Memory Analysis – How to obtain Java Heap Dump?

Java Heap Dump

In this article, we will see how to obtain the Java Heap Dump to troubleshoot the memory issues like memory leak and high usage of memory. There are different options available to obtain the Heap Dump. The options will vary based on JVM vendors. In this article, I used Oracle JDK8.

Automatically generate the Heap Dump when the application throws “OutOfMemoryError”

In this approach, we have to pass the below JVM arguments to get the Heap Dump when the application throws “OutOfMemoryError“. The JVM generates the Heap Dump file in the specified file path.

-XX:+HeapDumpOnOutOfMemoryError -XX:HeapDumpPath=

If you have not specified the HeapDumpPath, then the JVM generates the file where the JAVA process is running. The name of the dump file will be like java_pid.hprof.

Some times we might require Heap Dump on demand basis. For example, during the peak load application may become slower and the memory consumption might be more. To troubleshoot memory consumption, we require a Heap Dump.

Manually Generating a Heap Dump

From JDK6, we are having jmap tool to generate the Heap Dump on demand basis. jmap will dump the Java heap in binary HPROF format to a specified file. The instruction is given below.

jmap -dump:format=b,file=
For example, jmap -dump:format=b,file=heap_dump.hprof 4988

In the above example, the 4988 is the java process id to get the heap dump. We can obtain the process id by using jps(Java Virtual Machine Process Status Tool)

There is another GUI utility called jconsole. jconsole can connect to the local java process or remote java process. By using MBeans we can get the heap dump.

We can use jvisualvm GUI tool to connect to local or remote JAVA processes. Through jvisualvm also we can generate the heap dump.

All the above said tools are part of JDK. Set the JAVA_HOME and PATH environment variables to access the tools.

In the next article, we will see the tools to analyze the heap dumps to detect memory issues. Till then, stay tune!!! 



Siva Janapati is an Architect with experience in building Cloud Native Microservices architectures, Reactive Systems, Large scale distributed systems, and Serverless Systems. Siva has hands-on in architecture, design, and implementation of scalable systems using Cloud, Java, Go lang, Apache Kafka, Apache Solr, Spring, Spring Boot, Lightbend reactive tech stack, APIGEE edge & on-premise and other open-source, proprietary technologies. Expertise working with and building RESTful, GraphQL APIs. He has successfully delivered multiple applications in retail, telco, and financial services domains. He manages the GitHub( where he put the source code of his work related to his blog posts.

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Posted in Java, Performance
One comment on “Memory Analysis – How to obtain Java Heap Dump?
  1. Prasad says:

    Good content

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