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How Memory Leaks Happen in a Java Application | @CloudExpo #JVM #Java #Virtualization
One of the core benefits of Java is the JVM, which is an out-of-the-box memory management

How Memory Leaks Happen in a Java Application
By Eugen Paraschiv

Introduction to Memory Leaks In Java Apps
One of the core benefits of Java is the JVM, which is an out-of-the-box memory management. Essentially, we can create objects and the Java Garbage Collector will take care of allocating and freeing up memory for us.

Nevertheless, memory leaks can still occur in Java applications.

In this article, we're going to describe the most common memory leaks, understand their causes, and look at a few techniques to detect/avoid them. We're also going to use the Java YourKit profiler throughout the article, to analyze the state of our memory at runtime.

1. What is a Memory Leak in Java?
The standard definition of a memory leak is a scenario that occurs when objects are no longer being used by the application, but the Garbage Collector is unable to remove them from working memory - because they're still being referenced. As a result, the application consumes more and more resources - which eventually leads to a fatal OutOfMemoryError.

For a better understanding of the concept, here's a simple visual representation:

How memory leaks happen in Java

As we can see, we have two types of objects - referenced and unreferenced; the Garbage Collector can remove objects that are unreferenced. Referenced objects won't be collected, even if they're actually not longer used by the application.

Detecting memory leaks can be difficult. A number of tools perform static analysis to determine potential leaks, but these techniques aren't perfect because the most important aspect is the actual runtime behavior of the running system.

So, let's have a focused look at some of the standard practices of preventing memory leaks, by analyzing some common scenarios.

2. Java Heap Leaks
In this initial section, we're going to focus on the classic memory leak scenario - where Java objects are continuously created without being released.

An advantageous technique to understand these situations is to make reproducing a memory leak easier by setting a lower size for the Heap. That's why, when starting our application, we can adjust the JVM to suit our memory needs:

-Xms<size>

-Xmx<size>

These parameters specify the initial Java Heap size as well as the maximum Heap size.

2.1. Static Field Holding On to the Object Reference
The first scenario that might cause a Java memory leak is referencing a heavy object with a static field.

Let's have a look at a quick example:

private Random random = new Random();
public static final ArrayList<Double> list = new ArrayList<Double>(1000000);

@Test
public void givenStaticField_whenLotsOfOperations_thenMemoryLeak() throws InterruptedException {
for (int i = 0; i < 1000000; i++) {
list.add(random.nextDouble());
}

System.gc();
Thread.sleep(10000); // to allow GC do its job
}

We created our ArrayList as a static field - which will never be collected by the JVM Garbage Collector during the lifetime of the JVM process, even after the calculations it was used for are done. We also invoked Thread.sleep(10000) to allow the GC to perform a full collection and try to reclaim everything that can be reclaimed.

Let's run the test and analyze the JVM with our profiler:

Java static memory leak

Notice how, at the very beginning, all memory is, of course, free.

Then, in just 2 seconds, the iteration process runs and finishes - loading everything into the list (naturally this will depend on the machine you're running the test on).

After that, a full garbage collection cycle is triggered, and the test continues to execute, to allow this cycle time to run and finish. As you can see, the list is not reclaimed and the memory consumption doesn't go down.

Let's now see the exact same example, only this time, the ArrayList isn't referenced by a static variable. Instead, it's a local variable that gets created, used and then discarded:

@Test
public void givenNormalField_whenLotsOfOperations_thenGCWorksFine() throws InterruptedException {
addElementsToTheList();
System.gc();
Thread.sleep(10000); // to allow GC do its job
}

private void addElementsToTheList(){
ArrayList<Double> list = new ArrayList<Double>(1000000);
for (int i = 0; i < 1000000; i++) {
list.add(random.nextDouble());
}
}

Once the method finishes its job, we'll observe the major GC collection, around 50th second on the image below:

Java static no memory leak

Notice how the GC is now able to reclaim some of the memory utilized by the JVM.

How to prevent it?
Now that you understand the scenario, there are of course ways to prevent it from occurring.

