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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tuning the compaction and thread local area (TLA) size.

a.      Compaction is used to reduce heap fragmentation, i.e., move objects to form contiguous ‘live regions’ of the heap space. Note when a full compaction is run the stopping of a concurrently running application is inevitable. We can say that compaction is one of the worst garbage collection bottlenecks. If anything is known about fragmentation and object sizes it might be beneficial to tune compaction.
b.      The compaction algorithm divides the heap into a number of equally large parts. Each of these is subject to separate compaction that can stop the world. The default is 4096 parts. When compaction is too disruptive it might help to increase the number of heap parts. When compaction fails to keep up with fragmentation it might help to decrease the number of heap parts. Note that, for strategies other than throughput the compaction areas are sized dynamically
c.       The proper tuning of compaction involves two parameters:
                                                              i.      Compaction ratio (-XX:compaction:percentage:<percentage> or -XX:compaction:internalPercentage=<percentage>,externalPercentage=<percentage>) – the percentage of the heap that the garbage collector compacts at each garbage collection. While the JVM is compacting the heap, all threads that want to access objects need to wait because the JVM is moving the objects around.
                                                            ii.      Maximum references (-XX:compaction:maxReferences:<value>) – the maximum number of references to objects in the compaction area. If the number of references exceeds this limit, the compaction is canceled. When compaction has moved objects, the references to these objects must be updated. The pause time introduced by this updating is proprotional to the number of references that have been updated
d.      steps to tune compaction are as follows:
                                                              i.      Set the compaction ratio to 1 and gradually increase the ratio until the pause time becomes too long.
                                                            ii.      If the garbage collection time is too long when the compaction ration is 1, the maximum number of references must be adjusted:
                                                          iii.      Set the maximum references to 10000 and gradually increase the references until the pause time becomes too long. To monitor compaction behavior, we can add the option -Xverbose:compaction to the command-line. If many compactions are skipped, the maximum references must be increased; if, on the other hand, the compaction pause times are too long the maximum references must be decreased.
                                                           iv.      As we are using a dynamic garbage collection that optimizes the pause time (-Xgc:pausetime), we do not need to tune the compaction manually in this case setting the -XpauseTarget is sufficient.
e.      Each thread allocates objects in a TLA that is promoted to the heap when full. The TLA size can be adjusted by using -XXtlaSize:min=<size>,preferred=<size>,wasteLimit=<size>, in which,
                                                              i.      min – sets the minimum size of a TLA.
                                                            ii.      preferred – sets the preferred size of a TLA. The system will try to get TLAs of the preferred size if possible, but accepts TLAs of minimum size as well.
                                                          iii.      wasteLimit – sets the waste limit for TLAs. This is the maximum amount of free memory that a TLA is allowed to have when a thread requires a new TLA

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