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Taking Thread dumps to Troubleshoot High CPU Utilization

Use the attached script to take thread dumps and generate top -H output at regular intervals while your nodes are experiencing high CPU utilization. The script must be run as the same user that owns the DSE java process; otherwise, the jstack command will not work.  The usage is: pid interval count

If DSE is running as a service, use the pid from /var/run/  If DSE is started from the command line, use 'ps -ef | grep java' to determine the pid. The recommended parameters are an interval of 5 seconds and a count of 60, which would run for a total of 5 minutes. This will generate two files, jstack.out and top.out, which you should send to us.

If you have difficulties using the multidump script, you can use the multidump-alt script instead.  The usage is the same, but it uses kill -3 to take the thread dumps instead of jstack. This will not kill the process; the JVM interprets the -3 signal as a request to print a thread dump on stdout.  When DSE is run as a service, stdout is redirected to /var/log/cassandra/output.log file, so send us that as well as top.out.  If DSE is run as a standalone process, find out where its output is redirected and capture the thread dumps from there.

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  • Avatar
    Philip Southam

    To save you some time, If you're using a modern version of java you probably won't have the jstack utility (as it appears to be depricated and will have to use the script.

  • Avatar
    J.B. Langston

    jstack is only included in the JDK, not the JRE. It is still available as of JDK 7, which is the version that Cassandra currently supports.

  • Avatar
    Philip Southam

    I stand corrected, thanks J.B.

  • Avatar
    José Martínez Poblete

    Attached a version of the script which merges the original scripts

    Usage: ./ -i <interval> -c <count> -pid <PID> -pgm [jstack|kill]

           Default interval: 5 secs

           Default count   : 60

           Default PID     : DSE java PID

           Default PGM     : jstack


  • Avatar
    José Martínez Poblete

    I have changed the code of the script in order to get the information we need

    Attached is a newer version of the script. It needs the following in order to run

    On /etc/password make sure the cassandra user is set to use /bin/bash rather than /bin/false

    cassandra:x:106:111:Cassandra database,,,:/var/lib/cassandra:/bin/bash

    We need to use Oracle jstack, it will use the command resulting from this search:

    find /usr -name jstack -type f -perm /a=x | egrep -v openjdk | tail -1

    Become root and then cassandra, then execute:


    A succesful execution would look like this

    automaton@ip-172-31-2-39:~$ ./
    Begin processing...
    PID   %CPU  Process
    ===== ===== =======
    27825 8.15 MemoryMeter:1
     6930 7.00 CompactionExecutor:25
     6929 6.50 FlushWriter:13
    27063 5.90 Gang worker#0 (Parallel GC Threads)
    27064 5.90 Gang worker#1 (Parallel GC Threads)
    27828 5.50 COMMIT-LOG-WRITER
    Collecting files...
    End processing, please collect /tmp/multidump.tgz



  • Avatar
    Michael Keeney

    We've also run in to several instances of this error:

    Unable to open socket file: target process not responding or HotSpot VM not loaded
    The -F option can be used when the target process is not responding

    The following fixed it (along with editing to include):

    sudo -u cassandra jstack -J-d64 -l <PID> >> jstack.out

    Edited by Michael Keeney
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