Liferay Cloud’s auto-scaling feature automatically creates and destroys instances of the Liferay service as needed to optimize performance. This addresses sudden changes such as increased server traffic, memory leaks, or other issues. By default, this feature is disabled in every Liferay Cloud account.

Using this feature, a service can automatically increase (upscale) the number of Liferay DXP instances to a defined maximum (10 by default), or decrease (downscale) to the number specified in the scale property in LCP.json. The scale property specifies the minimum number of instances to run:

  "scale": 2,

Auto-scaling is only available for the Liferay DXP service in production environments. Once auto-scaling is enabled, each extra instance of the service will incur an hourly charge. For more information on how auto-scaling is charged, see How Auto-scaling is Charged.

JVM Memory Configuration

For auto-scaling to work properly, it is important to set an appropriate memory allocation for your Liferay image’s JVM. This allocation is necessary to allow the memory usage to expand or contract depending on the server’s load.

Set the liferay service’s LIFERAY_JVM_OPTS environment variable to allocate memory using the -Xms and -Xmx flags. The -Xms flag sets the initial memory allocation when the service starts, while the -Xmx flag determines the maximum memory allocation for the JVM. For example, if you have a total of 16 GB provisioned and available for this service, then you may set the property to the following:

-Xms4096m -Xmx12288m

If you are still using version 3.x.x services, then use LIFERAY_JAVA_OPTS instead of LIFERAY_JVM_OPTS to specify the JVM options. See Understanding Service Stack Versions for more information on checking the version.

The recommended configuration is to set the -Xms flag using 25% of the available memory, and to set the -Xmx flag using 75% of the available memory. See the following table for reference on recommended values, for different levels of memory available to your liferay service:

Available Memory Recommended LIFERAY_JAVA_OPTS
8 GB -Xms2048m -Xmx6144m
16 GB -Xms4096m -Xmx12288m
24 GB -Xms6144m -Xmx18432m
32 GB -Xms8192m -Xmx24576m
64 GB -Xms16384m -Xmx49152m

The LIFERAY_JAVA_OPTS variable may sometimes be used with other flags, in addition to -Xms and -Xmx. If other flags are present, then update the environment variable with the memory arguments without removing the others.

See Defining Environment Variables for help adding this environment variable to your liferay service.

Managing Auto-scaling

Follow these steps to enable or disable auto-scaling in the Liferay Cloud Console:

  1. Navigate to the production environment.
  2. Navigate to ServicesLiferayScale.
  3. If auto-scaling is disabled, click Enable Auto Scaling to enable it. If auto-scaling is already enabled, click Disable Auto Scaling to disable it.

With auto-scaling enabled, Liferay Cloud monitors your service and scales it automatically according to predefined thresholds.

Figure 1: Enable or disable auto-scaling from your service's Scale tab.

Specifying Target Average Utilization

System administrators can specify a target average utilization. This value is an average of memory and CPU usage across Liferay DXP services. That value threshold must be crossed before auto-scaling is triggered.

For example, if three service instances utilize 70%, 90%, and 95% of memory, respectively, then the average memory utilization is 85%. If the target average utilization is set to 90, then no upscaling is needed; upscaling in this situation only occurs when the average memory utilization exceeds the target.

The total available memory is specified by the memory property in LCP.json, as referenced in Configuration via LCP.json.

Specify the target average utilization in the autoscale property of the service’s LCP.json:

"autoscale": {
    "cpu": 80,
    "memory": 90

If the autoscale property isn’t set, the target average utilization defaults to 80 for both CPU and memory utilization.

Setting the Maximum Number of Instances

By default, auto-scaling can increase the number of instances for the liferay service up to 10. However, you can override this default to use more instances if necessary. You must override the default in two places to allow services to use more than the default 10 instances:

  1. Set the LCP_HAPROXY_SERVER_TEMPLATE_BACKEND_NUM environment variable in your web server service to the highest value needed. The liferay service may not scale beyond the maximum number of instances defined in LCP_HAPROXY_SERVER_TEMPLATE_BACKEND_NUM (10 by default).

  2. Within the liferay service’s LCP.json file, specify the desired maximum instances if it needs more than the default 10. Set the maxInstances field within the autoscale object:

    "autoscale": {
        "cpu": 80,
        "memory": 80,
        "maxInstances": 15

Once you have updated both of these configurations, auto-scaling increases your liferay service’s instances up to your newly defined maximum as needed.

Auto-scaling and DXP Activation Keys

An activation key is typically required to be deployed and validated in order to use Liferay DXP on premises. On Liferay Cloud when Auto-scaling is enabled, the Liferay Cloud team resolves any DXP Activation key issues and will add and remove activation keys on an as needed basis.