|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?
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit y...
May. 24, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,826
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
May. 24, 2016 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 978
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
May. 24, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 873
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will discuss the vast to...
May. 24, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,340
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
May. 24, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,671
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
May. 24, 2016 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 578
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
May. 24, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 901
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
May. 24, 2016 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,064
SYS-CON Events announced today the How to Create Angular 2 Clients for the Cloud Workshop, being held June 7, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified. Now it’s a component-based well-performing framework. The immersive one-day workshop led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and...
May. 24, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,830
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
May. 24, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,350
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
May. 24, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,041
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
May. 24, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,730
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
May. 24, 2016 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 689
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
May. 24, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 706
SYS-CON Events announced today that 24Notion has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. 24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to con...
May. 24, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,673
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
May. 24, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,952
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT's direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
May. 24, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,038
SYS-CON Events announced today BZ Media LLC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and Commercial Drone markets.
May. 24, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,378
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
May. 24, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,395
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
May. 24, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,006