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Use Cases

How to Analyze Java GC Logs

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When using Java, the goal of garbage collection is to remove unwanted objects from your computer’s memory so you can more easily process new actions. One major advantage of Java garbage collection (GC) is the process can occur automatically within Java-based applications, meaning IT admins don’t have to constantly dispose of used-up requests.

Garbage collection fulfills an important role in maintaining your system health by freeing up your memory for more important services. Without a constant GC process, your applications can slow down, back up, or crash. However, if managed improperly, GC can have a negative impact on application functionality. Monitoring your GC logs can be the key to stopping a memory leakage, detecting unwanted promotions, and managing other issues with your GC process.

If you’re dealing with a large number of Java GC log files, you could benefit from an automated GC log management tool allowing you to observe your GC log metrics, analyze data for issues, and fix GC log anomalies before they damage your application functionality.

What Is a GC Log?

A garbage collection log records data and statistics about Java garbage collection. Log files can reveal when GC last ran, how long the process lasted, how many objects were promoted, how much memory was reclaimed, and other useful information. By analyzing your garbage collection logs, you can ensure the Java GC process is effective, diagnose memory problems, and ensure high levels of system maintenance.

Java GC log analysis requires an understanding of how to find anomalies in your GC log and how to fix them. A poorly managed GC process may collect too much garbage, too little garbage, or use an inefficient process to promote GC entries. Because GC is an integral part of storage and memory management, you should analyze your GC logs for errors and inefficiencies so you can more easily troubleshoot issues.

Detecting Issues in Your Java GC Log Data

Monitoring your Java GC logs is not unlike monitoring other application data logs. With thousands (or even millions) of actions stored in your application, manually detecting issues with your Java GC logs can be complex and confusing. Detecting issues in GC logs requires you to monitor incoming and historical GC log data, find errors, and check key metrics for the GC process. Without supplementary tools, you can miss a critical memory leak, an incorrect promotion, or any other logging anomaly increasing application wait times.

Fortunately, best practices can help you monitor potential issues in your GC logs. A high degree of variation in GC log formats means you’ll need to understand the variable syntax of GC log entries in Java. Even if you fully understand the format of your Java GC log entries, you may have a difficult time sifting through thousands of data entries to find an improper promotion or an irregular GC log command. GC management tools designed to simplify your GC log search process can allow you to efficiently sift through mountains of GC log data, even with variable syntax.

GC log management software capable of providing automated alerts can be critical for detecting GC log issues in a timely manner. Basic GC log monitoring software can identify trends and detect GC log anomalies, and more sophisticated GC log management software can alert you in real time when issues are suspected. This allows you to identify GC anomalies before they slow down your application performance.

Troubleshooting Your Java GC Log Data

Garbage collection log management is complex—even if you can detect a logging anomaly, you may have a difficult time tracing and fixing the root cause. A GC log monitoring tool with troubleshooting capabilities is a highly valuable addition to your IT infrastructure.

GC log analysis software offers automated GC log data analysis and the ability to pinpoint discrepancies possibly affecting your application performance. GC log management tools can also include graphical depictions of GC log data, potentially pointing to the root cause of irregular data entries. Following an anomaly to its source requires a detailed understanding of how the anomaly is affected by your garbage disposal process. For tracing log entries, Java GC log management software can implement trace IDs to lead you to the source of malfunctions.

Performing a statistical analysis of GC log metrics is another major component of troubleshooting. Analytics allow you to deploy real-time graphical analysis software to visualize your GC log data, simplifying data metrics. Visual metrics analysis can help direct you to the source of your anomaly. Once you’ve determined the source of your performance anomalies, offering a durable solution for your GC logging issues should be simple. To minimize human error, make sure to use a Java GC log manager offering troubleshooting and detection capabilities.

Analyzing Java GC Logs with SolarWinds Loggly

An effective Java GC log analyzer can make the difference between slow application performance and smooth sailing. When you deploy a comprehensive Java GC logging tool like SolarWinds® Loggly®, you can improve issue detection and troubleshooting.

For anomaly detection in Java GC logs, Loggly uses Lucene query syntax, allowing you to easily search for items within your GC data logs. If you suspect an unusual entry but don’t have enough information to effectively use the search bar, the Dynamic Field Explorer™ allows you to browse among your GC logs for historical anomaly identification. Loggly also comes equipped with real-time anomaly alerts you can configure based on custom criteria.

Loggly helps with not only issue detection but troubleshooting, too. Automating the analysis of GC log trends helps you analyze GC log metrics in real time, which can save you valuable time and effort in improving application function. Loggly can also be integrated with SolarWinds AppOptics™ to troubleshoot with trace IDs.

Understanding your Java garbage collection process is important for solving many performance issues, especially application memory problems. With the right log viewer tool, you can perform an in-depth Java GC log analysis to maximize productivity and minimize guesswork, helping you optimize your Java garbage collection process.


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