Java Health Center- a low overhead monitoring tool

Technote (FAQ)


How can I monitor and diagnose my WebSphere Application Server environment without impacting performance?


Also see: Extracting data from Java Health Center

      Java™ Health Center:

      Health Center is a very low overhead monitoring tool. It runs alongside an IBM Java application with a very small impact on the application's performance (less than 1%). Health Center monitors several application areas, using the information to provide recommendations and analysis that help you improve the performance and efficiency of your application. Health Center can save the data obtained from monitoring an application and load it again for analysis at a later date.

      Starting with IBM Java 5 SR8 or IBM Java 6 SR1, The Health Center client can be installed within the IBM Support Assistant Workbench.

      The Health Center client has several different views, each reporting data regarding a different aspect of the JVM. The views available are:

      • Classes: Information about classes being loaded
      • Environment: Details of the configuration and system of the monitored application
      • Garbage Collection: Information about the Java heap and pause times
      • I/O: Information about I/O activities that take place
      • Locking: Information about contention on inflated locks
      • Method Trace: Information about method use over time
      • Native Memory: Information about the native memory usage
      • Profiling: Provides a sampling profile of Java methods including call paths
      • Threads: Information about the live threads of the monitored JVM

      To Install Health Center:

      Health Center is installed as a plug-in for IBM Support Assistant (ISA), therefore, ISA must be installed prior to obtaining the Java Health Center.

      Step 1 – Prepare to install Health Center
      1. Download and install the IBM Support Assistant Workbench.
      2. Install the Heath Center in the ISA Workbench
        • Start the IBM Support Assistant Workbench.
        • If the "IBM Support Assistant Customization Wizard" is displayed. click Cancel to exit this wizard.
        • From the menu bar in ISA, select Update > Find New... > Tools Add-ons. The "Find new tools add-ons" wizard will be displayed.
        • Type health in the search box, then click the arrow next to JVM-based Tools to show matching tools.
        • Find for the Health Center add-on

        • Select "IBM Monitoring and Diagnostic Tools for Java - Health Center" from the list then click Next.
        • Complete the wizard by following the on-screen instructions.
        • IBM Support Assistant will prompt you to restart the Workbench - select Yes to restart.

      Step 2 - Launch the Health Center client:
      1. Start the IBM Support Assistant Workbench.
      2. From the Welcome page, click Analyze Problem.
      3. On the "Analyze Problem" tab, select Tools as below.

        Where to find the installed tools in the ISA Workbench

      4. You will be presented with a list of all the installed tools. Select "IBM Monitoring and Diagnostic Tools for Java - Health Center" and then click on Launch.
      5. The Health Center application will now launch and the Health Center: Connection wizard will be displayed.

      Important note: Your application must be enabled for monitoring before Health Center can be connected.

      Step 3 - Enable your application for monitoring:

      1. On the first page of the Health Center: Connection wizard, click the 'Enabling an application for monitoring' link as below:

        Health Center Connection wizard application enablement link

      2. Follow the help topic displayed:
        1. Installing the Health Center agent
          1. After clicking on "Install the Health Center Agent", you will find a list of agents to choose from. Choose the one that matches the Java version in which WebSphere is running:

            Windows x86 32-bit
            Windows x86 64-bit
            Linux® x86 32-bit
            Linux x86 64-bit
            Linux s390 31-bit
            Linux s390 64-bit
            Linux ppc 32-bit
            Linux ppc 64-bit
            AIX ppc 32-bit
            AIX ppc 64-bit
            z/OS 31-bit
            z/OS 64-bit

            Note: This might not be the same as the operating system you are running. For example, you might be running a 32-bit Java on a Windows® 64-bit system; in this case you should download the Windows 32-bit agent package.
          2. Install the agent.
            Installing on Microsoft Windows, AIX and Linux

            You must download and extract the agent package into a specific directory of the JRE that you are using to start your application. This directory is the parent directory of the jre directory.

            For monitoring WebSphere, the jre directory is under WebSphere such as:
            C:\Program Files\IBM\WebSphere\AppServer61\java\jre

            For example, on Microsoft Windows, if your JRE is in the
            C:\Program Files\IBM\WebSphere\AppServer61\java\jre
            directory, extract the contents of the Windows x86 32-bit agent package into
            C:\Program Files\IBM\WebSphere\AppServer61\java

            When extracted, you see a healthcenter.jar file in the jre\lib\ext directory.
            Example: Your healthcenter.jar is in
            C:\Program Files\IBM\WebSphere\AppServer61\java\jre\lib\ext.
        2. Starting a Java application with the Health Center agent enabled
          To enable the Health Center for use with WebSphere Application Server:
          1. In the Administrative Console , select Application servers > *server_name* > Process Definition > Java Virtual Machine-> Generic JVM Arguments
          2. Enter the correct string for your Java™ Virtual Machine (JVM) version:

            On UNIX® system based platforms:

            For Java 5 SR9 and earlier or Java 6 SR4 and earlier, use:
            -agentlib:healthcenter -Xtrace:output=/tmp/perfmon.%p.out

            For Java 5 SR10 and later, or Java 6 SR5 and later, use:

            On Microsoft Windows:

            For Java 5 SR9 and earlier or Java 6 SR4 and earlier, use:
            -agentlib:healthcenter -Xtrace:output=C:\temp\perfmon.%p.out

            For Java 5 SR10 and later, or Java 6 SR5 and later, use:
          3. Apply the changes and save the settings at the top of the page.
          4. Restart the JVM.
          5. Connect to the server from the Health Center client. The default port number is 1972.

      Step 4 - Connect Health Center to the enabled Java application:
        Complete the Health Center: Connection wizard to start monitoring the enabled Java application.

        For further information refer to the JHC InfoCenter Guide

Related information

IBM Monitoring and Diagnostic Tools for Java - Health C
HC 01 Overview of Health Center features
IBM Monitoring and Diagnostic Tools for Java - Getting
IBM Support Assistant

Document information

More support for:

WebSphere Application Server
Hangs/Performance Degradation

Software version:

6.1, 7.0, 8.0, 8.5, 8.5.5

Operating system(s):

AIX, Linux, Windows

Reference #:


Modified date:


Translate my page

Content navigation