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I don't want to have to pick port numbers for the usual JMX remote management property. Is there a standard methodology for setting up some sort of proxy (e.g., via ssh) to avoid the need to to do this?

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Some application servers already have a JMX proxy. In JBoss you can access it with this URL: http://localhost:8080/jmx-console. For more details see this link.

When your application server does not have such a http based way to access JMX, you could create it on your own. Perhaps you can use this nagios plugin (Jmx4perl) as a starting point. It uses a small java web application, which has to be deployed. After that you cann access the JMX server with http. It also has a special proxy mode, with a dedicated proxy server.

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