First, we need to pay close attention to our usage of static; declaring any collection or heavy object as static ties its lifecycle to the lifecycle of the JVM itself, and makes the entire object graph impossible to collect.

We also need to be aware of collections in general - that's a common way to unintentionally hold on to references for longer than we need to.

2.2. Calling String.intern() on Long String
The second group of scenarios that frequently causes memory leaks involves String operations - specifically the String.intern() API.

Let's have a look at a quick example:

@Test
public void givenLengthString_whenIntern_thenOutOfMemory()
throws IOException, InterruptedException {
Thread.sleep(15000);

String str
= new Scanner(new File("src/test/resources/large.txt"), "UTF-8")
.useDelimiter("\\A").next();
str.intern();

System.gc();
Thread.sleep(15000);
}

Here, we simply try to load a large text file into running memory and then return a canonical form, using .intern().

The intern API will place the str String in the JVM memory pool - where it can't be collected - and again, this will cause the GC to be unable to free up enough memory:

Java String intern memory leak

We can clearly see that in the first 15th seconds JVM is stable, then we load the file and JVM perform garbage collection (20th second).

Finally, the str.intern() is invoked, which leads to the memory leak - the stable line indicating high heap memory usage, which will never be released.

How to prevent it?
Please remember that interned String objects are stored in PermGen space - if our application is intended to perform a lot of operations on large strings, we might need to increase the size of the permanent generation:

-XX:MaxPermSize=<size>

The second solution is to use Java 8 - where the PermGen space is replaced by the Metaspace - which won't lead to any OutOfMemoryError when using intern on Strings:

Finally, there are also several options of avoiding the .intern() API on Strings as well.

2.3. Unclosed Streams
Forgetting to close a stream is a very common scenario, and certainly, one that most developers can relate to. The problem was partially removed in Java 7 when the ability to automatically close all types of streams was introduced into the try-with-resource clause.

Why partially? Because the try-with-resources syntax is optional:

@Test(expected = OutOfMemoryError.class)
public void givenURL_whenUnclosedStream_thenOutOfMemory()
throws IOException, URISyntaxException {
String str = "";
URLConnection conn
= new URL("http://norvig.com/big.txt").openConnection();
BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(
new InputStreamReader(conn.getInputStream(), StandardCharsets.UTF_8));

while (br.readLine() != null) {
str += br.readLine();
}

//
}

Let's see how the memory of the application looks when loading a large file from an URL:

Java unclosed streams memory leak

As we can see, the heap usage is gradually increasing over time - which is the direct impact of the memory leak caused by not closing the stream.

How to prevent it?
We always need to remember to close streams manually, or to make a use of the auto-close feature introduced in Java 8:

try (BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(
new InputStreamReader(conn.getInputStream(), StandardCharsets.UTF_8))) {
// further implementation
} catch (IOException e) {
e.printStackTrace();
}

In this case, the BufferedReader will be automatically closed at the end of the try statement, without the need to close it in an explicit finally block.

2.4. Unclosed Connections
This scenario is quite similar to the previous one, with the primary difference of dealing with unclosed connections (e.g. to a database, to an FTP server, etc.). Again, improper implementation can do a lot of harm, leading to memory problems.

Let's see a quick example:

@Test(expected = OutOfMemoryError.class)
public void givenConnection_whenUnclosed_thenOutOfMemory()
throws IOException, URISyntaxException {

URL url = new URL("ftp://speedtest.tele2.net");
URLConnection urlc = url.openConnection();
InputStream is = urlc.getInputStream();
String str = "";

//
}

The URLConnection remains open, and the result is, predictably, a memory leak:

Java unclosed connections memory leak

Notice how the Garbage Collector cannot do anything to release unused, but referenced memory. The situation is immediately clear after the 1st minute - the number of GC operations rapidly decreases, causing increased Heap memory use, which leads to the OutOfMemoryError.

How to prevent it?
The answer here is simple - we need to always close connections in a disciplined manner.

2.5. Adding Objects with no hashCode() and equals() into a HashSet
A simple but very common example that can lead to a memory leak is to use a HashSet with objects that are missing their hashCode() or equals() implementations.

