If you look to the first message the problem is that the classes are loaded by two different class loaders.
This might happen if a class reference is given across different archives which are loaded by different class loaders.
In your case I suppose that the EAR contain one and the JAR is located in the server/.../lib folder.
In this case the lib/jar is loaded by the global classloader and the ear in a separate one to isolate the application.
So what's the smartest way to solve the problem.
Like i said it's a big project developed over more than ten years.
Is it possible to force the use of a class loader, or find the "bad" references?
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I suppose that you have communication between different application EAR/WAR's in the same JBoss.
One solution might that you use 'call by value' instead of 'call by reference' (which is also the JEE standard).
But this will be slower because of serialisation ...
Other solution is to load all classes in the same classloader scope.
See wiki to have a clear picture of this
I know this is not an easy issue but it is indispensable to have knowlegde about the behaviour.
thank you for the help,
i finally found the error in the our own old cache manager implementation, which just needed to be removed.