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I expect also that the connection is destroyed and droped from pool if the validation-check fail.
Put it is possible that thea new connection can be opened but not established (you set the new-connection-sql also),
this looks like your behaviour.
Maybe it helps to TRACE 'org.jboss.jca'.
Yes, it is destroyed and dropped when validation-check fails, but shouldn't that happen also if there is a SQLException during use of that connection? It feels like connections that are generating errors shouldn't be left open.
No from documentation (training) the connection is not handed back to pool.