen useful new features and enhancements

FusionReactor (my favorite server monitor) continues its onward march of refinement and improvement with its latest release which came out last week, 7.3. In this post, I highlight over a dozen of its new features and improvements.

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FusionReactor, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways (a new blog series)

Many will know that I'm a huge fan of FusionReactor, the monitoring tool (and more) for ColdFusion, Lucee, or any Java server (Tomcat, Jetty, Glassfish, JBoss, Wildfly, WebLogic, etc). And now I want to start a new series of posts on it. For more, read on.

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VisualVM failing to find plugins/updates? Solving the 503 error with an updated URL

Have you tried to update or simply see the available plugins for VisualVM (the Java monitoring tool built into the JDK), and found that it fails to respond right away (the progress bar will show "checking") and then it reports:

Unable to connect to the Java VisualVM Plugins Center because of Server returned HTTP response code: 503 for URL: http://www.oracle.com/splash/java.net/maintenance/index.html

There is a solution.

TLDR: the quick answer is to change the URL used by the tool (Tools>Plugins>Settings) to use a new URL, such as https://visualvm.github.io/uc/8u131/updates.xml.gz.

For those who'd appreciate more detail, read on.

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New whitepapers from Adobe on ColdFusion 2016: lockdown, migration, and performance

Continuing my series of posts on new things in CF2016 which some may miss,there are some new resources from Adobe about CF 2016, posted in recent days. (I suppose we may see a post from Adobe on their blog at some point, but I wanted to share it in the meantime.)

You can find them listed as "whitepapers" at the bottom of ColdFusion.com (as I view it today, at least), so keep an eye there to see if perhaps any others may ever be added.

Here are the docs, with some observations also about their size and version, if available:

  • Lockdown Guide (85 pages, currently version 1.0, released Feb 2) - An update to the classic document that Pete Freitag has been doing for CF for a few releases. Everyone should read this, and heed its recommendations. I'll have more to say on that in another post.
  • Migration Guide (22 pages, currently version 2.0, no date offered) - Focuses on a few things: how installation on a current server running CF already offers to migrate admin settings; how one can do that with the CF Archive (CAR) feature (available for CF Standard since CF11); using the Code Analyzer, and how to troubleshoot some server-level migration issues. For more on "what's new" in 2016, see the docs page on What's New in CF2016. For more on what's deprecated, see the docs or my other post discussing what's deprecated in 2016
  • Server Performance White Paper (9 pages, version 2.0, no version or date info offered) - Discusses specific performance improvements in CF 2016 (not performance of CF in general, nor performance-related changes in previous releases, nor all available optimizations in code or config). It's focused solely on changes in CF 2016 (or could be a huge document), whether regarding existing code/configuration as migrated or as impacted via new config/coding options available. Includes an appendix indicating the server and CF admin configuration for the testing they did.
  • API Manager Performance White Paper (18 pages, no version or date info offered) - Discusses load testing done against the new API Manager, and the rate of traffic sustained (very important as an aspect of the API Manager is to act as a gateway for performing, managing, monitoring, caching, and even throttling API calls, whether against CF or any server in your infrastructure). Since the API Manager is a new product, it's a larger document than that on CF, focused as it is only on changes in 2016 (in case anyone may comment that the CF Performance guide is only half its size)

There is also now a single page from Adobe listing all the CF2016 whitepapers (and datasheets).

Hope that's helpful. Check 'em out.

The ColdFusion 'metrics log', an oft-missed or misunderstood feature, 'new' since CF10 (Part 1)

I'd like to take a diversion from my recent posts focused on CF2016 and talk about something that applies (and should interest) anyone using CF 10, 11, or 2016.

Have you heard of the new "metrics log" option that was enabled in CF10? If you have not, it's worth knowing about (there's precious little documentation, and I'll point to it, and give you still more info to help you use it). It's a useful, low-impact mechanism to get some high-level metrics logged by CF every 60 seconds (by default), and stored along with other CF logs.

If you did know about it, you've probably had some problems with it. Why does it show "nulls"? What do reported metrics really mean? Why do they not jive with what I'd expect to be the numbers reported?

In this post, and a Part 2 to come, I will introduce the metrics log, pointing out some key things you need to know to have it setup to work at all, and then I'll share my observations of things I've come to understand about the reported metrics.

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Monitoring ColdFusion web server connectors, more on Tomcat 'Status Workers'

If you're running CF 10 or above, there was a very interesting post on the Adobe CF blog, from July 19 2015, entitled, Configuring Status Worker in Connectors. (If that URL fails, here's a link via the archive.org site.) The Adobe blog post title may not have caught your attention, but it's about setting up a lightweight and built-in Tomcat monitoring feature for observing the status of the Tomcat web server connector.

You may want to consider enabling it, but I would add some caveats and observations that I share below. Note that it's really quite easy to enable, and DOES NOT require a restart of CF (only of your web server, or technically in IIS, the application pool/s) to take effect.

If you've not yet read their blog entry, go check it out and then come back here for several observations I have to share, some of which I think you'll agree could be very important. (BTW, if you don't follow that Adobe CF blog regularly, you really should. Often great content, and very little "noise".)

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Free, simple code to find out what SQL statements are running slow in SQL Server right now

Often when people are trying to troubleshoot seeming problems in ColdFusion (or whatever app server you use), they may wonder if (or have tools which suggest that) their CF requests are being held up waiting for some long-running query to run in the database.

Wouldn't it be nice to know, at any moment (such as when things are going badly), just what queries (or stored procedures or commands) were running in the database at that point in time?

Well here's good news: if you're running SQL Server, the following SQL query will show you just that: the currently running SQL statement(s) and some additional details about each query including their duration, their database name, the program executing the SQL, the session id, and much more.

(If you're running MYSQL, you may know that you can get pretty much the same info with SHOW PROCESSLIST. Or if you want to do it as SQL, you can use SELECT * FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PROCESSLIST WHERE COMMAND != 'Sleep'. Sadly, it's just not that simple in SQL Server, it seems, thus the need for this entry.)

The code for SQL Server

Following is the code, and then some discussion of it:

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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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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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