ColdFusion 8 includes the very nice server monitor that allows you to see what is happening in real time. The problem with the server monitor is that it runs in the same process as ColdFusion so when ColdFusion becomes unresponsive there is a chance that the server monitor is inaccessible as well. And of course the server monitor is Enterprise Edition only.

But some of the functionality in the server monitor is built on native functionality of the JVM and there are some tools in the JDK that can extract some of the same information from a running ColdFusion server. The most important one is jstack. Jstack is a program that can connect to any running Java program and create a stack dump of all running threads and some memory statistics. Jstack is not included with the JVM that Adobe uses for ColdFusion 8 so you have to get a full JDK from Sun to get a copy. (While you are at it, why not install JDK 6 update 10 or later that solves the class loading bug in earlier JDK 6 versions?) Once you have that you can simply getting a stack trace by running the command “jstack <pid>” where pid is the process identifier of the ColdFusion (JRun) process you want to investigate.

The complication is that you need to do this from the same useraccount as the account the process you want to analyze is running. On Linux that is simply a matter of su, but on Windows this is more complicated. If you are running ColdFusion in the default configuration where  it runs under the SYSTEM account you need to start another program as SYSTEM, and that is not as easy as it may seem because you can not use the runas command to switch to that account. Some time ago a solution for that was posted at the MSDN blogs that involved creating a temporary service and starting that. I have packaged that solution as the following batchfile:

sc create testsvc binpath= "cmd /K start" type= own type= interact
sc start testsvc
sc delete testsvc

When I run this on Windows I get a nice command prompt under the system account. If you want to run this over a remote desktop session, make sure you are connected to the console session (use “mstsc /admin /v:servername” to start your remote desktop session). From that command line I can now run jstack, jmap and all the other JDK tools to analyze a running Java program.

One Comment

  1. Finding memory leaks in your ColdFusion JVM » says:

    [...] change users. If you run it under the system account, check out Jochem Van Dietem’s post on using JDK tools to analyze hangs where he gives a little tool to execute the JDK commands as the SYSTEM [...]