|By Tim Nettleton||
|January 9, 2002 12:00 AM EST||
Far too often we listen to the naysayers who tell us that something can't be done and give poorly founded reasons as to why our troubles persist. The ColdFusion Application Server is no exception to their folly. If you ask people for the drawbacks of ColdFusion, most will reply "speed" or "stability." Let me be the first to tell you that it does not have to be that way.
The system described in this article was built to change the way we think about our code and applications. COSMOS was designed to change our perceptions of the ColdFusion Application Server and to enhance the ColdFusion experience.
If you have ever looked in the /cfusion/log/ directory you've probably seen one or more of the many ColdFusion-generated error/information logs. These text files can easily grow to hundreds of MB and contain the best indicators of "what happened." As with any other service or application, a regular review of system logs should be a part of normal administration. Unfortunately, because of their large size and the fact that the data is segmented into so many logs, it's difficult to get a complete picture of performance, problems, and failure.
Developers who work on a dedicated server can use the ColdFusion Administrator to view these logs. This can be accomplished by clicking on "Log Files" and then downloading the entire log via a browser. Unfortunately, this is usually not possible given the size of most logs and the remote connection speed.
For shared developers, the critical information is unavailable due to the nature of the shared environment and security. In most cases, developers know only what a site user tells them or what they trap using CFTRY/CFCATCH and CFERROR. Even with these mechanisms in place, the larger picture is unavailable and the majority of performance issues go unnoticed and unattended.
The above issues hinder administrators and developers alike. The result is:
To be successful, a solution must have several characteristics:
The solution is COSMOS. Written mainly with Cold-Fusion, it's an integration of ASP, DOS, Perl, ADSI, and Call-XML. It's a remote management platform that leverages the file system, registry, metabase, service controls, and performance counters. Currently, COSMOS contains over 16-million server events aggregated into an MS-SQL database. Captured within a maximum of 40 seconds, these events include all of the following:
- Application errors
- CF Application Server stop/starts
- Hung threads
- Long-running templates
- Missing templates
- Scheduled task results
- Undeliverable e-mails
- Mail sent
There are over 20 COSMOS reports available to a dedicated client, most of which are also available for shared customers. The following is a list of some reports with a brief description of how they impact the development and maintenance cycle.
There are several listings available, each with similar characteristics. A listing allows the user to select the maximum number of records to view per screen and how far back to examine data. It also allows the user to progress backward from that point to review previous messages. The majority of listings allow filtering to a single IIS root. They also provide direct access to the complete original error and a corrected code context lookup.
General Application Error Listing
Application errors are the best view into the progress and developmental completeness of a site (see Figure 1). A well-coded site generates no application errors. This listing provides a top-down view of the most recent application errors for all IIS roots. By clicking on the error message on the right, a popup window displays the error message as displayed to a site visitor.
General Missing Template
This applies to all .cfm templates requested by the Web server, but not found. In most cases, the developer doesn't even know that people are getting "404 File Not Found" messages. If a search engine indexes your site or a user bookmarks a page, a change in the site causes missed business. The solution is to use the default missing template handler in ColdFusion Administrator or to add a CFERROR TYPE="REQUEST" in your site's Application.cfm.
Long-Running Template Listing
This applies to the processing time for pages that take longer than expected. The determination of how long is too long is configured in the logging/settings section of ColdFusion Administrator. A typical setting is 45 seconds, though anything taking that long would most likely be canceled or ignored by the calling client. In addition, a script running for 45 seconds could help identify a performance bottleneck for the application server. By default, CF Administrator doesn't enable this counter. Over time, a development team should ratchet this value as low as possible to get the best diagnostics.
Undeliverable CFMAIL Listing
When ColdFusion is unable to deliver a message to the server specified in a CFMAIL script, the original template is renamed and filed in the /cfusion/ mail/undeliver/ directory. An error message is also written to the Mail.log or Error.log describing the problem that prevents proper delivery. This listing binds those two pieces of information together.
The following popup allows an administrator to correct and resend the message from the original server. This function is indispensable for any business that relies on CFMAIL to reliably carry e-mail, and can't accept undelivered messages.
Hung Thread Listing
This is probably the greatest indicator of a performance and stability problem. Hung threads are ColdFusion's method of alerting us that it was unable to completely process the requested template. This is usually the result of code or database issues. CF4.x and above has an option in the Administrator to have CF "restart at x unresponsive requests."
When the hung thread count matches the defined threshold, ColdFusion reaches a critical point and will stop/restart itself to avoid excessive downtime. Constant examination of hung threads is necessary to avoid application server failure. At the end of this article I've included three links that help to define more fully the causes of hung threads.
Scheduled Task Listing
Most scheduled tasks run completely unnoticed until someone realizes that a critical function has not processed in days. This listing is not much to look at but, under the hood, a huge modification and improvement has been created for the executive service.
As always, COSMOS can determine if your task started, succeeded, or failed based on the logs. Furthermore, COSMOS will allow you to define a target string in the page HTML and record the generated content from the target URL to the database. If a scheduled task does not return the defined string, an e-mail containing the content and diagnostics can be generated at the time of failure. In addition, the actual HTTP response (CFHTTP.FILECONTENT) is zipped and written to the database.
Aggregation and Stratification
More commonly called a GROUPING, the next series of graphs were created to help identify the greatest problems quickly. By examining the data based on time, date, and IIS root, we can gather a greater understanding of where faults exist.
Application Log Stratification by IIS Root
Over a selectable time span, this graph allows you to see which sites are having the greatest incidence of errors (see Figure 2). By clicking on the blue horizontal bar on the right, you're driven back to the general application error listing but with an additional sort parameter that isolates errors created by the target root.
Especially useful in determining if your day is getting better or worse, this graph breaks down the server errors by 10 minute increments over a selectable date span. This is often used to diagnose a recurring failure point over a multiple day or week period.
Application Errors Stratified by Date
Similar to the previous idea, this graph groups the number of errors by the date that they occurred (see Figure 3). This helps to identify programming trends and can easily indicate a "bad day" for an application. By clicking on the blue bar, your browser is taken to the application log stratification by IIS root. Clicking on the "Time Graph" button brings you to the next graph.
Long-Running Template Aggregation by IIS Root
Similar to the previous root aggregations, this has several prominent exceptions. Because a long-running page has a value associated with the processing time, I've included a column for the sum and average values. Using this display, it's possible to extract the templates most often run beyond acceptable limits, thus demanding the greatest processing time. This affects performance, though not necessarily a failure, and is a fantastic indicator of templates that need to be addressed before they become a stability issue.
Hung Thread Aggregation by IIS Root
This graph will often tell which application is responsible for killing the server. Over a selectable data span you can easily see which sites are causing CF to lose processing threads and tie up resources. The blue horizontal bar links back to the hung thread listing for a given root.
The Big and the Bad
With the thousands of errors, tasks, and events returned each hour, it's easy to become overwhelmed. In addition, not all errors have the same weight on the application server or urgency to a business owner. To resolve this problem a system of alerts and probes runs in the background. Operating at several intervals, the most relevant problems are quickly pulled out of the pool and matched with a type and severity. Once a probe identifies an event or error candidate, the alert has an option of paging, e-mailing, or calling (using CallXML) the administrator.
A Final Look
When did your application server last crash and why?
Tonight at 1 a.m. your database is going to run out of space and begin throwing application errors. Maybe your mail server stops relaying your order confirmations. There are a thousand permutations to a preventable and containable failure. Will your customers be the first to let you know?
In the end, owners and developers, shared and dedicated, all have the same concerns: stability and performance. Using this system makes that realization no more than a few seconds away.
|Craig Rosenblum 05/29/03 02:24:00 PM EDT|
I am not interested in the whole system mainly right now, the log component.
It is a good idea, to help manage logs, and make sure we are really on top of errors.
And it does look nice as well.
|jurgen koch 03/11/02 04:48:00 PM EST|
ok...let me retract the attitude from my immediately previous post and clarify the situation with more fact that flame.
I contacted the articles author, Timothy Nettleton ([email protected]), who was very courteous and replied almost immediately to explain that while Cosmos will probably not be released for sale by Hostcentric, they can provide you remote access to Cosmos through its web interface at cosmos.hostcentric.net
You will have to work out details re: how Hostcentric will obtain access to your CF log files for parsing, etc. but the good news is that Cosmos is available to the public...and the pricing is very reasonable.
embarrased by my previous rant,
|jurgen koch 03/11/02 01:19:00 PM EST|
I contacted Hostcentric (the ISP that the author of the article worked for) and the impression that I got was that
Kinda makes me wonder why CFDJ published the article at all. Just to tease CF Administrators?
Hey CFDJ, want to pay me to write an article about the really cool CF apps I have developed, but can't/won't sell, or release code, logic, or the application to the public? Thanks for nothing.
|Greg Correll 02/15/02 12:55:00 PM EST|
Is cosmos available to the public?
|Matt McDonald 01/17/02 12:16:00 AM EST|
Is cosmos available to the public?
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
Jan. 31, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 2,941
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
Jan. 31, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 2,835
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
Jan. 31, 2015 12:30 AM EST Reads: 3,087
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
Jan. 30, 2015 10:00 PM EST Reads: 2,878
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
Jan. 30, 2015 03:45 PM EST Reads: 3,152
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Jan. 30, 2015 03:15 PM EST Reads: 3,532
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 2,716
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Jan. 30, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 3,244
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the technology industry and how do they see opportunities for other women in their area of expertise.
Jan. 30, 2015 01:45 PM EST Reads: 2,380
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Jan. 30, 2015 01:15 PM EST Reads: 2,625
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
Jan. 30, 2015 01:15 PM EST Reads: 2,030
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
Jan. 30, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 4,139
“With easy-to-use SDKs for Atmel’s platforms, IoT developers can now reap the benefits of realtime communication, and bypass the security pitfalls and configuration complexities that put IoT deployments at risk,” said Todd Greene, founder & CEO of PubNub. PubNub will team with Atmel at CES 2015 to launch full SDK support for Atmel’s MCU, MPU, and Wireless SoC platforms. Atmel developers now have access to PubNub’s secure Publish/Subscribe messaging with guaranteed ¼ second latencies across PubNub’s 14 global points-of-presence. PubNub delivers secure communication through firewalls, proxy ser...
Jan. 30, 2015 12:45 PM EST Reads: 1,741
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise behind this presentation will provide attendees with a leading edge view of rapidly emerging IoT oppor...
Jan. 30, 2015 12:45 PM EST Reads: 1,930
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Jan. 30, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 8,066
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Jan. 30, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 2,691
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 30, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 3,641
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
Jan. 30, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 2,798
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
Jan. 30, 2015 11:30 AM EST Reads: 2,344
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Jan. 30, 2015 11:30 AM EST Reads: 3,067