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CATALINA_OPTS v JAVA_OPTS - What is the difference?
There are two environment variables - CATALINA_OPTS and JAVA_OPTS - which are both used in the catalina.sh
startup and shutdown script for Tomcat. They are described in comments within that file as:
(optional) Java runtime options used when the "start", "stop" or "run" command is executed
(optional) Java runtime options used when the "start" or "run" command is executed
So why are there two
different variables? And what's the difference?
Firstly, anything specified in EITHER variable is passed, identically, to the command that starts up Tomcat - the "start" or "run" command - but only values set in JAVA_OPTS are passed to the "stop" command. That probably doesn't make any difference to how Tomcat runs in practise as it only effects the end of a run, not the start.
The second difference is more subtle. Other applications may also use JAVA_OPTS, but only Tomcat will use CATALINA_OPTS. So if you're setting environment variables for use only by Tomcat, you'll be best advised to use CATALINA_OPTS, whereas if you're setting environment variables to be used by other java applications as well, such as by JBoss, you should put your settings in JAVA_OPTS.
"OK - so that's the difference. Give me some examples of what can go in there!"
You can increase heap memory available to the JVM - see here
You can open remote monitoring ports so that Jconsole on another system can watch how your Tomcat is running - see here
You can add in a -server
to switch from the client (quicker start, slower running) JVM to the server (slower starting, quicker running) JVM.
You can increase java thread stack size using the -Xss
option (same way to specify amount of memory as in -Xms
as described in the "increase heap memory" link above. (written 2009-05-09)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesA654 - Web Application Deployment - Configuring and Controlling Tomcat 
Gathering information - logging - with log4j. First steps. - (2010-11-12) 
Reading and writing cookies in Java Servlets and JSPs - (2010-02-26) 
Tomcat 6 - Annotated Sample Configuration Files - (2009-03-01) 
The Invoker - (2009-02-13) 
tomcat-users.xml; what a difference a space made - (2009-01-16) 
Port and Glasses - (2008-12-14) 
WEB-INF (Tomcat) and .htaccess (httpd) - (2008-08-20) 
Automatic startup and shutdown of Tomcat - (2008-02-24) 
Web page (http) error status 405 - (2008-01-12) 
Apache Tomcat Performance Tuning - (2007-09-29) 
Compressing web pages sent out from server. Is it worth it? - (2007-09-14) 
A practical example of roles - (2006-11-04) 
Browser -> httpd -> Tomcat -> MySQL. Restarting. - (2006-10-28) 
Tomcat - Shutdown port - (2006-08-18)
Some other Articles
Watching the teleCrossrefering documents with uniqueness and inconsistency issues - PHP proof of concept demoMaking Regular Expressions easy to read and maintainUpdating my public profile - Graham EllisCATALINA_OPTS v JAVA_OPTS - What is the difference?Admins thoughts on banning a member from a forumGet it right ... if it goes wrong, it takes so much effort to sort out!PHP - getclass v instanceofA long day to guess whereOn the roof of a Melksham Spa House
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