by Alexander Simon
Published June 2012Troubleshooting IDE Performance
The Oracle Solaris Studio IDE can be used to develop large projects. When you are working on large projects in the IDE, at times, you might notice the IDE becoming less responsive, slow at parsing the project, or freezing.
This article shows you some tactics for determining what might be causing the slowdown, and it provides some suggestions for actions you can take to improve the performance of the IDE.
Before you take actions to improve the performance, you should troubleshoot to look at some likely causes of the performance issue. Table 1 shows common problems and provides links to steps you can take to determine the causes and solve the problems.Table 1. Troubleshooting Information
|Possible Issue||How to Check||How to Solve|
|The IDE is slow because of a lack of memory.||Check the IDE's Memory Consumption||How to Increase Memory for the IDE
How to Use 32-Bit Java to Reduce Memory Usage
|Project parsing is slow due to file system issues.||Checking for File System Issues||How to Resolve File System Issues|
|Parsing is slow because the project is too large.||Checking the Project Size||How to Reduce the Project Size|
|On Linux, the IDE freezes because the system has run out of user watches.||Checking the User Watch Limit on Linux||How to Increase the User Watch Limit|
|Performance is very slow when using the IDE remotely.||You are using VNC or X-Window forwarding.||Remote Development Solutions|
|On Oracle Solaris 11, the IDE is slow due to ZFS memory use.||Memory Use by ZFS on Oracle Solaris 11 Desktop Systems||How to Change the ZFS Cache Limit on Oracle Solaris 11 Desktop Systems|
A common cause of slowness in the IDE is that the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) that runs the IDE is using enough memory to come close to its heap utilization limit. This procedure shows how to determine whether the IDE is consuming too much memory.
Figure 1 shows how the memory indicator might look when there is a lack of memory. The first number in the graph is the memory in use at the moment, and the second number is allocated memory. This is a dynamic graph and the value should change over time as memory is used and freed. In this picture, the value stays at about the same level, indicating that all the memory is allocated.
Figure 1. Memory Indicator in the IDE Toolbar
Due to the JVM's continual garbage collection to reclaim unused memory, IDE performance is greatly reduced when all the memory is allocated. Even if your computer has four cores and the IDE parses project files in four threads, a lack of available memory might decrease parsing speed so that it takes three times longer than normal to parse your project.
Use the following procedure to first determine how much memory the IDE has been allocated, and then change the settings to provide more memory .
The log is displayed in the Output window in the IDE and can help you to determine how much heap memory the IDE has been provided.
Heap memory usagein the log.
You should find lines similar to the following:
-Xmx1024m ... Heap memory usage: initial 64.0MB maximum 912.0MB
In this example, the limit of the memory was set to 1024 megabytes with the
-Xmx1024m option, and the IDE reports that the maximum available heap memory is 912 megabytes.
% solstudio -J-Xmx2000m
If there is not enough improvement, try the procedure in the How to Use 32-Bit Java to Reduce Memory Usage section.
If the improvement is satisfactory, you might want to always override the default heap memory limit by changing a setting in the IDE configuration file
solstudio.conf. This file is located in the
studio-install-dir/lib/solstudio/etc directory. If you add the option to this file, all users of this installation of Oracle Solaris Studio IDE are affected.
To change the setting, find the line in
solstudio.conf that begins with
default_options= and change the
-J-Xmx1024m option to
-J-Xmx2000m, as shown in bold below.
# command line switches default_options="--branding solstudio -J-XX:PermSize=64m -J-XX:MaxPermSize=400m -J-Xms64m -J-Xmx2000m -J-Dnetbeans.openfile.197063=true"
If you want to always start the IDE with more memory but you do not want to edit the
solstudio.conf file, you can create an alias in your shell configuration file (for example,
.bashrc). For instance, you might add the following line to your
alias solstudio='solstudio -J-Xmx2000m'
If you use 64-bit Java version 1.6, you can reduce memory consumption of the IDE by using 32-bit Java 1.6 instead. Using 32-bit Java saves memory on each pointer and can cut memory consumption nearly in half without any noticeable performance regression.