Specifically, when we start adding duplicate objects into a Set - this will only ever grow, instead of ignoring duplicates as it should. We also won't be able to remove these objects, once added.

Let's create a simple class without either equals or hashCode:

public class Key {
public String key;

public Key(String key) {
Key.key = key;
}
}

Now, let's see the scenario:

@Test(expected = OutOfMemoryError.class)
public void givenMap_whenNoEqualsNoHashCodeMethods_thenOutOfMemory()
throws IOException, URISyntaxException {
Map<Object, Object> map = System.getProperties();
while (true) {
map.put(new Key("key"), "value");
}
}

This simple implementation will lead to the following scenario at runtime:

Java no hascode equals memory leak

Notice how the garbage collector stopped being able to reclaim memory around 1:40, and notice the memory leak; the number of GC collections dropped almost four times immediately after.

How to prevent it?
In these situations, the solution is simple - it's crucial to provide the hashCode() and equals() implementations.

One tool worth mentioning here is Project Lombok - this provides a lot of default implementation by annotations, e.g. @EqualsAndHashCode.

3. How to Find Leaking Sources in Your Application
Diagnosing memory leaks is a lengthy process that requires a lot of practical experience, debugging skills and detailed knowledge of the application.

Let's see which techniques can help you in addition to standard profiling.

3.1. Verbose Garbage Collection
One of the quickest ways to identify a memory leak is to enable verbose garbage collection.

By adding the -verbose:gc parameter to the JVM configuration of our application, we're enabling a very detailed trace of GC. Summary reports are shown in default error output file, which should help you understand how your memory is being managed.

3.2. Do Profiling
The second technique is the one we've been using throughout this article - and that's profiling. The most popular profiler is Visual VM - which is a good place to start moving past command-line JDK tools and into lightweight profiling.

In this article, we used another profiler - YourKit - which has some additional, more advanced features compared to Visual VM.

3.3. Review Your Code
Finally, this is more of a general good practice than a specific technique to deal with memory leaks.

Simply put - review your code thoroughly, practice regular code reviews and make good use of static analysis tools to help you understand your code and your system.

Conclusion
In this tutorial, we had a practical look at how memory leaks happen on the JVM. Understanding how these scenarios happen is the first step in the process of dealing with them.

Then, having the techniques and tools to really see what's happening at runtime, as the leak occurs, is critical as well. Static analysis and careful code-focused reviews can only do so much, and - at the end of the day - it's the runtime that will show you the more complex leaks that aren't immediately identifiable in the code.

Finally, leaks can be notoriously hard to find and reproduce because many of them only happen under intense load, which generally happens in production. This is where you need to go beyond code-level analysis and work on two main aspects - reproduction and early detection.

The best and most reliable way to reproduce memory leaks is to simulate the usage patterns of a production environment as close as possible, with the help of a good suite of performance tests.

And early detection is where a solid performance management solution and even an early detection solution can make a significant difference, as it's the only way to have the necessary insight into the runtime of your application in production.

The full implementation of this tutorial can be found over on GitHub. This is a Maven based project, so it can simply be imported and run as it is.

The post How Memory Leaks Happen in a Java Application appeared first on Stackify.

Read the original blog entry...

About Stackify Blog
Stackify offers the only developers-friendly solution that fully integrates error and log management with application performance monitoring and management. Allowing you to easily isolate issues, identify what needs to be fixed quicker and focus your efforts – Support less, Code more. Stackify provides software developers, operations and support managers with an innovative cloud based solution that gives them DevOps insight and allows them to monitor, detect and resolve application issues before they affect the business to ensure a better end user experience. Start your free trial now stackify.com

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Testimonials
Great exhibits, great audience, great floor traffic, great conversations with IT leaders and folks in the channel."
TOM LAYDOS
Director, Marketing & Sales Operations at Evolve IP
 
We had a great experience! We look forward to helping the people we met at Cloud Expo build their businesses."
Cari.net TWEET
 
The 2012 Cloud Expo in NY was a great success for the Dell cloud team as we met with many customers, partners, and cloud technologists."
STEPHEN SPECTOR
Senior Product Marketing, Dell Cloud Services
 
Cloud Expo turned out to be an amazing gathering of entrepreneurs."

