Saturday, April 25, 2015

My way of solving tomcat memory leaking issue

Recently, I did a mistake by accidentally commit a stupid static codes into a static method into production causing heap usage grow tremendously. Since the static method stay persisted with the object, tomcat has to restart often to free up the heap that get hold. So today, I will share my experience on how I solve it and I hope it will give you a way on how to solve this difficult problem.
First is the to end, I will summarize the sequence you need to investigate and find out the fix.

* learn on how to find the memory leak using google.
* one step at a time to trace until you successfully pin down the problem and fix it.

As you can read, only three general steps but for each step, I will talk more about it.

Always check your code by reading and tests! Best if you have someone experience and you can probably send your code for inspection. Remember, 4 eyes ball and 2 brains are better than 2 eyes ball and a brain. If you are using opensource project, most probably, the library are well tested and you should just spend time to investigate your codes. It's difficult especially for new programmer, but that should not stopped you to find out the problem. If you still cannot find out the problem, then you should start to search on search engine on how people solve it.
learn on how to find the memory leak using google.
Nobody is perfect and know everything, but if you are unsure, always google away. Google keyword such as java memory leak, tomcat memory leak or even best java coding practice. Pay attention on the first 10 links return by google and then read on blogging or even stackoverflow, it will give you knowledge that you never know of. Example of tools needed include jstat, jmap, jhat, and visualvm that can give you an idea what or even where might be the problem from. Remember, reading this material is a way of growing and it take times, so please be patience at this step and make sure u spend adequate amount of time and jot down important points mentioned and so you can use it on final step.

one step at a time to trace until you successfully pin down the problem and fix it.
Final step would probably repeating step 1 and step 2 slowly to determine the root cause. If you are using versoning system, you should really find out when was the last best working codes and start to check file by file where the problem was introduced. This is a TEDIOUS and DAUNTING process but this is effective to solving the root cause.
These steps were used by myself during determine the tomcat web application memory problem. Thank you and I hope you can benefit too.

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