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We're seeing huge performance problems on a web application and we're trying to find the bottleneck. I am not a sysadmin so there is some stuff I don't quite get. Some basic investigation shows the CPU to be idle, lots of memory to be available, no swapping, no I/O, but a high average load.

The software stack on this server looks like this:

. Solaris 10 . Java 1.6 . WebLogic 10.3.5 (8 domains)

The applications running on this server talk with an Oracle database on a different server.

This server has 32GB of RAM and 10 CPUs (I think).

Running prstat -Z gives something like this:

   PID USERNAME  SIZE   RSS STATE  PRI NICE      TIME  CPU PROCESS/NLWP
  3836 ducm0101 2119M 2074M cpu348  58    0   8:41:56 0.5% java/225
 24196 ducm0101 1974M 1910M sleep   59    0   4:04:33 0.4% java/209
  6765 ducm0102 1580M 1513M cpu330   1    0   1:21:48 0.1% java/291
 16922 ducm0102 2115M 1961M sleep   58    0   6:37:08 0.0% java/193
 18048 root     3048K 2440K sleep   59    0   0:06:02 0.0% sa_comm/4
 26619 ducm0101 2588M 2368M sleep   59    0   8:21:17 0.0% java/231
 19904 ducm0104 1713M 1390M sleep   59    0   1:15:29 0.0% java/151
 27809 ducm0102 1547M 1426M sleep   59    0   0:38:19 0.0% java/186
  2409 root       15M   11M sleep   59    0   0:00:00 0.0% pkgserv/3
 27204 root       58M   54M sleep   59    0   9:11:38 0.0% stat_daemon/1
 27256 root       12M 8312K sleep   59    0   7:16:40 0.0% kux_vmstat/1
 29367 root      297M  286M sleep   59    0  11:02:13 0.0% dsmc/2
 22128 root       13M 6768K sleep   59    0   0:10:51 0.0% sendmail/1
 22133 smmsp      13M 1144K sleep   59    0   0:01:22 0.0% sendmail/1
 22003 root     5896K  240K sleep   59    0   0:00:01 0.0% automountd/2
 22074 root     4776K 1992K sleep   59    0   0:00:19 0.0% sshd/1
 22005 root     6184K 2728K sleep   59    0   0:00:31 0.0% automountd/2
 27201 root     6248K  344K sleep   59    0   0:00:01 0.0% mount_stat/1
 20964 root     2912K  160K sleep   59    0   0:00:01 0.0% ttymon/1
 20947 root     1784K  864K sleep   59    0   0:02:22 0.0% utmpd/1
 20900 root     3048K  608K sleep   59    0   0:00:03 0.0% ttymon/1
 20979 root       77M   18M sleep   59    0   0:14:13 0.0% inetd/4
 20849 daemon   2856K  864K sleep   59    0   0:00:03 0.0% lockd/2
 17794 root       80M 1232K sleep   59    0   0:06:19 0.0% svc.startd/12
 17645 root     3080K  728K sleep   59    0   0:00:12 0.0% init/1
 17849 root       13M 6800K sleep   59    0   0:13:04 0.0% svc.configd/15
 20213 root       84M   81M sleep   59    0   0:47:17 0.0% nscd/46
 20871 root     2568K  600K sleep   59    0   0:00:04 0.0% sac/1
  3683 ducm0101 1904K 1640K sleep   56    0   0:00:00 0.0% startWebLogic.s/1
 23937 ducm0101 1904K 1640K sleep   59    0   0:00:00 0.0% startWebLogic.s/1
 20766 daemon   5328K 1536K sleep   59    0   0:00:36 0.0% nfsmapid/3
 20141 daemon   5968K 3520K sleep   59    0   0:01:14 0.0% kcfd/4
 20093 ducm0101 2000K  376K sleep   59    0   0:00:01 0.0% pfksh/1
 20797 daemon   3256K  240K sleep   59    0   0:00:01 0.0% statd/1
  6181 root     4864K 2872K sleep   59    0   0:01:34 0.0% syslogd/17
  7220 ducm0104 1268M 1101M sleep   59    0   0:36:35 0.0% java/138
 27597 ducm0102 1904K 1640K sleep   59    0   0:00:00 0.0% startWebLogic.s/1
 27867 root       37M 4568K sleep   59    0   0:13:56 0.0% kcawd/7
 12685 ducm0101 4080K  208K sleep   59    0   0:00:01 0.0% vncconfig/1
ZONEID    NPROC  SWAP   RSS MEMORY      TIME  CPU ZONE
    42      135   22G   19G    59%  87:27:59 1.2% dsuniucm01

Total: 135 processes, 3167 lwps, load averages: 54.48, 62.50, 63.11

I understand that CPU is mostly idle, but the load average is high, which is quite strange to me. Memory doesn't seem to be a problem.

