[aida] Monitoring and debugging remotely (was Squeak stability)

Janko Mivšek janko.mivsek at eranova.si
Tue Jan 8 22:14:14 CET 2008

Hi Jimmie,

Jimmie Houchin wrote:

>> Thanks for the tip and I just managed to install that RemoteFrameBuffer 
>> (aka VNC), after quite some pain and pragmatic patching of it but it 
>> works now. Also, tahe wiki page is not helpfull much but it confuses it 
>> even more. Installing just RemoteFrameBuffer from SqueakMap is enough.
>> AidaBrowser is running now headless, with VNC viewer open and I'll see 
>> if it will survive the night. So far it crashed every night!

> The Seaside people do not keep RFB running all the time. They only start
> it up as necessary. They have a web interface to start it up. At least
> that is my understanding.

They usually run many images behind load balancer and Apache while on 
Aida only one image will be enough in must cases, serving many 
applications on many websites at once and directly, without Apache. Main 
reason is that Aida is not resource hungry and that Swazoo is capable 
enough to serve on the web directly.

Also, on Swazoo/Aida exceptions open windows which stay open until you 
come around and debug them. Usually with all stack preserved. That's 
very handy for debugging rare exceptions and almost mandatory in cases 
when many sites with many applications run in one image. So, VNC access 
to image which stays open for a long time is a preferable way of 
monitoring and supporting your Aida websites. I for instance have a VNC 
open all the time to my collocated server where only one VW image is 
serving all my customers who host there.

To conclude, I think we can afford to run a RFB/VNC server all the time 
in image and have therefore possibility to attach in any timeor even 
stay a vnc client open all the time. I will definitively have later for 
my images, because I like to see what is happening there!

Thanks for your information!


> I have had the opportunity to start into AIDA/Web yet. I am currently
> reading the docs. But maybe something similar can be added to whatever
> web based configuration interface is available.

> Below is the text of an email conversation I had on the Seaside mailing
> list. Message and thread available at:
> http://lists.squeakfoundation.org/pipermail/seaside/2007-October/014722.html
> Hope this helps.
> Jimmie
> ++++++++++++++++++++++
> On 10/11/07, Jimmie Houchin <j.squeak at cyberhaus.us> wrote:
>> X11 is not required?
> Correct.
>> Is the port configurable?
> Yes.  The standard range starts at 5900.
>> I presume one can write a method which can be called via a web browser
>> to start or stop service from the RFBServer.
> Yes, some versions of Seaside include WAVNCController which does
> precisely that.
>> Have the RFBServer running but no client connected.
>> Such would hopefully have little resource usage. Just a guess?
>> Then if you encounter a debug situation, you can possibly have a client
>> connect, debug, disconnect. ?
> We have it not running, and in fact suspend the UI process, until
> there's a problem.  WAVNCController lets us start up the VNC server
> and resume the UI process so we can go in and take a look, and then
> shut these off after we're done.
> Suspending the UI process does help to conserve server resources.
> Avi
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Janko Mivšek
Smalltalk Web Application Server

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