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Crash Dummy

Crash Dummy is a Java web application (WAR) file to help IT professionals setting up a Java application server environment[s]. It has several features to help make this easier, including simulating failures and diagnostics. Crash Dummy is particularly helpful for setting up complex clustered environments and monitoring infrastructure.

Don't wait to learn how to use your clustering and monitoring capabilities until your production servers start crashing!

Alternatives To Crash Dummy
  • Write your own test applications - spend hours building out a custom application designed to test your servers, and still miss out on major areas.
  • Ask a developer to write one for you - like writing your own, but more time-consuming, expensive and limited documentation.
  • Prayer and meditation - unfortunately servers tend to be fussy atheists, with a tendency to cause problems when you least expect.

Feature: Crash Dummy includes one-click generation of over 20 typical server failures - allocate tons of memory in several different ways, slam databases, open network connections and more.

Why this matters: Simulate poor programming practices before they happen, and learn how your server and infrastructure can be set up to deal with these issues in advance. Learn how to use tools to debug and identify these issues in a controlled environment - not when your production environment is going down.

Here are some of the issues Crash Dummy can generate on demand...
  • Heap memory
  • Stack memory
  • Permgen memory
  • Database connections
  • System Exit
  • Network connections
  • Inappropriate AWT (graphics) use
  • Database connectivity
  • Deadlock threads
  • Standard programming errors (null pointers, divide By zero, off-by-one)
Crash Dummy does not just generate "fake" exceptions, it actually performs the operation that generates the error. For example, different servers cope differently with an out-of-memory error - simply throwing a bogus exception does not actually allocate the memory. Using Crash Dummy allows you to actually see the memory usage show up in your monitoring tools, simulating real world issues in a controlled environment.

Feature: Detailed checklist for confirming software is working correctly

Why this matters: Having a checklist to confirm your settings is always nice, but Crash Dummy checklist doesn't stop there - it actually lets you see the configuration values as they appear to the hosted web application.

Feature: Server diagnostic page confirms configuration settings

Why this matters: Examine the server configuration (especially helpful when configuring a proxy or cluster). Understand how configuration values appear to the developer.

Crash Dummy allows you to get confirmation of your application server settings before you go to production. You can set up the server and either give your development team direct access or print off the configuration settings for the development team to confirm everything is working.

Feature: Client request diagnostic page let you see browser/server integration

Why this matters: Understand the interaction between the server and client request, including how the information submitted by the client is understood by the server is critical to confirm your security, clustering, and proxies setup is working the way you expect. Use these diagnostic pages in conjunction with load generation tools to confirm that your system can handle the load, and is tuned the way you want.

Feature: Example configuration files

Why this matters: Review the application configuration files (e.g. web.xml) and understand the interaction between the application and the server. Review the 404 and 500 error page configurations, as well as confirm server values are passed to the application the way you expect.

Save Time and Money

Why this matters: Crash Dummy represents considerable development and documentation time.  At even US$10/hour, you could easily spend thousands of dollars recreating this functionality, and still miss critical or complex areas (and senior Java developers can cost $US100/hour or more!).

Or, you could just download Crash Dummy now and get to work immediately.

"Crash Dummy allows me to set up complex clustered environments and understand how to deal with failures BEFORE going to production."     

Feature: Easy Installation

Why this matters: You can download and install Crash Dummy into an off-the-shelf application server immediately.  For example, initial deployment to Tomcat, Resin, and JBoss simply involves dropping Crash Dummy into a folder and starting the server (the precise folder and screenshots for these are included in the Crash Dummy documentation).  From there, you can start adding things into your environment and verify things are working in a precise, step-by-step fashion, using the included documentation (for example, verifying that sessions are working, clustering is set up correctly, etc.).

Student, Teacher or Non-Profit?

If you are a student, teacher, or secular non-profit, send an email from an account at the domain of your organization (e.g. if you are a student at the University of California, Davis, send an email from your email address) for a deep discount coupon.  Note that this is a manual process, so it may take a couple of days for the coupon to arrive.

System Requirements

    * Java Runtime (Java 1.5 or later)
    * Java Servlet & JSP Container

Crash Dummy has been tested with several of the most current application servers. Generally speaking, Crash Dummy should work with any contemporary application server. If you are using Crash Dummy with an application server not listed below or have any questions about compatibility, feel free to make contact.

Application Server Crash Dummy Tested Version
Apache Tomcat 6.0.20
Jetty 7.0.0.RC4
JBoss AS 5.1.0.GA-jdk6
GlassFish 2.1-b60e
Oracle WebLogic 10.3.1
IBM WebSphere CE CE


Let's start with the obvious - Crash Dummy is intended to crash your server, so if you install Crash Dummy, bring up the main page, click a link, and crash the server... well, that's kind of the point.

That said, you may need additional help. If you need help dealing with your configuration and it's beyond the scope of dropping Crash Dummy into an off-the-shelf standalone server such as Tomcat, you are probably looking for some kind of consulting help - this is NOT product support and is not included in the purchase price of Crash Dummy.

Product Support
Consulting Support
Not Included
Problems downloading Crash Dummy from the purchase server Trouble getting Crash Dummy to work in a custom clustered environment
Can't get Crash Dummy to work with out-of-the-box Tomcat 6 Can't get Crash Dummy to work with JBoss proxied through Apache httpd
Can't get Crash Dummy to work with out-of-the-box IBM WebSphere CE Can't get Crash Dummy to work with commercial IBM WebSphere
Can't get Crash Dummy to work with out-of-the-box Jetty Can't get application to work with custom embedded Jetty running on cellphone
Suggestion for new feature Custom feature for your environment

Every environment is unique - Crash Dummy is a tool to help you deal with this, but we can't help you set up your environment as part of the purchase price of Crash Dummy. We can, however, put you in touch with a consultant that can help you (typically on an hourly or daily fee basis).

Either way, feel free to drop a line. If you need product support, we'll be happy to provide that, and if you need consulting support we would be happy to put you in contact with someone who can help you out.

Subpages (1): Crash Dummy LE