Memory usage regression

Mike Hommey mh+jemalloc at
Wed Oct 24 12:36:54 PDT 2012


One of the reasons Firefox has not switched to jemalloc 3 yet, despite
the efforts to get it building against it, is that when we tested memory
consumption, we observed a regression in memory usage, compared to the
jemalloc fork we're currently using.

I recently started to check what makes the difference, and I now have a
500MB compressed log of malloc/calloc/realloc/memalign/free calls from a
Firefox session doing a lot of things, with a few checkpoints. I can
replay the log against both our old fork and the new jemalloc, stopping
at any of the checkpoints. This allows to compare a strictly identical
workload. This will also allow to possibly test the workload with older
intermediate versions of jemalloc, as well as different config options,
and possible fixes.

With that replayed workload, I can see two main things:
- The amount of resident memory used by jemalloc 3 is greater than that
  of mozjemalloc after freeing big parts of what was allocated (in
  Firefox, after closing all tabs, waiting for a settle, and forcing GC).
  This is most likely due to different allocation patterns leading to
  some kind of fragmentation after freeing part of the allocated memory.
  See for a graphical representation of
  what happens to the RSS value at the different checkpoints during the
  Firefox workload.
- The amount of mmap()ed memory is dangerously increasing during the
  workload. It almost (but not quite) looks like jemalloc don't reuse
  pages it purged. See ; VmData is
  essentially the sum of all anonymous ranges of memory in the process.
  Such an increase in VmData means we'd eventually exhaust the 32-bits
  address space on 32-bits OSes, even though the resident memory usage
  is pretty low.

The data was gathered with commit 609ae59 ; mozjemalloc is our fork.

Please tell me what kind of data could be useful to you ; for instance,
I can provide a jemalloc stats dump at each step. I'm also going to try
to get more data between the checkpoints, because, for instance, the
peak RSS is around 350MB, which doesn't show up on the graph.


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