Understanding JMX Performance Monitoring

There are many metrics needs associated with Java applications. Monitoring them allows you to get information on the performance, make sure things are working well, and get information on usage patterns. For example, you might get data on the most used endpoints and the number of users connected at once. According to this AppOptics APM blog, metrics can be collected by using Java Management Extensions and in this article we’ll be taking a look at how to monitor your JMX performance and why it is so essential. 

About JMX

JMX refers to a set of specifications used to manage networks and applications. The goal is to offer a way to easily monitor applications in Java Virtual Machines (JVM). Plus, JMX is a way of connecting with remote clients. To check JMX, you can query managed objects, which are also known as Managed Beans, or MBeans. 

The MBeans include resources such as devices, applications, and other items in your JVM. They offer information on the usage and setup of certain applications or resources. You could get data on resource issues, performance metrics, and information on how many total resources you are using. When using JMX monitoring, you might notice issues with the operating system, application, JVM, or server. The idea behind monitoring is to prevent these issues or to catch them early on. That way, they are less likely to develop into major problems.

What You Should Look at

It’s best to carry out JMX performance monitoring using a comprehensive tool, which gives you more options for managing your applications. If you have more than one JMV and want to make sure that you do not have a service outage, you might want to look at a few components more than others. For example, you’ll want to look at garbage collection. Watching that aspect can alert you to any memory leaks. That’s because your applications are displayed, allowing you to assess whether objects are being used correctly.

It’s also a good idea to find any instances that might involve the use of odd memory sizes. Each instance should show the field values, name, and type. By looking at the values in specific instances, you can determine where the leak is happening. To detect a leak, you can track your memory heap usage. That shows the amount of memory being used by your JVM over a certain amount of time. Connect your garbage collection cycle with the memory heap to learn how often the JVM retrieves the memory.

If there are multiple threads for an application, look at the availability and performance of each. That way, you can determine if one thread has run for longer than necessary. It also alerts you to threads that are consuming memory because they are stuck in loops. You will also want to keep an eye on thread dumps since applications may not perform predictably. That means it can be hard to troubleshoot it. 

When you are assessing JVM, it can be helpful to monitor your thread dumps. You’ll also want to look at the memory pool size. That allows you to see if the application has a memory leak. To improve the function and performance of your JVM and the related applications, monitor the JVM itself as well. There are a few things to look at, including:

  • MBean: Look at the information in the application that gets exposed to MBeans. To get more visibility on performance problems, you should be able to report and query MBeans. 
  • JVM Memory: The amount of memory allocated determines how well an application performs. You can also look at the amount of memory heap consumed by other objects.
  • CPU Usage: See how much CPU is being used. That way, you can decide if your CPU usage is in the allowed threshold. 
  • Other Metrics: It’s also a good idea to look at the server details, packet loss, application health, and response time. 

When you are doing JMX performance monitoring, you’ll also want to determine how well the database is performing. See if there are any potential bottlenecks. To ensure that your response time remains in the threshold, see how often users check for availability and query your database. It’s equally essential to monitor each transaction.

Look for transactions or processes that are using too many of your JVM resources. That might result in a slow down or problems with the database connection pool, transaction response time, or thread pool. See how healthy your hardware and components are, and you should also keep an eye on the virtual infrastructure and your underlying operating systems. If the system or hardware has a failure or fault, the JMX performance can be negatively impacted. 

Choosing the Right Tool

The right tool makes it much easier to keep an eye on your IT environment’s applications. Look for a comprehensive tool that has multiple functions, which will make your job easier. It should allow you to view the performance the way your end-users see it, so you can ensure they get a good experience. Some tools might come with templates, so you don’t have to spend much time setting them up. It’s best to get a tool that sends you alerts before your application gets to a critical stage. With some tools, you can create custom alerts. Once the metrics reach the threshold set by you, you can receive an alert. The right tool should offer information on the hardware availability, JVM, resources, and the performance history of each.

You’ll want a tool that allows you to monitor JVM where you have JMX running. Then you can get better visibility into how well the JVM is performing so you can see if anything is lacking. You can also look for any dependencies and monitor CPU resources, allowing you to find bottlenecks that might happen during transactions. That way, you can see how your CPU is being used. The right tool should also let you find memory leaks and maintain the health of the JMVs since you should get notifications about the most critical metrics, like response time and garbage collection.

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