Clojure

PermGen leak in multimethods and protocol fns when evaled

Details

  • Type: Defect Defect
  • Status: Open Open
  • Priority: Critical Critical
  • Resolution: Unresolved
  • Affects Version/s: Release 1.4
  • Fix Version/s: Release 1.7
  • Component/s: None
  • Labels:
  • Approval:
    Vetted

Description

There is a PermGen memory leak that we have tracked down to protocol methods and multimethods called inside an eval, because of the caches these methods use. The problem only arises when the value being cached is an instance of a class (such as a function or reify) that was defined inside the eval. Thus extending IFn or dispatching a multimethod on an IFn are likely triggers.

My fellow LonoClouder, Jeff Dik describes how to reproduce and work around the problem:

The easiest way that I have found to test this is to set "-XX:MaxPermSize" to a reasonable value so you don't have to wait too long for the PermGen space to fill up, and to use "-XX:+TraceClassLoading" and "-XX:+TraceClassUnloading" to see the classes being loaded and unloaded.

leiningen project.clj
(defproject permgen-scratch "0.1.0-SNAPSHOT"
  :dependencies [[org.clojure/clojure "1.5.0-RC1"]]
  :jvm-opts ["-XX:MaxPermSize=32M"
             "-XX:+TraceClassLoading"
             "-XX:+TraceClassUnloading"])

You can use lein swank 45678 and connect with slime in emacs via M-x slime-connect.

To monitor the PermGen usage, you can find the Java process to watch with "jps -lmvV" and then run "jstat -gcold <PROCESS_ID> 1s". According to the jstat docs, the first column (PC) is the "Current permanent space capacity (KB)" and the second column (PU) is the "Permanent space utilization (KB)". VisualVM is also a nice tool for monitoring this.

Multimethod leak

Evaluating the following code will run a loop that eval's (take* (fn foo [])).

multimethod leak
(defmulti take* (fn [a] (type a)))

(defmethod take* clojure.lang.Fn
  [a]
  '())

(def stop (atom false))
(def sleep-duration (atom 1000))

(defn run-loop []
  (when-not @stop
    (eval '(take* (fn foo [])))
    (Thread/sleep @sleep-duration)
    (recur)))

(future (run-loop))

(reset! sleep-duration 0)

In the lein swank session, you will see many lines like below listing the classes being created and loaded.

[Loaded user$eval15802$foo__15803 from __JVM_DefineClass__]
[Loaded user$eval15802 from __JVM_DefineClass__]

These lines will stop once the PermGen space fills up.

In the jstat monitoring, you'll see the amount of used PermGen space (PU) increase to the max and stay there.

-    PC       PU        OC          OU       YGC    FGC    FGCT     GCT
 31616.0  31552.7    365952.0         0.0      4     0    0.000    0.129
 32000.0  31914.0    365952.0         0.0      4     0    0.000    0.129
 32768.0  32635.5    365952.0         0.0      4     0    0.000    0.129
 32768.0  32767.6    365952.0      1872.0      5     1    0.000    0.177
 32768.0  32108.2    291008.0     23681.8      6     2    0.827    1.006
 32768.0  32470.4    291008.0     23681.8      6     2    0.827    1.006
 32768.0  32767.2    698880.0     24013.8      8     4    1.073    1.258
 32768.0  32767.2    698880.0     24013.8      8     4    1.073    1.258
 32768.0  32767.2    698880.0     24013.8      8     4    1.073    1.258

A workaround is to run prefer-method before the PermGen space is all used up, e.g.

(prefer-method take* clojure.lang.Fn java.lang.Object)

Then, when the used PermGen space is close to the max, in the lein swank session, you will see the classes created by the eval'ing being unloaded.

[Unloading class user$eval5950$foo__5951]
[Unloading class user$eval3814]
[Unloading class user$eval2902$foo__2903]
[Unloading class user$eval13414]

In the jstat monitoring, there will be a long pause when used PermGen space stays close to the max, and then it will drop down, and start increasing again when more eval'ing occurs.

