By jpurdy on May 31, 2012
On occasion we have seen significant memory overhead when using very small cache entries. Consider the case where there is a small key (say a synthetic key stored in a long) and a small value (perhaps a number or short string). With most backing maps, each cache entry will require an instance of Map.Entry, and in the case of a LocalCache backing map (used for expiry and eviction), there is additional metadata stored (such as last access time). Given the size of this data (usually a few dozen bytes) and the granularity of Java memory allocation (often a minimum of 32 bytes per object, depending on the specific JVM implementation), it is easily possible to end up with the case where the cache entry appears to be a couple dozen bytes but ends up occupying several hundred bytes of actual heap, resulting in anywhere from a 5x to 10x increase in stated memory requirements. In most cases, this increase applies to only a few small NamedCaches, and is inconsequential -- but in some cases it might apply to one or more very large NamedCaches, in which case it may dominate memory sizing calculations.