Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tomcat catalina.out rotation and truncation

Tomcat rotates catalina.out in a way that it logs for the current date everything in its own file ( catalina.yyyy-MM-DD.log ) but it also keeps the whole log without truncation in catalina.out. Most of the traces going to catalina.out can be avoided removing the Console Handler from the below line in conf/
.handlers =, java.util.logging.ConsoleHandler
The reality is that still catalina.out will grow if any library not using logging decides to send its output to the stdout, for example (probably not the best example for production as you won't run a debugger there, will you?):
Listening for transport dt_socket at address: 8000
This might not a big deal after all in terms of file size but we will agree it is easier to read from the same file when monitoring your logs rather than having to inspect a different log every day. It makes sense IMO to go to rotated logs only for historical reasons.

I believe that setting a file size you are comfortable with and making sure any time the catalina.out goes beyond that size is truncated makes the most sense. However that is not easy to be achieved from outside tomcat itself.

Truncating catalina.out from the stop command in makes the most sense out of the very different ways you can stop catalina.out from growing. That means right before the stop section ends (before the else for configtest) we can resolve this issue just adding:
  if [ "`stat -c %s $CATALINA_OUT`" -gt "$CATALINA_OUT_MAX_SIZE" ]; then
    cp /dev/null "$CATALINA_OUT"
elif [ "$1" = "configtest" ] ; then
Of course you need to configure the value for $CATALINA_OUT_MAX_SIZE in

Please understand that catalina.out will stop growing once the log file is greater than CATALINA_OUT_MAX_SIZE *AND* the stop command is used. This might mean you can have eventually a file bigger than the expected CATALINA_OUT_MAX_SIZE but hopefully it will not go out of control as it is the case when you do not take proper measures.

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