-    PC       PU        OC          OU       YGC    FGC    FGCT     GCT
 32768.0  32767.9    159680.0     24573.4      6     2    0.167    0.391
 32768.0  32767.9    159680.0     24573.4      6     2    0.167    0.391
 32768.0  17891.3    283776.0     17243.9      6     2   50.589   50.813
 32768.0  18254.2    283776.0     17243.9      6     2   50.589   50.813

The defmulti defines a cache that uses the dispatch values as keys. Each eval call in the loop defines a new foo class which is then added to the cache when take* is called, preventing the class from ever being GCed.

The prefer-method workaround works because it calls clojure.lang.MultiFn.preferMethod, which calls the private MultiFn.resetCache method, which completely empties the cache.

Protocol leak

The leak with protocol methods similarly involves a cache. You see essentially the same behavior as the multimethod leak if you run the following code using protocols.

protocol leak
(defprotocol ITake (take* [a]))

(extend-type clojure.lang.Fn
  ITake
  (take* [this] '()))

(def stop (atom false))
(def sleep-duration (atom 1000))

(defn run-loop []
  (when-not @stop
    (eval '(take* (fn foo [])))
    (Thread/sleep @sleep-duration)
    (recur)))

(future (run-loop))

(reset! sleep-duration 0)

Again, the cache is in the take* method itself, using each new foo class as a key.

A workaround is to run -reset-methods on the protocol before the PermGen space is all used up, e.g.

(-reset-methods ITake)

This works because -reset-methods replaces the cache with an empty MethodImplCache.

Activity

Hide
Chouser added a comment -

I think the most obvious solution would be to constrain the size of the cache. Adding an item to the cache is already not the fastest path, so a bit more work could be done to prevent the cache from growing indefinitely large.

That does raise the question of what criteria to use. Keep the first n entries? Keep the n most recently used (which would require bookkeeping in the fast cache-hit path)? Keep the n most recently added?

Show
Chouser added a comment - I think the most obvious solution would be to constrain the size of the cache. Adding an item to the cache is already not the fastest path, so a bit more work could be done to prevent the cache from growing indefinitely large. That does raise the question of what criteria to use. Keep the first n entries? Keep the n most recently used (which would require bookkeeping in the fast cache-hit path)? Keep the n most recently added?
Hide
Jamie Stephens added a comment -

At a minimum, perhaps a switch to disable the caches – with obvious performance impact caveats.

Seems like expensive LRU logic is probably the way to go, but maybe don't have it kick in fully until some threshold is crossed.

Show
Jamie Stephens added a comment - At a minimum, perhaps a switch to disable the caches – with obvious performance impact caveats. Seems like expensive LRU logic is probably the way to go, but maybe don't have it kick in fully until some threshold is crossed.
Hide
Alex Miller added a comment -

A report seeing this in production from mailing list:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/clojure/_n3HipchjCc

Show
Alex Miller added a comment - A report seeing this in production from mailing list: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/clojure/_n3HipchjCc
Hide
Adrian Medina added a comment -

So this is why we've been running into PermGen space exceptions! This is a fairly critical bug for us - I'm making extensive use of multimethods in our codebase and this exception will creep in at runtime randomly.

Show
Adrian Medina added a comment - So this is why we've been running into PermGen space exceptions! This is a fairly critical bug for us - I'm making extensive use of multimethods in our codebase and this exception will creep in at runtime randomly.
Hide
Kevin Downey added a comment -

it might be better to split this in to two issues, because at a very abstract level the two issues are the "same", but concretely they are distinct (protocols don't really share code paths with multimethods), keeping them together in one issue seems like a recipe for a large hard to read patch

Show
Kevin Downey added a comment - it might be better to split this in to two issues, because at a very abstract level the two issues are the "same", but concretely they are distinct (protocols don't really share code paths with multimethods), keeping them together in one issue seems like a recipe for a large hard to read patch

People

  • Assignee:
    Unassigned
    Reporter:
    Chouser
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Dates

  • Created:
    Updated: