Saturday, December 28, 2013

JRockit: A Case Study of Thread Local Area (TLA) Tuning

Increasing the Thread Local Area (TLA) size is beneficial for multi-threaded applications where each thread allocates a lot of objects. Increasing the TLA size is also beneficial when the average size of the allocated objects is large, as this allows larger objects to be allocated in the TLAs.

In this article, we will present a case of TLA tuning using an application with the following characteristics:
  • A multi-threaded application
  • Allocating a lot of objects
  • Allocating large objects 

TLA Basics

Without much ado, see [1] for the differences between JRockit's large-object implementations between pre- and post-R28.   The version of JRockit used in this article is R28.2.5.  For this version, TLA sizes can be tuned using the following option:
  • -XXtlaSize:min=size,preferred=size,wasteLimit=size

Chaning Default TLA Sizes

For our Linux system, the default TLA settings are:
  • min=2k
  • preferred=16k
  • wasteLimit=2k
To tune for better performance, read [2,4] for advice.  For example, one recommendation offered by Oracle is:
  • Setting  -XXtlaSize:wasteLimit to the same value as -XXtlaSize:min.
After trials and errors, we have found the following TLA settings to be better than the defaults:
  • -XXtlaSize:min=8k,preferred=512k,wasteLimit=8k

Performance Comparison: Default vs. TLA Tuned

Looking at different KPIs, we have found the application's performance improved by 5.9% in Average Response Time (ART) and 3.32% in 90% Response Time.  Better performance is achieved by reducing pause time % in GC and Total CPU % at the expense of total memory footprint (-1.6%).


As the benchmark results show, you can tune your application's performance by tuning TLA sizes. The performance improvement may vary based on your JRockit versions and system capabilities. But, before you do any fine tuning, read [2, 4] first.

Finally, be warned that options that are specified with -XX are not stable and are not recommended for casual use. These options are subject to change without notice.[3]


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