Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Case of the Missing Memory

If you start Java with -Xmx512m, you'd expect the max heap size to be 512 megs, right? So, when you connect via JConsole (or JMX) why is the heap size smaller? My JConsole shows a committed and maximum size of the "Heap Memory Usage" as about 491MiB.

I've been fiddling with the OpenJDK source and been putting log statements into it to see how the GC is behaving. So, for instance, I changed:



#include <stdio.h>

and liberally sprinkled the code with statements like:

  printf("PH: ParallelScavengeHeap::initialize: size %d: \n", _reserved.byte_size());

And sure enough, when I run my application, I see the JVM spit out:

PH: ParallelScavengeHeap::initialize: size 536870912: 

So, it's using the collector that is the "default on certain machine types" [1] with the full 512MiB allocated to it. This collector is "targeted towards large young generation heaps and to scale with more CPUs. It works very well with large young generation heap sizes that are in gigabytes, like 12GB to 80GB or more, and scales very well with increase in CPUs, 8 CPUs or more" [2] (I have 16 CPUs and 64GBs, although obviously have not set my heap that high).

Now, when I connect to the JVM and look at the memory usage, I see statements like:

PH: EdenMutableSpacePool::get_memory_usage: size 134217728: 
PH: SurvivorMutableSpacePool::get_memory_usage: size 22347776: 
PH: PSGenerationPool::get_memory_usage: size 357957632: 

since I have changed these C++ classes that can all be found in


(Note that these three classes are all the subtypes of CollectedMemoryPool for the PS collector.)

This memory usage totals the 491MiB usage we saw in JConsole but is still exactly 22 347 776 bytes short of the 512MiB we defined at start up time.

The "missing" memory is of course because there are two survivor spaces [3] but since only one has live objects at any point, we only count its size.

[1] Dr Richard Warburton's blog.
[2] Oracle's Improving Java Application Performance and Scalability by Reducing Garbage Collection Times and Sizing Memory Using JDK 1.4.1.
[3] Oracle's Virtual Machine Garbage Collection Tuning.

No comments:

Post a Comment