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Saturday, December 25, 2010


11:54:00 AM Posted by Satish Kumar , , , , No comments

There are two primary measures of garbage collection performance. Throughput is the percentage of total time not spent in garbage collection, considered over long periods of time. Throughput includes time spent in allocation (but tuning for speed of allocation is generally not needed.) Pauses are the times when an application appears unresponsive because garbage collection is occurring.

Users have different requirements of garbage collection. For example, some consider the right metric for a web server to be throughput, since pauses during garbage collection may be tolerable. However, in an interactive graphics program even short pauses may negatively affect the user experience.

Some users are sensitive to other considerations. Footprint is the working set of a process, measured in pages and cache lines. On systems with limited physical memory or many processes, footprint may dictate scalability. Promptness is the time between when an object becomes dead and when the memory becomes available, an important consideration for distributed systems, including remote method invocation (RMI).

In general, a particular generation sizing chooses a trade-off between these considerations. For example, a very large young generation may maximize throughput, but does so at the expense of footprint, promptness, and pause times. young generation pauses can be minimized by using a small young generation at the expense of throughput. To a first approximation, the sizing of one generation does not affect the collection frequency and pause times for another generation.

There is no one right way to size generations. The best choice is determined by the way the application uses memory as well as user requirements. For this reason the virtual machine's choice of a garbage collector are not always optimal, and may be overridden by the user in the form of command line options.


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