7 JVM arguments of Highly Effective Applications

At the time (March 2020) of writing this article there are 600+ arguments that you can pass to JVM just around Garbage collection and memory. If you include other aspects, total JVM arguments count will easily cross 1000+. . It’s way too many arguments for anyone to digest and comprehend. In this article, we are highlighting seven important JVM arguments that you may find it useful.

1. -Xmx and -XX:MaxMetaspaceSize

-Xmx is probably the most important JVM argument. -Xmx defines the maximum amount of heap size you are allocating to your application. (To learn about different memory regions in a JVM, you may watch this short video clip). You can define your application’s heap size like this:

-Xmx2g

Heap size plays a critical role in determining your

a. Application performance

b. Bill, that you are going to get from your cloud provider (AWS, Azure,…)

This brings question, what is the right heap size for my application? Should I allocate a large heap size or small heap size for my application? Answer is: ‘It depends’. In this article, we have shared our thoughts whether you need to go with large or small heap size.

You might also consider reading this article: advantages of setting -Xms and -Xmx to same value.

Metaspace is the region where JVM’s metadata definitions, such as class definitions, method definitions, will be stored. By default, the amount of memory that can be used to store this metadata information is unlimited (i.e. limited by your container or machine’s RAM size). You need to use -XX:MaxMetaspaceSize argument to specify an upper limit on the amount of memory that can be used to store metadata information.

-XX:MaxMetaspaceSize=256m

2. GC Algorithm

As on date (March 2020), there are 7 different GC algorithms in OpenJDK:

a. Serial GC

b. Parallel GC

c. Concurrent Mark & Sweep GC

d. G1 GC

e. Shenandoah GC

f. Z GC

g. Epsilon GC

If you don’t specify the GC algorithm explicitly, then JVM will choose the default algorithm. Until Java 8, Parallel GC is the default GC algorithm. Since Java 9, G1 GC is the default GC algorithm.

Selection of the GC algorithm plays a crucial role in determining the application’s performance. Based on our research, we are observing excellent performance results with Z GC algorithm. If you are running with JVM 11+, then you may consider using Z GC algorithm (i.e. -XX:+UseZGC). More details about Z GC algorithm can be found here.

Read our blog https://blog.gceasy.io/2020/03/18/7-jvm-arguments-of-highly-effective-applications/