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The Admin Console is a diagnostic and troubleshooting tool for Blackboard Learn administrators. Delivered as a Building Block, the Admin Console makes troubleshooting activities easier to initiate from the user interface. Use the Admin Console to self-diagnose issues or work an issue in conjunction with the Blackboard Support team. When installed, the Admin Console appears in the Tools and Utilities module on the Administrator Panel.
The Admin Console has a set of dynamic views into low-level application server activity including:
- memory consumption
- thread deadlock
- application cache behavior
- long-running SQL statements
It also includes utilities for dynamically filing various system logs through the user interface or generating system capture packages of server activity for offline diagnosis. These views are specific to the application server where the Admin Console is being used. However there is an option allowing you to switch among application servers if you have more than one.
The Admin Console also exposes a series of custom managed objects for each Blackboard Learn application server. These objects comply with Java Management Extensions (JMX) technology standards. This allows the Java Virtual Machine and other aspects of the application server to be monitored or managed remotely by third-party systems management software that complies with JMX such as Zabbix or HP OpenView. A read-only view into the JMX mbean objects is provided in the Admin Console interface itself.
By itself, the Admin Console is not a full-featured application monitoring or alerts tool, and it does not keep historical graphs or benchmarks of activity. It is intended to work in conjunction with external monitoring systems and to provide an initial checkpoint tool to use when troubleshooting.
Accessing the Admin Console
From the Administrator Panel, under Tools and Utilities, click Admin Console. The Admin Console displays a machine name string at the top of the page. This represents the machine name string for the application server in the load-balanced configuration.
The Caches feature contains statistics relating to in-memory system caches and information about how big these are, how many permissions they are using, the paths on the cache feeds, their use for various items (such as caches for resource bundle files and caches for institution roles), and more. This information is kept in memory to avoid database problems. This data facilitates better memory and performance tuning of the Blackboard Learn system.
The Caches feature contains the following information:
- Elements: The total number of cache elements in this system cache.
- In Memory: The total number of caches in memory.
- Size: The cache size.
- Hits: The total number of hits to the cache.
- Buffer: The disk spool buffer size in MB. Writes are made to this area and then asynchronously written to disk.
- TTI: Time to idle. The maximum number of seconds an element can exist in the cache without being accessed.
- TTL:Time to live. The maximum number of seconds an element can exist in the cache regardless of use.
- Eviction Policy: This determines the algorithm used to decide which elements get evicted when the cache is full. For example, when the limit on the number of items to cache is reached.
- Persistent: If disk persistent is set to true, the cache's disk store data file and index file are saved between application restarts.
- Overflow: When an element is added to a cache and it goes beyond its maximum memory size, an existing element is evaluated for spooling to disk, if the overflow to disk is set to true. Otherwise, the element is deleted.
- Eternal: When eternal is set to true, it overrides TTI and TTL so that no cache element expiration can take place.
- Cluster Invalidation: When cluster invalidation is set to true, similar cache elements stored on multiple instances or clusters are kept in sync when changes are made to a cache element on one node.
- Async: This setting is related to the Cluster Invalidation. The updates of cache elements on multiple clusters can be done in a synchronous (async=false) or asynchronous (async=true) manner.
The Databases feature contains detailed information about database connection pool usage and potential performance issues related to long-running SQL queries. It displays the events and listeners for the different tools that are used for an application,. It also displays any related SQL statements for an elapsed amount of time. The information displayed is for the currently selected application server's view into the database. You can use the Switch Application Server drop-down list in the top-right corner to switch application server views.
The Databases feature contains the following Connection Pool information:
- Trace: Select this checkbox if you wish to perform a database trace on the selected connection pool.
- Database Name: The database name.
- Listeners: The total number of database listeners.
- Events: The total number of database events
- Hostname: The database host name.
- Instance: The database instance name.
- Connections In Use: The total number of database connections in use.
- Minimum Pool Size: The minimum pool size for the selected connection pool.
- Maximum Pool Size: The maximum pool size for the selected connection pool.
The Databases feature contains the following Long Running SQL Statement information:
- Elapsed Time: The total elapsed time (in minutes) for the Long Running SQL Statement.
- SQL Statement: The SQL Statement.
Logs contain lists of real-time system logs and provides access to the full log file from elsewhere in the Administrator Panel. This allows for easy monitoring of system logs throughout the system.
To access a system log, click on a log hyperlink. A new window appears, which displays the log and also provides log search capabilities.
View detailed information about the supported monitors and their associated listeners. This interface includes items that the Admin Console itself is listening for such as logs, cache events, database events, and so on. It provides a summary view of this information. This is useful if you are trying to debug an issue with the Admin Console itself.
Navigate a list of the current threads in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Identify any deadlocked threads that could potentially be fatal. Active threads appear in bold green text. Idle threads are identified as such.
Capture logs, system metrics, and thread data as a snapshot in time that you can package into a .zip file for download and analysis.
Select the Create System Capture button to perform a system capture. All of your system captures are listed in the interface. To delete a system capture, click Delete.
The System Captures feature contains the following Long Running SQL Statement information:
- Capture Date: The date when the system capture was performed.
- Server: The application server for which the system capture was performed.
Browse and externally monitor JMX MBean hierarchy. You have read-only access to the kind of information that would be available if you had an external JMX-compliant system. This is an external representation of the JMX fields, based on your environment. The fields you see in this feature are dependent on your JMX MBeans and the software you are using.
View a dynamic representation of the total amount of available system memory and obtain a quick snapshot of memory usage in the system. The memory feature is not designed to provide historical memory data. Rather, it is a live memory tool.
Information for five different memory pools are provided and classified as heap or non-heap. These include:
- CMS Old Gen: The pool containing older archived objects in the Survivor space.
- CMS Perm Gen: The pool containing all the reflective data of the virtual machine itself, such as class and method objects.
- Code Cache: The pool that is used for compilation and storage of native code.
- Par Eden Space: The pool from which memory is initially allocated for most objects.
- Par Survivor Space: The pool containing objects that have survived the garbage collection of the Eden space.
View detailed information, including arguments and class path information, about your operating system and Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and learn how the JVM was instantiated. You can use system information as a diagnostic tool for a system that is behaving poorly and obtain a quick, read-only view of system captures each time they are performed.
This feature is not designed to be a full application monitoring tool, and it does not keep track of how the system is being used. Rather, it is a troubleshooting tool that allows you to work with Blackboard Support to resolve performance issues. Advanced administrators can also use it to self-support their system.