I've been fortunate enough to make it four years as an SA without having to administer systems making use of Java. My luck has run up and I am starting a new job and they make extensive use of Java. What resources are available for a SA who needs to troubleshoot and administer java applications and environments?

I didn't go to stackoverflow because I want fellow SA perspectives.

  • Questions regarding professional education are off topic per the revised FAQ.
    – sysadmin1138
    Oct 10 '12 at 21:46

Here is the problem. From the system administrators perspective Java means something entirely different than the developers perspective (though I might argue this is an excellent spot for the DevOps philosophy to rear it's head...but I digress).

You as an SA are concerned with a narrower scope than the developers. Essentially, you need to familiarize yourself with the intricacies of the JVM (namely garbage collection and tuning). You will also likely want to gain an understanding of whatever Application Server your particular company uses(JBoss, Tomcat (which is not an app server per se, but a servlet container), Web Sphere etc).

Also spend some time with the developers and find out the 30K feet view of how the app works. You don't need to be able to read Java, but you should understand how the app operates and the flow of data through it.

Good luck.

  • Well you probably need to learn what a Java Servlet is.

  • Then learn about the servers that handles these, your organisation probably has a preferred one.

  • Tomcat integrates with Apache, and is handled by the Apache Foundation.

  • IBM WebSphere tends to get used by bigger organisations.

  • JBoss is owned by Red Hat, and tends to get some interest.

  • GlassFish is Sun's offering, so tends to be found on their servers.

  • then there is Jetty, which is becoming widely used, part of the Eclipse Foundation.

  • Eclipse you should probably get to know, it is a very well used IDE for Java.

  • Other than that, you will need to be very familiar with setting up JDKs and JREs.

  • Knowing what the classpath is will get you a long way.


Nathan's advice is really great, but here are a few other things you will need to learn about to be an effective administrator of Java-based applications:

  • How to configure and use log4j
  • How to read a stack trace

Good luck!

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