JIRA startup slow?

Just wondering if my experience is normal.  When I first start the service it shows up in Task Manager processes list.  It's starts at like 20 megs of RAM and 30% cpu.  The RAM slowly grows until it hits about 950 megs and the CPU utilization drops to zero.  At that point I can access JIRA.  Any point before that and I'll get apache error.  The whole process takes about 5 minutes.  That may sound pedantic and it's obviously not a huge deal I just wanted to make sure this was normal, especially since my install only has about 50 issues in it right now (not live yet).

It's frustrating right now because I'm troubleshooting a database connection issue and I have to stop and restart each time I modify the context.xml file.

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Short answer is "yes".  JIRA chews up massive amounts of resource while starting - one of the most popular duplicate questions here is about it being so overloaded and slow that the plugins can't all load inside the timeout window and how to give it more time to start.

When I first started using JIRA, we had 5 second start times for an off-the-shelf install.  It's now minutes, and way higher if you start to add addons.  As an example, I'm currently on a Mac airbook thingy, 8Gb RAM, 2GHz i7 processor.  I can get JIRA running in about a minute.  But I have to hack the plugin timeout to get JIRA +Agile + Portfolio running - they add so much load, it's getting really silly.

So the next short answer is "it generally doesn't matter about data volume, it's the core and the addons that are probably the problem"

And the last short answer is "Yes, it's normal" 

how do you modify the plugin timeout?

It would be easy to give the exact line, but it's better to give more context - see https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/JIRAKB/Troubleshooting+JIRA+Startup+Failed+Error

It might help to set the JVM ms parameter to the same as mx so that all the heap is acquired in one go? I expect a production JIRA with a few add-ons to take a minute or two to start up, but 5 minutes is a lot. Also make sure your JIRA home and Lucene index dir is on some local fast disk

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