NISH BURKE
Product Marketing Manager, StorageCraft


Who Should Attend?
Senior Technologists including CIOs, CTOs, VPs of technology, IT directors and managers, network and storage managers, network engineers, enterprise architects, communications and networking specialists, directors of infrastructure Business Executives including CEOs, CMOs, CIOs, presidents, VPs, directors, business development; product and purchasing managers.

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The World's 30 Most influential Cloud Bloggers
Cloud Expo on Ulitzer
1
Dustin Amrhein 11 Kevin Hoffman 21 Greg O'Connor
2
Ezhil Babaraj 12 Alin Irimie 22 Maureen O'Gara
3
Tony Bishop 13 Kevin Jackson 23 Mark O'Neill
4
Reuven Cohen 14 Fuat Kircaali 24 Bill Roth
5
Ernest de Leon 15 David Linthicum 25 Ellen Rubin
6
David Dean 16 Lori MacVittie 26 John Savageau
7
Ray DePena 17 Bill McColl 27 Michael Sheehan
8
Dana Gardner 18 Paul Miller 28 Roman Stanek
9
John Gauntt 19 Louis Naugès 29 John Treadway
10
Jeremy Geelan 20 Greg Ness 30 Alan Williamson

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SYS-CON Media has a flourishing Media Partner program in which mutually beneficial promotion and benefits are arranged between our own leading Enterprise IT portals and events and those of our partners.

If you would like to participate, please provide us with details of your website/s and event/s or your organization and please include basic audience demographics as well as relevant metrics such as ave. page views per month.

To get involved, email Lissette Mercado at lissette@sys-con.com.

