Friday, February 20, 2009

Class Data Sharing

Class data sharing (CDS) a feature introduced in J2SE 5.0 reduces the startup time for Java
programming language applications.

When the JRE is installed on 32-bit platforms using the Sun provided installer, the installer loads a set of
classes from the system jar file into a private internal representation, and dumps that representation to a file,
called a "shared archive".Class data sharing is not supported in Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME.

During subsequent JVM invocations, the shared archive is memory-mapped in, saving the cost of loading those
classes and allowing much of the JVM's metadata for these classes to be shared among multiple JVM processes.

The primary motivation for including CDS in the 5.0 release is the decrease in startup time it provides.
CDS produces better results for smaller applications because it eliminates a fixed cost: that of loading
certain core classes. The smaller the application relative to the number of core classes it uses, the
larger the saved fraction of startup time.

The footprint cost of new JVM instances has been reduced in two ways. First, a portion of the shared archive,
currently between five and six megabytes, is mapped read-only and therefore shared among multiple JVM processes.
Previously this data was replicated in each JVM instance. Second, since the shared archive contains class data
in the form in which the Java Hotspot VM uses it, the memory which would otherwise be required to access the
original class information in rt.jar is not needed. These savings allow more applications to be run concurrently
on the same machine.

Regenerating Shared Archive

To regenerate the share archive use the following command:

java -Xshare:dump

Diagnostic information will be printed as the archive is generated.

Manually Controlling Class Data Sharing

The class data sharing feature is automatically enabled when conditions allow it to be used. The following command
line options are present primarily for diagnostic and debugging purposes and may change or be removed in future

Disable class data sharing.

Require class data sharing to be enabled. If it could not be enabled for various reasons, print an error message and exit.

The default; enable class data sharing whenever possible.

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