If the IDE is using 64-bit Java, the About window includes information similar to the following:
Product Version: Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3 Java: 1.6.0_27; Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM 20.2-b06
% solstudio -J-d32
If you want to use 32-bit Java for each IDE session, edit the
studio-install-dir/lib/solstudio/etc/solstudio.conf file and insert the
-J-d32 option in the
default_options= line. For example, the option is shown below in bold inside the default options settings.
# command line switches default_options="--branding solstudio -J-XX:PermSize=64m -J-XX:MaxPermSize=400m -J-Xms64m -J-Xmx1024m -J-d32 -J-Dnetbeans.openfile.197063=true"
This change affects all users of this installation of Oracle Solaris Studio. If you want to affect only your individual session, use the command line switch or create an alias that starts the IDE with the command line switch.
Conditions in the file system can be another cause of poor IDE performance. If you have increased the heap memory for the JVM, but the IDE is still slow to parse the project, you might have a slow file system or broken symbolic links in the file system.
In a terminal window, go to the project root directory and use the following command to determine how long it takes to list the files:
% time ls -laRL | wc -l real 2m1.262s user 0m1.152s sys 0m15.347s 236341
In this example, more than two minutes of real time elapsed to list over 236,000 files.
If the real time taken to list the files is excessive for the number of files, the IDE will also spend more time than expected to access the project files. The result is slow performance of the IDE.
The problem could be caused by any of the following conditions:
$HOME/.solstudio. If you always work on the same system, a solution is to start the IDE with the
-userdiroption to store the user directory locally to avoid the slow NFS service. The user directory stores your preferences and other information such as the cache, which is accessed frequently. You can increase performance if you keep this directory on a local disk. A sample command for creating the local user directory is
solstudio --userdir /var/tmp/yourname/oss12.3.
When you open a project, a progress bar is displayed at the bottom of the IDE window to show the parsing progress. If you click the progress bar, the IDE shows the number of files in the parsing queue.
Figure 2 shows the progress bar of a project from existing sources after the user clicked the progress bar. You can see a count of parsed files as a portion of the total files.
Figure 2. Progress Bar with Parsing Queue Data
The memory consumption, parsing time, and IDE responsiveness are all affected by project size.
The amount of memory that the IDE requires for a project depends on the number of files and the amount of code in the files. When running 32-bit Java, the IDE would typically need 1,000 to 1,500 megabytes of memory for a project with 10,000 files. The parsing time for a project depends on the amount of code, the number of CPUs, and the CPU frequency. The parsing speed is typically 20,000 to 80,000 lines per second on a computer with four 3-GHz CPUs.
Sometimes, you can reduce project size by removing unneeded components or including only needed compilation units. A project's size depends on how the project was created.
You can create a project from existing sources using two different project creation templates:
If your project has too many files, the best solution is to create a new project from an existing binary. When you create a project in this way, only the files actually used in building the binary are included in the project, so it is a quick way to remove unneeded files from the project. The files are not physically removed, but they are not included in the project.
To create a project from an existing binary in the IDE, select File -> New Project -> C/C++/Fortran -> C/C++/Fortran Project from Existing Binary. In the dialog boxes for creating the project, you can specify whether to include just the source files used to build the binary or to include all files in the source root directory. If you do not really need all the extra files in the source root, you should not include them.
A project created as a "Project with Existing Sources" includes all files from the source root. A source root often contains files that are not C or C++ header files, but the Project with Existing Sources template must reflect the real file system tree of the source root, so these files are included in the project. The extra files can reduce IDE performance as it accesses and parses all the files. You can improve the performance of the IDE if you specify which files are unneeded by specifying them in an exclude pattern.
A project created as a "Project from Binary File" includes only compilation units from which the binary was built. Figure 3 shows a dialog box in the New Project wizard for creating a project for a particular binary built from the ACE+TAO open source code:
Figure 3. Creating a Project from an Existing Binary
Notice the Include into Project field is set to
Source files used in build so that not all files are included; only the necessary files are included.
Figure 4 shows a comparison of the parsing progress bars for Project with Existing Sources and Project from Existing Binary:
Figure 4. Comparison of Parsing Progress Bars
You can see the project created from the binary has fewer files. The project created from existing sources includes the complete ACE+TAO source code, while the project created from existing binary includes the code for one component of ACE+TAO.
You might find that in many cases, creating a project from a binary is sufficient for what you are working on and enables the IDE to perform at a higher rate.
One way to deal with broken links that you cannot fix is to exclude them from the project.
For example, suppose you have a project folder called
my_project with subfolder
src and links to versions of a library
huge_library.so. The link to one version of the library is broken. The project file layout is as follows:
+ - my_project | - src/ | - huge_library.so -> huge_library.so.14 | - huge_library.so.13 -> broken link | - huge_library.so.14 -> /usr/lib/huge_lib.14/huge_lib.so
The source files in the
src folder include the header files for the library. If you are only using the library in your project, not developing the library, you do not need to include the library in the project. The IDE will automatically resolve headers from the library. If you include the library in the project, the IDE has to process any extra files from the library, such as tests and examples. In most cases, this is probably not what you want. You want to work with files in the
src folder and sometimes navigate to header files in the library.
If you create the project using Create Project with Existing Sources and specify the folder
my_project as the source root, you will have a performance problem because of the broken link to
huge_library.so.13 and because
huge_library.so.14 is included in the project twice. If you create the project using Create Project with Existing Sources and specify the folder
src as the source root, you avoid the performance problem caused by the broken link and the
The most efficient option for omitting the libraries from the project is to delete the broken link to
huge_library.so.13 and exclude
huge_library.so.14 when you create the project from existing sources. To exclude the library, select the Custom configuration mode from the Select Mode screen of the New Project wizard, as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5. Specifying the Custom Configuration Mode
After you progress through the wizard to the Source Files screen, you can add
huge_library.so.14 to the Exclude Pattern field, as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6. Exclude Pattern Field
If you prefer not to recreate the project, you can also omit the library after creating the project. To do this, right-click the project in the Projects window, select Properties, click the General node, and then add the library name to the Ignored Folders Pattern field, which is highlighted in Figure 7.
Figure 7. Ignored Folders Pattern Field
The Ignored Folders Pattern format is
^(dirname|dirname|dirname)$. Figure 7 shows
^(nbproject|huge_library.so.14)$, which causes the IDE's project folder and the
huge_library.so.14 folder to be omitted from the project.
On Linux platforms that support
inotify file system monitoring by user applications, sometimes the IDE editor freezes when the IDE window obtains focus. If you have a large project that contains more than 5,000 subfolders, the slowness can be caused by exceeding the limit of
inotify user watches. If this is the problem, the IDE log likely contains warnings similar to the following:
Cannot add filesystem watch for [file path]: error 28
You can see the current setting for the maximum number of watches by using the following command:
% cat /proc/sys/fs/inotify/max_user_watches 8192
To fix the problem, you can temporarily increase the limit for user watches by using the following command:
% sudo sysctl -w fs.inotify.max_user_watches=50000
To make this change permanent, add the following line to the
If you have been using the IDE remotely, running on a server, and displaying to your local system over the network by using X-Window forwarding or VNC, you might wish you could run the IDE locally to avoid delays caused by the network traffic. Beginning with Sun Studio 12 update 1, you could use the IDE locally on Oracle Solaris and Linux machines and set up a remote system as the build host. This avoided the need to go across the network to interact with the IDE, and it enabled you to use the power of a large server to build large projects from your local machine. However, if your local machine was running Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, or even Ubuntu, you could not take advantage of the remote development feature.
Starting with Oracle Solaris Studio 12.3, remote development has a desktop distribution alternative for users on those popular but previously unsupported client operating systems. The desktop distribution feature enables you to create a zip file that contains the software and data you need to run the IDE on other platforms. You can unzip the file on your local Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, or Ubuntu machine and run the IDE there while accessing the compilers and tools on a remote system.
Most of your IDE settings will be exported from your remote IDE to the desktop distribution zip, and all of the open projects in your remote IDE will be available as full remote projects in the installed desktop distribution on your local system.
For more information, click the C/C++ Remote Development link in the IDE's start page to see "Generating a Desktop Distribution" in the IDE help. For more detailed information, including information about the platforms that are supported for desktop distribution, see the article "How to Develop Code from a Remote Desktop with Oracle Solaris Studio."
If you run the IDE on an Oracle Solaris 11 desktop machine and notice slow IDE performance, one issue could be that ZFS is using more memory than necessary. In Oracle Solaris 11, ZFS by default can use all available RAM minus 1 GB on systems with 4 GB or more, or 75% of available RAM on systems with less than 4 GB. Although this is good practice for Oracle Solaris 11 on a server, it can negatively affect GUI applications on an Oracle Solaris 11 desktop if the applications must frequently reclaim memory from the ZFS cache.
If you have system administrator privileges on your desktop machine, you can investigate ZFS memory usage and, if necessary, adjust a parameter to tune the ZFS memory cache, as described in the next section.
Note: For servers that are not used to run desktop applications, the ZFS cache limit should not need to be changed.
If you have system administrator privileges, you can check the memory usage of ZFS by using the
mdb utility. Enter the commands shown in bold in Listing 1:
# mdb -k Loading modules: [ unix genunix specfs dtrace .... ... ufs ipc ] > ::memstat Page Summary Pages MB %Tot ------------ ---------------- ---------------- ---- Kernel 125414 489 24% ZFS File Data 135535 529 26% Anon 189613 740 36% Exec and libs 4629 18 1% Page cache 31336 122 6% Free (cachelist) 14351 56 3% Free (freelist) 21248 83 4% Total 522126 2039 Physical 522125 2039 > (press Ctrl-D to exit)
Listing 1. Checking the Memory Usage of ZFS
You can see in the example in Listing 1 that ZFS File Data is 529 MB, which is 26% of the total memory. The IDE can probably function well in this situation, so if the IDE is running slowly on the system, the problem is not the memory usage by ZFS. The memory usage would need to be closer to the limit of 75% to be a problem.
Another way to check ZFS memory usage is with the
kstat command. Use
kstat commands, as follows, to see the number of bytes of memory in use by ZFS and the maximum bytes for the ZFS cache:
$ kstat -m zfs -s size module: zfs instance: 0 name: arcstats class: misc size 534926600 $ kstat -m zfs -s c_max module: zfs instance: 0 name: arcstats class: misc c_max 1603971072
If ZFS is using a large percentage of the system memory, you can tune the
zfs_arc_max parameter to lower the maximum memory for the ZFS cache, which can make more memory available for user applications such as the IDE.
See the Oracle Solaris Tunable Parameters Reference Guide for information about tuning the Oracle Solaris kernel by setting the
You could, for example, try setting the
zfs_arc_max value to half the current value of
c_max to see if that helps the IDE performance.
If you cannot solve performance issues with the IDE, you can ask for assistance at the Oracle Solaris Studio Tools forum. The forum also provides a link to information about reporting bugs at http://bugreport.sun.com/bugreport/index.jsp.
Oracle Solaris Studio is scheduled to transition to the Oracle bug database in 2012. If you try to submit a bug at the Sun bug report site after the transition and have any difficulty submitting a bug in the new system, you can submit a bug (for the IDE only) using the NetBeans issue tracking system. Select the product
cnd (C native developer) in the bug report and specify in the description note that you are using the Oracle Solaris Studio IDE 12.3.
Before you file a bug at the Sun bug report site or in the NetBeans issue tracking system, do the following to gather information that can help in tracking down the bug:
Alexander Simon has been working in IT for over 25 years. Before joining Sun in 2006, he worked for Togethersoft and Borland, participating in the development of enterprise-level systems and modern IDEs. Alexander is currently a Principal Software Engineer for Oracle in St. Petersburg, Russia developing the Oracle Solaris Studio IDE. His responsibilities include developing IDE modules for the tool collection, project creation, and the editor.
|Revision 1.0, 06/19/2012|