TLAB pointer movement in Hotspot implementation

Chandra Shekahr Jammi csjammi at
Thu Aug 17 23:47:20 UTC 2017

Krystal & Thomas,
Thanks a lot for your response. That helped a lot.

If understand your explanation about lack of synchronization correctly,
delay is observed if I read from other threads. But, if the I read
ThreadMXBean#getThreadAllocatedBytes(long) from the thread Im asking
allocated bytes for, there should be no delay ?

Again, thank you for your time.


On Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 1:46 AM Thomas Schatzl <thomas.schatzl at>

> Hi,
> On Thu, 2017-08-03 at 23:18 -0700, Krystal Mok wrote:
> > Hi CJ,
> >
> > The JavaThread::_allocated_bytes field is updated every time the
> > thread's TLAB is being retired
> > (ThreadLocalAllocBuffer::make_parsable()), and also
> > when there's a big allocation that goes through the slow path
> > (CollectedHeap::common_mem_allocate_noinit()). So, that keeps track
> > of the cumulative sum of all GC heap memory allocated from this
> > thread.
> This behavior is exactly what the somewhat generic description also
> tries to cover: with -XX:UseTLAB (which is by default enabled), you get
> allocation information on a TLAB basis, not an object basis.
> > By adding that with the current TLAB's used(), you'd get a fairly
> > accurate number of the allocated bytes of a thread. There's no
> > intentional delay. The only "delay" would come from the fact that the
> > _allocated_bytes field is only loaded with acquire semantics, but not
> > written to with release semantics, so there might be a slight gap
> > there due to lack of synchronization, by design.
> Due to this unsynchronized access between amount of TLAB space
> allocated and current TLAB's used, it might also happen that the
> reported number of bytes allocated jumps backwards intermittently.
> E.g. if you have multiple readings of that bean:
> reading-1 = JavaThread::_allocated_bytes (=1000) + TLAB::used() for
> TLAB X (=3000)  -> 4000
> reading-2 = JavaThread::_allocated_bytes (=1000) + TLAB::used() for
> TLAB X+1 (=0) -> 1000
> I.e. between the reading of the old value of allocated so far and
> reading TLAB's used() the thread retired a TLAB and allocated a new
> one. Or the new value for TLAB::used() X+1 just got visible to the CPU
> reading the data before the new value of JavaThread::_allocated_bytes.
> Thanks,
>   Thomas

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