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During the activation process Magnolia makes a copy of the current content on the public instance and stores it in the mgnlSystem workspace. The system rolls back any changes using the backup copy if transactional activation fails for some reason. If the activation succeeds, the system overwrites the current content with the activated content and removes the backup copy.

Below tips and tools could help you either detect the issue or clean up unnecessary content before publishing:

Debugging activation

The steps of an activation on Public can be viewed by turning the XAReceiveFilter to DEBUG using the Log Tools app. Here we see an example of the steps during page activation.

Activation of page /travel/about/company
About to begin activate of website:8fa4a73f-51c3-40ac-b698-715595216186:/travel/about/company
Got clearance for JCR lock on parent node /travel/about
Requesting XA lock
About to perform activate
Starting content update
Checking for existence of content website:8fa4a73f-51c3-40ac-b698-715595216186
Content 8fa4a73f-51c3-40ac-b698-715595216186 was located under path website:/travel/about/company
Stored content website:/travel/about/company:8fa4a73f-51c3-40ac-b698-715595216186 for rollback later
User superuser successfully activated /travel/about/company on magnoliaPublic.
User superuser attempted to activate 8fa4a73f-51c3-40ac-b698-715595216186 on magnoliaPublic.
Finished activate of website:8fa4a73f-51c3-40ac-b698-715595216186:/travel/about
Activate was executed in total of 0.757 seconds
About to begin commit of website:8fa4a73f-51c3-40ac-b698-715595216186:/travel/about/company
Got clearance for JCR lock on parent node /travel/about/company
About to perform commit
Proceeding with commit of content 8fa4a73f-51c3-40ac-b698-715595216186
Commited content 8fa4a73f-51c3-40ac-b698-715595216186
User transaction committed on MgnlUser - superuser [51ae3379-67cf-4994-9e05-f97cb8bc3e4a].
Finished commit of website:8fa4a73f-51c3-40ac-b698-715595216186:/travel/about/company
Commit was executed in total of 0.073 seconds 

It is possible that something goes wrong while Magnolia is activating the content. For example, the server process is killed or the server loses power. This means that the backup copy may have gotten left in the mgnlSystem workspace. Never clean up properly after the activation during the commit step.

Checking at startup

The system will automatically check for nodes. If a node is found in the in the mgnlSystem workspace during startup this message will be recorded in the public log.

WARN PUBLIC [main] info.magnolia.module.exchangetransactional.ExchangeTransactionalUtil: Removing backup copy of /company from mgnlSystem, please verify that page was activated correctly to this public instance.

This is a sign that the server went down during the activation step. The backup copy remains indicating that the commit step was never reached. This means that the page may have not been activated correctly.

Cleaning tool

After a successful activation a cleanup procedure is run to remove the backup copies. This is performed during the commit step. If for some reason it cannot cleanup then a message like this will occur in the log.

ERROR info.magnolia.module.exchangetransactional.XAReceiveFilter - Failed to cleanup backup of a1918662-8cbe-4346-ac5a-1b24a9950e2b. Activation of this content will not be possible until manual cleanup of mgnlSystem workspace is performed.

To try and resolve the issue, clean the mgnlSystem workspace yourself on the public instance. There is a cleaning tool in the Activation Tools app. This is the same procedure that is run during startup but triggered manually using this app.

After running be sure to check the log. If you see repository exceptions then you need to take other actions. For example, restarting the server to release any locks that may still be present. Restarting will automatically call the cleanup procedure described above. If locks was the issue then you should see the system successfully remove the backup copies during the restart. However, if you still see repository exceptions in your log during startup then you most likely have a repository corruption issue. In that case probably the best course of action would be to recreate the workspace from scratch.

Visual inspection

There is also the new JCR Browser app which will allow you to visually inspect the workspace as well.


The mgnlSystem  workspace should normally be empty if there is no activation in progress. After cleaning, make sure the website tree is OK on your public instance.


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