WebSphere Application Server & Liberty

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Lessons from the field #1: A free Troubleshooting and Performance Lab

By Kevin Grigorenko posted Wed January 27, 2021 01:40 PM

This is the first post in a new blog series by the IBM Automation Portfolio Specialists - App Platform team (formerly the IBM App Platform SWAT team). Our team engages worldwide in critical situations for IBM WebSphere Application Server (WAS) (traditional and Liberty) with deep expertise in WAS, Java, operating systems, networking and other technologies to drive client success. This blog series will focus on practical lessons from the field that you can use to improve the health of your systems.

Today, we'll cover the free lab we've created to help you learn how to troubleshoot and performance tune WAS deployments: the WebSphere Application Server Troubleshooting and Performance Lab. For those already familiar with this lab, stay tuned for future blog posts that dive into fresh technical topics such as tips for WAS on OpenShift, theoretical topics around performance tuning, deep dive topics like tuning TCP/IP, tooling, and much more.

The WAS Troubleshooting and Performance lab is really use to use: 1) Install podman or Docker Desktop on your computer, 2) Download and run the lab, and 3) Start a VNC or remote desktop session with the password websphere to run the lab. Everything is fully self-contained so you can even run the lab without internet. If you don't have permissions to install Docker Desktop, we recommend setting up a Docker environment on Linux somewhere in your company, run the lab there, and then remote into it. If you'd like to see a video presentation of the lab and a demo showing how to run and use it, check out a replay of a talk we gave on it.

Another nice feature of the lab is that you can either run through it step-by-step or jump right into a particular topic. It's been designed so that all the pre-requisites are baked in and you can start anywhere you'd like if you're only interested in learning a particular type of problem or how to use a particular tool. We based the content on the things we see in the field that affect the most customers. You can see all the topics in the Table of Contents in the lab document, including CPU analysis, thread dump analysis, Java garbage collection analysis, Java memory analysis, and more.

Once you've remoted in, you'll be at a Linux Fedora 35 GUI session. Then, simply follow the instructions in the lab document to start simulated web traffic with Apache JMeter pointed at either the pre-installed WAS traditional or WAS Liberty servers and investigate issues with pre-installed tools such as GCMV, TMDA, MAT, HealthCenter, and more. As background and for ideas of what to do in addition to the self-paced lab, you might also find interest in these other recent presentations we gave:

Troubleshooting and Performance Lab Screenshot

Troubleshooting and Performance Lab Screenshot 2

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