Java Continues to Suck

I was up late last night helping a client load-test a large web portal site they’re developing. The primary server is a Sun 250 with half a gig of RAM and dual CPUs. It runs Stronghold and the portal is a built on top of a bulky Java Portal architecture called Epicentric, which in turn sits on top of JRun & the Sun JVM. Like all Java-based stuff I’ve worked with it takes massive amounts of memory. Right now, the server can handle about 30 simultaneous users before things start bombing off. Running top, you can watch the available RAM drop in direct proportion to the number of users while the memory being used by Java increases. Once it hits the swap file, all the Java-based stuff starts failing and only static HTML pages continue to work (Stronghold, which is just a version of Apache you can pay a lot of money for, held up fine throughout the testing). At the moment I’m recommending they go to at least 1 Gig of RAM. It looks to me like the JVM is broken though, as it never releases any of the RAM it allocates. Hours after our tests it was still sucking up hundreds of meg of RAM, slowing the entire system to a crawl. Only way we’ve found to fix it is to kill Java and JRun and restart them. Yuck.

Everytime I read articles about how wonderful Java is I start thinking I should try switching to it for our own web apps. Everytime I work with a client who’s using it, I end up being thankful we still use mod_perl for our own stuff.

Happy New Year 2001!

Happy new year and welcome to the 21st century and a new millennium! I’ve been on a news-posting sabbatical since the middle of November and now I’m back. After a year and a half of posting almost daily news updates, I needed to take some time off to avoid total burn-out. I’m pleased to report getting a few emails over the last month from people who actually read these news postings either here or on Advogato, wondering what had happened to me. Just a little time off – and don’t worry, you didn’t miss out on much.

Let’s see, the only interesting thing I remember from November is getting to hear a live performance of Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet in Austin. December was a bit busier. Work sucked up a lot of my time as things at NCC continue to pick up dramatically. I did manage to take some time off for Christmas shopping and various traditional Christmas-time activities.

Texas weather was as unpredicatable as ever. I mowed the lawn for the last time of the year in mid-Decemeber and a week later it was below freezing. We’ve been alternating between high temperatures near 70F and sub-freezing for a couple of weeks. (We actually got a tiny amount of snow yesterday.)

Susan and I ended up with quite a pile of new CDs this Christmas. Some were gifts and some we got with gift certificates. So we’ve survived the miserable cold weather by staying indoors and listending to the Philip Glass 5th Symphony, The Complete Works of Edgar VarĂ©se, several Dvorak symphonies, as well as some Honegger, Holst, Liebermann, and Shostakovich among others. One interesting work that we haven’t listened to yet is “Uses of Music in Uttermost Parts”, a collaboration between Ursula K. Le Guin and Elinor Armer. This appears to be out of print – I ran across it in a used book store. I’ll report back after we have a chance to listen to it.

There’s a lot more to write about but I’ll try to spread it out over a few days.