This seems to alleviate the issue... in context.xml (sc-test#sc.xml)
<Context docBase="${STP_HOME}/app/webapps/Clinicals" swallowOutput="true" 

Not sure if this is the context reload trigger... i.e. the 
webappLoader.backgroundProcess method is triggered every 90 seconds... the 
reloadable property on Context is NOT set (default = false). So then how does 
modified() evaluate to true? 
     * Execute a periodic task, such as reloading, etc. This method will be
     * invoked inside the classloading context of this container. Unexpected
     * throwables will be caught and logged.
    public void backgroundProcess() {
        if (reloadable && modified()) {
            try {
                if (context != null) {
            } finally {
                if (context != null && context.getLoader() != null) {

I do not understand how modified = true. Why would the jar date/time be changed?
     * Have one or more classes or resources been modified so that a reload
     * is appropriate?
     * @return <code>true</code> if there's been a modification
    public boolean modified() {

        if (log.isDebugEnabled())

        for (Entry<String,ResourceEntry> entry : resourceEntries.entrySet()) {
            long cachedLastModified = entry.getValue().lastModified;
            long lastModified = resources.getClassLoaderResource(
            if (lastModified != cachedLastModified) {
                if( log.isDebugEnabled() )
                            new Date(cachedLastModified),
                            new Date(lastModified)));
                return true;

        // Check if JARs have been added or removed
        WebResource[] jars = resources.listResources("/WEB-INF/lib");
        // Filter out non-JAR resources

        int jarCount = 0;
        for (WebResource jar : jars) {
            if (jar.getName().endsWith(".jar") && jar.isFile() && 
jar.canRead()) {
                Long recordedLastModified = 
                if (recordedLastModified == null) {
                    // Jar has been added
                    return true;
                if (recordedLastModified.longValue() != jar.getLastModified()) {
                    // Jar has been changed
                    return true;

        if (jarCount < jarModificationTimes.size()){
            return true;

        // No classes have been modified
        return false;

-----Original Message-----
From: Rhuberg,Anthony 
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2019 3:08 PM
To: Tomcat Users List <>
Subject: RE: Performance test with Tomcat 9 shows increased cpu/disk usage 
because of repeated opening/closing of jars in WEB-INF/lib

On the other thread: Is this genuine class loading (in which case the response 
below is correct) or is the application reading the .class files as if they 
were resources (in which case a different answer applies)?
Mostly, we are talking about the default class loader; however, the application 
does read resources from the jar files - mostly static files that are stored 
within the package structure are read (for example: log4j, property files, 
other static content). Would this affect the reload of the jar files?

-----Original Message-----
From: Rhuberg,Anthony
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2019 2:53 PM
To: Tomcat Users List <>
Subject: RE: Performance test with Tomcat 9 shows increased cpu/disk usage 
because of repeated opening/closing of jars in WEB-INF/lib

Just noticed another thread on this topic: RE: Tomcat discards and reloads the 
jar files from the webapps folder.

Setting the Engine attribute backgroundProcessorDelay to 90s does reduce the 
open/close cycle of the jars.

The other thread also mentioned a potential configuration to keep the jars open 
longer by default. This could be helpful - not sure we need to close them at 

Alternatively, would there be any gain to 'explode' the jars into class files 
on the filesystem? 

-----Original Message-----
From: Rhuberg,Anthony <>
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2019 2:17 PM
Subject: Performance test with Tomcat 9 shows increased cpu/disk usage because 
of repeated opening/closing of jars in WEB-INF/lib

In the last few months we migrated our web application from Tomcat 7.0.55 to 
Tomcat 9.0.19 (26). That transition was relatively straightforward until we 
reviewed the results of our performance tests. Those tests showed an increase 
in CPU usage and disk I/O on our Windows 2012 server. When we switch back to 
Tomcat 7, the metrics for CPU/disk usage were significantly lower (similar to 
previous tests).

As we investigated the cause of the increase in cpu/disk usage we found the 
tomcat process was repeatedly opening and closing the jars of our web 
application. The process profile showed all the jars in WEB-INF/lib being 
closed and reopened within seconds while the application was processing 
requests (and to some extent when quite). Now we are trying to determine why.

We have a general understanding that the 
implementation changed in Tomcat 8.5. The Tomcat 7 implementation provided for 
the configuration of  jarOpenInterval (which we used the default = 90s). The 
latest implementation appears to track the jar modification times with a hash 
map called jarModificationTimes, but we are unable to find a similar 
time-to-live configuration or what triggers the lifecycle listener to close the 
jars (what calls WebappClassLoaderBase.modified() or destroy()) - assuming we 
understand this lifecycle behavior.

The server is configured mostly with default settings. The Context reloadable 
property is NOT set. We have tried increasing the cache time of the Resources 
cacheTtl property as the default of 5s seemed close to the time the jars were 
reloaded. We have not been successful.

What is the cause of the repeated reloading of our web application jars? What 
can trigger the class loader to close all the file handles related to the jars 
in the web application WEB-INF/lib directory - and then open them again within 
a few seconds?

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