Large Java Heap with the G1 Collector – Part 1

Matt Pouttu-Clarke's Blog

Demonstration of efficient garbage collection on JVM heap sizes in excess of 128 gigabytes.  Garbage collection behavior analyzed via a mini-max optimization strategy.  Study measures maximum throughput versus minimum garbage collection pause to find optimization “sweet spot” across experimental phases.  Replicable results via well-defined open source experimental methods executable on Amazon EC2 hardware. 

Experimental Method


  • Demonstrate maximum feasible JVM size on current cloud hardware (specific to Amazon for now) using the G1 Garbage Collector (link).
  • Vary the JVM heap size (-Xmx) exponentially to find performance profile and breaking points.
  • Vary the ratio of new versus old generation objects exponentially.
  • Using in-memory workload to stress the JVM (avoids network or disk waits).
  • Produce replicable results on commodity hardware, open source operating systems, and open source tools.
  • Provide gap-free data for analysis, in spite of garbage collection pauses.

Not (Yet) in Scope

In followup to this study, subsequent efforts may…

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