Book review: Java Performance: The Definitive Guide by Scott Oaks

I have just finished reading this book. It is a must-have book for this website visitors. This book covers all the JVM facets: structure (what to tune), options (how to tune), writing proper code. All the books I have seen before lack at least one of these. Most lack two.

This book starts from an overview of Java Performance toolkit – OS and JRE tools useful for performance engineers. This chapter may be a bit boring, but it contains a very useful list of commands for many-many common situations. Besides, it gives you a taste of Java Flight Recorder and Java Mission Control added in Java 7u40, which have unique capabilities amongst other monitoring tools.

The next chapter covers JIT compilers, their architecture and tuning tips. This chapter will start showing you that you (likely) don’t know a lot of useful JDK parameters.

Chapters 5 and 6 will tell you about 3 most useful garbage collectors bundled in JRE: throughput, CMS and G1. You will know how each of them operates under different conditions, how to monitor them and how to tune them.

At this point you may think that “Java Performance: The Definitive Guide” is similar to “Java Performance” by Charlie Hunt – it just tells you how to tune JVM instead of writing the properly performing code. No! The following chapters will emphasize the best practices of writing the fast code.

Chapter 7 is about the heap analysis and optimization – first of all it will tell you how to make heap dumps and histograms and then describe several generic ways to decrease your application memory footprint (including string interning I have also written about).

Chapter 8 will describe the native memory consumption: heap, thread stacks, code cache and direct memory buffers. You will find out what Java 8 has added for native memory tracking, how to enable and configure large memory pages on Windows / Linux / Solaris, why it is a generally bad idea to allocate heaps with size between 32 and 38Gb (I have scratched the surface here)

Chapter 9 covers threading issues: how to manage a thread pool, what is ForkJoinPool added in Java 7 and how it is used by the new Streams API in Java 8, costs of thread synchronization (including the cost of memory barriers caused by synchronization), false sharing (I have touched it here). Finally it will describe how to tune the JVM threads: set the stack size, configure biased locking, thread spinning and thread priorities.

Chapter 10 is dedicated to Java EE performance (or to be more precise – to the non-DB related part of your web server code). It discusses what and how to store in the session state, how to configure the web server thread pool, session beans pitfalls, possible issues with XML and JSON parsing, object serialization and finally choosing coarse or fine grained interface with client based on the network throughput.

Chapter 11 describes JDBC and JPA. Surprisingly, it does not teach you how to write the proper SQL 🙂 Instead it shows you how choosing the proper JDBC / JPA methods may far outweigh the gains from the SQL queries tuning.

Chapter 12 describes Java SE tuning: buffered I/O, class loading, random number generation, JNI, exceptions, String performance ( 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ), logging, Java Collections API, Java 8 lambdas vs anonymous classes and finally Java 8 stream and filter performance.

Finally, the appendix lists JVM flags useful for performance tuning. Just ten pages of flags 🙂

I would recommend this book as a reference book for any performance related investigations in Java 7 and Java 8.

3 thoughts on “Book review: Java Performance: The Definitive Guide by Scott Oaks

  1. markee

    I would like to see a book which covers Java performance in terms of how to write fast Java code – optimum class/method sizes, impact of different types of object delaraction, how to trace hot methods which are not being inlined by JVM, etc .

    Any recommendations?

    1. admin Post author

      I wish I had any 🙁
      Nevertheless, this book is the best from all books I have read in regards to the code writing.
      It is actually good unless you are looking for really advanced topics.

  2. Pingback: Going over Xmx32G heap boundary means you will have less memory available  - Java Performance Tuning Guide

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