Step by Step WebSphere Portal Server troubleshooting guide

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TroubleshootingHave you ever been in a situation where in you are working on some important project deliverable(s) and suddenly you realize that your Portal Server has stopped working.

What would you do in that situation? 

You have couple of options to try here : Either troubleshoots the problem and try to found out some solution or easiest thing to do is to reinstall the portal server again and start all over again.

This article talks about the scenarios that you might encounter while working in the WebSphere Portal environment:
  • Portal JVM Crash : WebSphere Portal is considered to have crashed if its process identifier (PID) is disappeared from the list of processes or if the PID is changed over time without intentional stopping of the server, such as stopServer command being issued.
  • Portal Run-time failure : This is any failure that may occur during general operation and administration of WebSphere Portal Server.
  • Portal Server Start time failure : This is any failure that causes the Portal not to start or can allowed to start but is no longer accessible via URL.
  • Portal Server Operating System failure : This is any failure that is caused by the Operating System, for example: the accidental removal of the WebSphere folder.

Portal JVM Crash


The following diagnostics logs and files are essential to troubleshooting a crash:

Java core : This file is generated when the JVM terminates unexpectedly. It is a text file that contains information about the JVM and Java application captured at some point during execution.

Core Dump or Heap Dump : This file contains a complete dump of your computer’s memory, and therefore, it can grow large.

Check his article here to see how to create heap dump and javacore files.

The following are the steps to determine this issue:

  • Search for the Javacore files (/IBM/WebSphere/AppServer/profiles/wp_profile). If there is a Javacore present, analyze that file and find any Signal 11, since this indicates the application server crash.
  • If there is no Javacore, the issue may be solved by upgrading the IBM Java SDK with the latest service release because the JVM is probably hung.

Portal Run Time Failure


This could include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • Unable to login
  • Administration tab unavailable
  • Portlet deployment failures
  • Portlet unavailable
  • Page does not display
The followings are the steps to determine the Portal Run-time Failure:
  • Review the SystemOut.log and SystemErr.log at location (/IBM/WebSphere/ /wp_profile/logs/WebSphere_Portal/)
  • Analyze these two files to see if there is any failure and try to find out what the causes of this failure are.
  • If the above problem determination approach did not resolve the issue, use the more advanced troubleshooting method by enabling additional tracing (Click here to see how to enable tracing).

Portal Start Time Failure


The following diagnostics logs and files are essential to troubleshooting an issue:

SystemOut.log. This file tells what activities happened during the Portal Starting time.
SystemErr.log. This file tells what exceptions/errors happened during the Portal Starting time.

The following are the steps to determine this issue:

  • Find if there is any Portal back-end connectivity problem, for example: LDAP or Portal Database.
  • Find if there is any WebSphere resource not working properly, for example: JMS, EJB, or JDBC
  • Find if there is any WebSphere Portal Service cannot be started.

WebSphere Portal Recovery Strategy


This section covers the strategies that can be taken into consideration if the analyses as mentioned above do not produce any meaningful action.

  • PORTAL RE-INSTALLATION : This step is the last step if all the previous steps fail. This step is basically portal re-installation from scratch.
  • PORTLET RE-INSTALLATION : This step is the Portlet installation and is taken if the failure only occurs to a specified Portlet.
  • PAGE RECONFIGURED : This step is the Page reconfiguration and is taken if the failure only occurs to a specified Page.
  • PORTAL LATEST WORKING BACKUP RESTORATION : This step is the Portal Restoration from the latest working backup. This is a major activity and will rollback all Portal changes that have been done to the Portal.

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