Enabling and disabling WebSphere traces on steroids

Author: Christoph Stoettner
Read in about 3 min · 575 words

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During troubleshooting of WebSphere Application Server it is necessary to enable traces and see more detailed log messages.

Enabling these traces is very annoying, because you need to follow long click paths within the Integrated Solution Console (ISC).

Enable traces within ISC

Open WebSphere Application servers overview, click the server name where you want to enable traces

Click on Diagnostic trace service

Click on Runtime

Most of the time it is sufficient to enable traces for the runtime of the application server. So no need to restart the application server, after restart the trace settings are set back to default.

Open Change log detail level

Add the trace string to text box and click OK or Apply

So after 6 or 7 clicks you’re ready to …

do the same on the next application server, if you have multiple WebSphere nodes for this environment.

After reproducing the error, you can go the same way and set the text box back to *=info or restart the application server to remove the trace settings. Traces produce a lot of IO and so the performance can be very low during activated trace settings. Disable them as soon as possible.

Enable and disable traces with wsadmin.sh

I found a script to print the cluster members of a WebSphere Cluster and extended it with the documented steps to enable tracing on running WebSphere application servers .

Following script enables traces when you start it with two parameters (Cluster name and the trace string) and disables all traces when it is started with one parameter (Cluster name).

Enable / disable trace settings for all cluster members
Cluster name is passed as first parameter to the script
Tracestring is passed as second parameter

if Tracestring is empty -> disable trace

author:   Christoph Stoettner
mail:     christoph.stoettner@stoeps.de
license:  Apache 2.0
import sys

if len(sys.argv) == 0:
        \tScript needs at least one parameter: Clustername
        \n\tWhen a second parameter is used, it is interpreted as trace string
        \twsadmin.sh -lang jython -f clusterTrace.py InfraCluster "*=info:com.ibm.lconn.news.*=all:com.ibm.lconn.hpnews.*=all"
elif len(sys.argv) == 1:
    type = 'disabled'
    type = 'enabled'

if type == 'enabled':
    for trace in traces.split(':'):
       if trace_string=='':
           trace_string=trace + '=' + type
           trace_string=trace_string + ':' + trace + '=' + type

cluster_id = AdminConfig.getid("/ServerCluster:"+cluster_name+"/")
if not cluster_id:
    raise "Cluster %s does not exist!" % cluster_name

member_ids = AdminConfig.showAttribute(cluster_id, "members")

member_ids = member_ids[1:-1]

for member_id in member_ids.split():
    member_name=AdminConfig.showAttribute(member_id, "memberName")
    node_name=AdminConfig.showAttribute(member_id, "nodeName")

    # Get TraceServer ID

    # Set trace settings
        AdminControl.setAttribute(ts, 'traceSpecification', trace_string)
        print("Successfully " + type + " trace on " + node_name + '/' + member_name)
        print("Error changing trace on " + node_name + '/' + member_name)

So to enable the trace string *=info:com.ibm.lconn.news.*=all:com.ibm.lconn.core.services.*=all:com.ibm.lconn.hpnews.*=all on the InfraCluster, run the following command:

cd /opt/IBM/WebSphere/AppServer/profiles/Dmgr01/bin
./wsadmin.sh -lang jython -f clusterTrace.py InfraCluster "*=info:com.ibm.lconn.news.*=all:com.ibm.lconn.core.services.*=all:com.ibm.lconn.hpnews.*=all"

Now do whatever needs to be done to reproduce your issue.

To disable the trace on the InfraCluster, run:

cd /opt/IBM/WebSphere/AppServer/profiles/Dmgr01/bin
./wsadmin.sh -lang jython -f clusterTrace.py InfraCluster

Even when the performance of the frontend lags during the activated trace, you can disable it with wsadmin nearly immediately. This saves you time, disk space and several meters of mouse movement.


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