[erlang-questions] Huge binary usage

Michael Truog <>
Fri Oct 9 01:51:22 CEST 2009


So you are probably generating binaries faster than the garbage
collector is removing them (especially if you are holding onto their
references).  You can try to find the offending process with the
instrument module (http://erlang.org/doc/man/instrument.html).  If you
want to be a bit harsh on a function to force binary garbage collection,
as quick as possible, you can use code similar to what I have attached
below.

- Michael

%%% -*- coding: utf-8; Mode: erlang; tab-width: 4; c-basic-offset: 4;
indent-tabs-mode: nil -*-
%%% ex: set softtabstop=4 tabstop=4 shiftwidth=4 expandtab
fileencoding=utf-8:
%%%
%%%------------------------------------------------------------------------
%%% @doc
%%% ==Enforce immediate garbage collection on a function==
%%% @end
%%%
%%% BSD LICENSE
%%%
%%% Copyright (c) 2009, Michael Truog <mjtruog at gmail dot com>
%%% All rights reserved.
%%%
%%% Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
%%% modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions
are met:
%%%
%%%     * Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
%%%       notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
%%%     * Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright
%%%       notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in
%%%       the documentation and/or other materials provided with the
%%%       distribution.
%%%     * All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this
%%%       software must display the following acknowledgment:
%%%         This product includes software developed by Michael Truog
%%%     * The name of the author may not be used to endorse or promote
%%%       products derived from this software without specific prior
%%%       written permission
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%%% CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES,
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%%%
%%% @author Michael Truog <mjtruog [at] gmail (dot) com>
%%% @copyright 2009 Michael Truog
%%% @version 0.0.4 {@date} {@time}
%%%------------------------------------------------------------------------

-module(immediate_gc).
-author('mjtruog [at] gmail (dot) com').

%% external interface
-export([sync_fun/2, sync_fun/3,
         async_fun/2, async_fun/3]).

%%%------------------------------------------------------------------------
%%% External interface functions
%%%------------------------------------------------------------------------

%%-------------------------------------------------------------------------
%% @doc
%% ===Make a synchronous call to a function that will be garbage
collected when the function returns.===
%% @end
%%-------------------------------------------------------------------------

-spec sync_fun(M :: atom(), F :: atom(), A :: list()) -> any().

sync_fun(M, F, A) when is_atom(M), is_atom(F), is_list(A) ->
    Parent = self(),
    Child = erlang:spawn_opt(fun() ->
        Parent ! {self(), erlang:apply(M, F, A)},
        erlang:garbage_collect()
    end, [link, {fullsweep_after, 0}]),
    receive
        {Child, Result} -> Result
    end.

%%-------------------------------------------------------------------------
%% @doc
%% ===Make a synchronous call to an anonymous function that will be
garbage collected when the function returns.===
%% @end
%%-------------------------------------------------------------------------

-spec sync_fun(F :: fun(), A :: list()) -> any().

sync_fun(F, A) when is_function(F), is_list(A) ->
    Parent = self(),
    Child = erlang:spawn_opt(fun() ->
        Parent ! {self(), erlang:apply(F, A)},
        erlang:garbage_collect()
    end, [link, {fullsweep_after, 0}]),
    receive
        {Child, Result} -> Result
    end.

%%-------------------------------------------------------------------------
%% @doc
%% ===Make an asynchronous call to a function that will be garbage
collected when the function returns.===
%% @end
%%-------------------------------------------------------------------------

-spec async_fun(M :: atom(), F :: atom(), A :: list()) -> pid().

async_fun(M, F, A) when is_atom(M), is_atom(F), is_list(A) ->
    erlang:spawn_opt(fun() ->
        erlang:apply(M, F, A),
        erlang:garbage_collect()
    end, [link, {fullsweep_after, 0}]).

%%-------------------------------------------------------------------------
%% @doc
%% ===Make an asynchronous call to an anonymous function that will be
garbage collected when the function returns.===
%% @end
%%-------------------------------------------------------------------------

-spec async_fun(F :: fun(), A :: list()) -> pid().

async_fun(F, A) when is_function(F), is_list(A) ->
    erlang:spawn_opt(fun() ->
        erlang:apply(F, A),
        erlang:garbage_collect()
    end, [link, {fullsweep_after, 0}]).



Robert Virding wrote:
> Large binaries aren't kept in the normal process heaps but outside of them.
> This means that they are not collected in the same way as normal data and
> can hang around for a longer time, though they will be collected.
>
> Robert
>
> 2009/10/9 Yogish Baliga <>
>
>   
>> I have a erlang process which is running at 376MB Resident memory.
>> erlang:memory() shows the following output.
>>
>> [{total,265245056},
>>  {processes,56800140},
>>  {processes_used,56777884},
>>  {system,208444916},
>>  {atom,662173},
>>  {atom_used,636586},
>>  {binary,178220728},
>>  {code,4720224},
>>  {ets,21754908}]
>>
>> Seems like most of the memory is used  by "binary".
>>
>> Along with this, I did a sum of total memory used by all the processes
>> running on the system. It comes to around 53MB (which is same as what is
>> reported in processes_used).
>>
>> Question is how can I find what process(es) allocated the binaries and why
>> they are not released?
>>
>> Thanx,
>> -- baliga
>>
>> "Point of view is worth 80 IQ points" --Alan Kay
>>
>> http://dudefrommangalore.blogspot.com/
>>     
>
>   



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