Running vmstat 15 gives something like this:

 kthr      memory            page            disk          faults      cpu
 r b w   swap  free  re  mf pi po fr de sr s0 s1 s4 sd   in   sy   cs us sy id
 0 0 0 32531400 105702272 317 1052 126 0 0 0 0 13 13 -0 8 9602 107680 10964 1 1 98
 0 0 0 15053368 95930224 411 2323 0 0 0 0 0 0  0  0  0 23207 47679 29958 3 2 95
 0 0 0 14498568 95801960 3072 3583 0 2 2 0 0 3 3  0 21 22648 66367 28587 4 4 92
 0 0 0 14343008 95656752 3080 2857 0 0 0 0 0 3 3  0 18 22338 44374 29085 3 4 94
 0 0 0 14646016 95485472 1726 3306 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  0  0 24702 47499 33034 3 3 94

I understand that the CPU is mostly idle, no processes are waiting in the queue to be executed, little swapping is happening.

Running iostat 15 gives this:

   tty        sd0           sd1           sd4           ssd0           cpu
 tin tout kps tps serv  kps tps serv  kps tps serv  kps tps serv   us sy wt id
   0  676 324  13    8  322  13    8    0   0    0  159   8    0    1  1  0 98
   1 1385   0   0    0    0   0    0    0   0    0    0   0    0    3  4  0 94
   0  584  89   6   24   89   6   25    0   0    0  332  19    0    2  1  0 97
   0  296   0   0    0    0   0    0    0   0    0    0   0    0    2  2  0 97
   1 1290  43   5   24   43   5   22    0   0    0  297  20    1    3  3  0 94

Running netstat -i 15 gives the following:

    input   aggr26    output       input  (Total)    output
packets errs  packets errs  colls  packets errs  packets errs  colls
1500233798 0     1489316495 0     0      3608008314 0     3586173708 0     0
10646   0     10234   0     0      26206   0     25382   0     0
11227   0     10670   0     0      28562   0     27448   0     0
10353   0     9998    0     0      29117   0     28418   0     0
11443   0     12003   0     0      30385   0     31494   0     0

Running swap -l gives this:

swapfile             dev  swaplo blocks   free
/dev/swap           4294967295,4294967295     16 4194288 1000656

Running swap -s gives this:

total: 102575560k bytes allocated + 11141528k reserved = 113717088k used, 6692864k available

What am I missing?

Thanks a lot for your help!

share|improve this question
    
Weird. What does your swap look like? (swap -l, swap -s) –  Mat Mar 1 '12 at 8:24
    
I edited the question to include swap information. Does that help? –  Spiff Mar 1 '12 at 13:39
1  
Does dmesg say anything interesting? With Solaris 10, it's unusual, but you never know. If this is a SPARC box, prtdiag is also your friend (I'm debugging a box of my own with similar issues, and I always get paranoid, so I always check the hardware early). Also, you seem to have quite a lot of threads running (3,167). Perhaps your machine is naturally loaded because of its workload? Each thread contributes an average of 0.017 to your 1-minute load average, which is quite reasonable. –  Alexios Mar 1 '12 at 13:51
    
Nothing unusual with dmesg (as far as I know, I'm no sysadmin).Can't run prtdiag, it says that it needs to be run in the global zone, to which I don't have access (you need to be root for this I suppose, which I'm not). Lots of threads, yes, WebLogic automatically manages its thread pool to deal with demand. One of those domains has 100 threads. –  Spiff Mar 1 '12 at 13:57

2 Answers 2

I know nothing about solaris but the last time i had a huge CPU load in linux and no process using the CPU in "ps", that was because processes had threads that were very busy, but ps does not sum up the usage of LWP for a process.

You should try to see the CPU usage of LWPs (Light Weight Process, aka, threads).

share|improve this answer
up vote 5 down vote accepted

With some further investigation, it appears that the performance problem is mostly due to a high number of network calls between two systems (Oracle SSXA and UCM). The calls are quick but plenty and serialized, hence the low CPU usage (mostly waiting for I/O), the high load average (many calls waiting to be processed) and especially the long response times (by accumulation of small response times).

Thanks for your insight on this problem!

share|improve this answer
    
I am experiencing something very similar (also J2ee on WLs on Solaris)... How exactly did you find out what the issue was? And how did you solve your problem? –  fgysin Jul 7 at 13:47
1  
It's been a while, but from what I remember we ended up doing some application profiling and noticing tons of network calls between two servers, bringing us to the explanation above. We solved the problem by putting the loaded content in a cache region, reducing drastically the number of network calls to the underlying server. So it was an application fix, not an infrastructure fix. Good luck! –  Spiff Jul 7 at 17:09

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