@CloudExpo Blogs
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of busin...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, which can process our conversational commands and orchestrate the outcomes we request across our persona...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to show how companies develop, deploy, and dynamically update these applications and how this data-firs...
Our work, both with clients and with tools, has lead us to wonder how it is that organizations are handling compliance issues in the cloud. The big cloud vendors offer compliance for their infrastructure, but the shared responsibility model requires that you take certain steps to meet compliance requirements. Which lead us to start poking around a little more. We wanted to get a picture of what was available, and how it was being used. There is a lot of fluidity in this space, as in all things cloud. The fact that DevOps Security plays into the cloud compliance model – particularly in dynamic ...
The “Internet of Things” is an exciting area of tech, one in which industry experts estimate there will be more than 30 billion connected IoT devices by 2020. IoT is the inter-networking and instrumentation of physical devices – everything from streets, cars, factories, power grids, ice caps, satellites, and clothing to phones, microwaves, milk containers, planets, human bodies, etc. IoT creates an opportunity to measure, collect and analyze an ever-increasing variety of behavioral statistics. That being said, data, and more importantly insight into the data, is key for enhanced business val...
Gaining visibility in today’s sprawling cloud infrastructure is complex and laborious, involving drilling down into tools offered by various cloud services providers. Enterprise IT organizations need smarter and effective tools at their disposal in order to address this pertinent problem. Gaining a 360 - degree view of the cloud costs requires collection and analysis of the cost data across all cloud infrastructures used inside an enterprise.
The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Microservices Reference Architecture that highlights various sub systems needed to support Microservic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone innovative products that help customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infras...
The notion of improving operational efficiency is conspicuously absent from the healthcare debate - neither Obamacare nor the newly proposed GOP plan discusses the impact that a step-function improvement in efficiency could have on access to healthcare (through more capacity), quality of healthcare services (through reduced wait times for patients) or cost (through better utilization of scarce, expensive assets).
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In a recent post, titled “10 Surprising Facts About Cloud Computing and What It Really Is”, Zac Johnson highlighted some interesting facts about cloud computing in the SMB marketplace: Cloud Computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective for an SMB, compared to running its own IT system. 94% of SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud that they didn’t have with their on-premises service
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
The high barrier to entry prevents many companies from tapping into the full potential of machine learning. But what if you could make it more accessible? We’re in the midst of a data explosion, with today’s enterprises amassing goldmines of information (25 quintillion bytes of data every day, according to some reports). But what exactly are they doing with this data? Considering the volume of data being collected is quickly becoming unmanageable, now is a good time to shift from manual machine learning to a cognitive approach. This enables businesses to better capitalize on their data and fa...
Blockchain offers impeccable security with its cryptography-based decentralized system as well as the plethora of possible uses retailers could exploit in the near future. In a world of increasing cyberattacks, internet fraud and online hacking, blockchain comes as a breath of fresh air. With its encrypted data and decentralized network system, it's a thorn in every hacker's side. Generally being associated with the finance sector, blockchain is now taking retail by storm. It's on a course that will change the retail industry as we know it. But how exactly is it going to achieve such a feat?
In an attempt to put the patient first in healthcare, Congress and President Obama in 2015 approved a bipartisan bill for United States healthcare reform. The bill is known as “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015,” or MACRA. Among the major provisions of MACRA is the Quality Payment Program. Under the Quality Payment Program, physicians and nurses receive positive, neutral or negative Medicare payment adjustments based upon a “Patient Satisfaction Score,” that is, patient satisfaction scores have a direct impact on how physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and hospital’s g...
While Artificial Intelligence (AI) may not be a new concept, its contribution to automation may just change the face of business. AI's conception dates as far back as 1950, when Alan Turing proposed the Turing test in order to evaluate a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior. Fast-forward a couple of decades and research led to the creation of well-known theoretical tools such as Fuzzy Logic, Bayesian Networks, Markov Models and Neural Networks. Concurrently, new types of programming languages such as Prolog, LISP and Smalltalk set the scene for most of the modern interpreted langu...
Most of us understand that artificial intelligence (AI) offers opportunities for productivity improvements in the form of speed, automation, standardized actions and responses, plus the opportunity for continuous improvements via machine learning. These opportunities are enabled by data inputs that are analyzed and processed through AI algorithms that execute a desired decision and action. For all of the great capabilities and benefits that AI can provide, there is also a potential dark side. AI solutions can easily codify our prejudices, bias, gender stereotypes and promote injustices intenti...
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday priorities of the business world. However, with the passage of time, this scenario is much more democr...
It’s conference season and, as you might expect, Jason and I have been on the road covering a bunch of them. It’s always great to see what the disruptive players in the market are doing — and this year did not disappoint. But there is one thing that repeatedly happens that just gets under my skin: transformation-washing. As Jason explained in a Forbes article over a year ago, ‘washing’ is when a vendor (or pundit) applies a buzzword loosely in an overt attempt to attach themselves to its buzz. And transformation-washing is rampant.
Networks have become large, complex entities that are increasingly difficult to manage and control. Security, audit, risk and compliance professionals know that their organizations rely on them for effective risk management, control and governance processes that are essential to the safety of their network environment. Yet compliance and security are more challenging than ever before as additional layers are added to this environment. One of the challenges lies in the fact that there is an ongoing, huge access gap in network security and compliance – and it has been residing within the enviro...
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Cloud Expo 2012 Allstar Conference Faculty

S.F.S.
Dell

Singer
NRO

Pereyra
Oracle

Ryan
OpSource

Butte
PwC

Leone
Oracle

Riley
AWS

Varia
AWS

Lye
Oracle

O'Connor
AppZero

Crandell
RightScale

Nucci
Dell Boomi

Hillier
CiRBA

Morrison
Layer 7 Tech

Robbins
NYT

Schwarz
Oracle

What The Enterprise IT World Says About Cloud Expo
 
"We had extremely positive feedback from both customers and prospects that attended the show and saw live demos of NaviSite's enterprise cloud based services."
  –William Toll
Sr. Director, Marketing & Strategic Alliances
Navisite
 


 
"More and better leads than ever expected! I have 4-6 follow ups personally."
  –Richard Wellner
Chief Scientist
Univa UD
 


 
"Good crowd, good questions. The event looked very successful."
  –Simon Crosby
CTO
Citrix Systems
 


 
"It's the largest cloud computing conference I've ever seen."
  –David Linthicum
CTO
Brick Group