Understanding "class" native memory usage

Steven Schlansker stevenschlansker at gmail.com
Thu Sep 15 17:17:56 UTC 2016

Hi hotspot-dev,

Hopefully I found an appropriate mailing list.  Let me know if I should be asking elsewhere.

We run OpenJDK 8u91 inside of Linux containers.  One of the challenges we've faced is
ensuring that the container memory limits don't kill our Java processes unexpectedly --
heap sizing is relatively easy, but there's a number of other regions the JVM uses that
aren't as easy to account for.

We use Native Memory Tracking and export the statistics.  Plotting the "class committed" NMT

You'll notice what looks like a very slow memory leak.  We've confirmed with "-verbose:class" that we are
are not loading many new classes - this graph starts a day after launch, so the application should have long
reached a relatively steady state.  The jump at 9/15 08:00 was due to classloading relating to attaching
JMX monitoring.  The long slow rise though we can't account for.

Eventually the application exceeds its container memory bound and is SIGKILLed by the kernel.
We are in the process of iteratively raising the limit, but it's unclear how large this class
space could grow.  We've observed some evidence that it can be GCed eventually, but it's not
clear what prompts it or how we'd encourage it to happen more often.

Here are our relevant JVM options:

Notice that we set a 32m limit on "compressed class space size" -- which is apparently not the same as
"class" usage in NMT?  Or the limit isn't effective?

The questions I am trying to answer:

* What causes this long slow rise of "class" usage?  It almost looks like a leak.
* How do we limit this native memory region?  We're trying to set absolute limits; we'd much prefer a
  Java OutOfMemoryError than a visit from the kernel OOM killer
* It'd be nice to signal to the JVM "You have this much memory total, and not a byte more" and have
  the other tuneables set sensibly based on that value.  Maybe I'm dreaming.  This also isn't a question.

Any other tips on diagnosing this sort of issue also appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

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