Low-Overhead Heap Profiling

Jeremy Manson jeremymanson at google.com
Fri Jun 26 16:10:02 UTC 2015

Hey Kirk,

The answer to that is not to use safepoint-biased execution profilers, I

For Hotspot, profilers can call AsyncGetCallTrace in a signal handler.
That's what we do at Google, and it works just fine (although we keep
having to fix AGCT to get decent output).  Sample code:

Another thing that users can do on Linux is use perf events, as long as the
right agent is in place.  This is somewhat underdocumented, but Stephane
Eranian wrote some sample JVMTI code to enable it:

We have vague plans to do something with this (although right now the
kernel support needed doesn't quite work with our development machines).


On Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 12:01 AM, Kirk Pepperdine <kirk.pepperdine at gmail.com
> wrote:

> Hi Jeremy,
> Sorry I wasn’t so clear, it’s not about collection, it’s about allocation.
> In this regard it’s not about about size, it’s about the frequency. People
> tend allocate small objects frequently and they will avoid allocating large
> objects frequently. The assumption is, large is expensive but small isn’t.
> These event will show up using execution profilers but given the safe-point
> bias of execution profilers and other factors, it’s often clearer to view
> this problem using memory profilers.
> Kind regards,
> Kirk
> On Jun 25, 2015, at 7:34 PM, Jeremy Manson <jeremymanson at google.com>
> wrote:
> Why would allocation frequency be more damaging to performance?
> Allocation is cheap, and as long as they become dead before the YG
> collection, it costs the same to collect one 1MB object as it does to
> collection 1000 1K objects.
> Jeremy
> On Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 11:54 PM, Kirk Pepperdine <
> kirk.pepperdine at gmail.com> wrote:
>> But, seriously, why didn’t you like my proposal? It can do anything your
>> scheme can with fewer and simpler code changes. The only thing that it
>> cannot do is to sample based on object count (i.e., every 100 objects)
>> instead of based on object size (i.e., every 1MB of allocations). But I
>> think doing sampling based on size is the right approach here (IMHO).
>> I would think that the size based sampling would create a size based bias
>> in your sampling. Since IME, it’s allocation frequency is more damaging to
>> performance, I’d prefer to see time boxed sampling
>> Kind regards,
>> Kirk Pepperdine
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