Create a V8 heap snapshot when an "Out of Memory" error occurs, or create a heap snapshot or CPU profile on request.


Keywords
nodejs, memory-leak, out-of-memory, heapdump, memory, OnFatalError, OnOOMError, cpu-profile, cpu-profiling, devtools-protocol, heap-dump, heap-size, memory-snapshot
License
MIT
Install
npm install node-oom-heapdump@2.2.0

Documentation

TravisCI Build Status

node-oom-heapdump

Node module which will create a V8 heap snapshot right before an "Out of Memory" error occurs.

It can also create heapdumps and CPU profiles on request like 'v8-profiler', but does this off-process so it doesn't interfere with execution of the main process.

Tested on Node.js 7.x, 8.x, 9.x, 10.x, 11.x, 12.x, 13.x and 14.x. No support for Node.js < 7.0 at the moment (although this can be fixed if needed).

Also comes with prebuilt binaries (hosted on Github releases), thanks to Stuart Miller (https://github.com/spmiller).

Why?

When running nodejs processes in a low memory environment, every out of memory that occurs is interesting. To figure out why a process went out of memory, a heap snapshot (e.g. heapdump) can help a lot. This module creates a heap snapshot right before an out of memory error occurs (by leveraging 'SetOOMErrorHandler' of the V8 engine). It shows what the heap was filled with right before the out of memory error occured and can be opened with Chrome DevTools (Memory tab).

There are several modules around which can create heapdumps (v8-profiler, node-heapdump), but these run in the same process as the one going out of memory. Often, creating heapdump won't work when the node process is already struggling. This module creates the heap snapshot from a separate process, which solves this issue. Also, these modules are not able to create a heapdump when an out of memory occurs.

What?

Based on the work of 'trevnorris' (https://github.com/trevnorris/node-ofe/), this module uses 'isolate.SetOOMErrorHandler' (https://v8docs.nodesource.com/node-8.9/d5/dda/classv8_1_1_isolate.html#a08fd4087f39c33b4ac1c20ad953ce4e3) of the V8 engine, and then creates a heapdump when an actual Out of Memory occurs. To make this happen, a native C++ add-on is used. Node-gyp is needed to compile this add-on.

When creating a heapdump of CPU profile on request, the DevTools protocol is used to create these files (no native add-on). The --inspect node.js flag is needed to make this work (which is validated on startup).

Example

Just run "npm test" to see it in action. It creates a heapdump named "my_heapdump.heapsnapshot" in the 'tests' directory of this module.

Usage

npm install node-oom-heapdump

Just add the following snippet to your node process.

let path = require('path');
require('node-oom-heapdump')({
    path: path.resolve(__dirname, 'my_heapdump')
});

To make heapdumps and CPU profiles on request, your node process should at least be started with the "--inspect" (or --inspect=port) flag. When the module is loaded, the configured port is verified. If it doesn't respond correctly, a console warning will be shown.

When running in a low memory environment, the following flags are advised:

  • --max_old_space_size=60 - this will limit your heapsize on 60MB
  • --optimize_for_size - keep memory as low as possible (GC more often than usual)
  • --always_compact - keep memory as low as possible (do compactions each GC)

These might impact performance though. On Node.js 12.x the latter two flags seem to cause some stability issues (see https://github.com/nodejs/node/issues/27552#issuecomment-542695931). So, if you encounter issues on Node.js 12.x in combination with those flags, please refrain from using these.

Options

  • heapdumpOnOOM - boolean whether to create a heapdump when an out of memory occurs. Default true.
  • OOMImplementation - Either "NATIVE_HOOK" or "GC_MONITORING". "NATIVE_HOOK" relies on the native v8 hook and makes sure that the heapdump is actually created when the OoM occurs. It's more impacted by the OoMKiller of Unix systems though, when being run in memory restricted environments like Docker. "GC_MONITORING" is the old implementation, which relies on GC monitoring. It's less impacted by OoMKiller, because the 'threshold' parameter determines when to create the heapdump. Use this option when you run into the OoMKiller of the Unix OS. Default is "NATIVE_HOOK".
  • path - the path where the heapdump ends up when an out of memory error occurs. '.heapsnapshot' is automatically appended. Defaults to this modules' directory.
  • addTimestamp - add a timestamp to the out of memory heapdump filename, to make it unique. Default is false.
  • port - optionally, the alternative DevTools protocol port. Defaults to 9229. Should map on the port given to the --inspect arg.

The following options are only relevant when OOMImplementation="GC_MONITORING".

  • limit - optionally, specify a limit to how many heapdumps will be created when being above the threshold. Default is 3.
  • threshold - integer between 0 and 100 (%) which determines when to make the heapdump. When the used heapSize exceeds the threshold, a heapdump is made. This value can be tuned depending on your configuration; if memory usage is very volatile, a lower value might make more sense. Default is 70.

API

Besides creating heapdumps when an out of memory error occurs, there also is an API for creating heapdumps and CPU profiles on request. See below for the currently available API.

Notice that you cannot create a heapdump while a CPU profile is being generated and vice versa; an Error will be thrown if this is the case.

let nodeOomHeapdump = require("node-oom-heapdump")({
  heapdumpOnOOM: false
});

/**
  * Returns the path to the created heap snapshot in a promise, or rejects on error
  * @param {String} snapshotPath - path of the snapshot
  * @return {Promise} Promise containing the heap snapshot path on success or error on rejection
  */
nodeOomHeapdump.createHeapSnapshot("myheapsnapshotpath").then((snapshotPath) => {
  // do something with heap snapshot

  // and delete again from disk
  nodeOomHeapdump.deleteHeapSnapshot(snapshotPath);
}).catch((err) => {
  // handle error
});

/**
  * Deletes all previously created heapsnapshots from disk
  */
nodeOomHeapdump.deleteAllHeapSnapshots();

/**
  * Deletes a particular snapshot from disk
  * @param {String} snapshotPath - path of the heap snapshot to delete
  * @return {Promise}
  */
nodeOomHeapdump.deleteHeapSnapshot(snapshotPath);

/**
  * Returns the path to the created CPU profile in a promise, or rejects on error
  * @param {String} cpuProfilePath - path of the CPU profile
  * @param {number} duration - the duration of the CPU profile in ms (default: 30000ms)
  * @return {Promise} the CPU profile path on success or error on rejection
  */
nodeOomHeapdump.createCpuProfile("mycpuprofilepath", 10000).then((cpuProfilePath) => {
  // do something with CPU profile

  // and delete again from disk
  nodeOomHeapdump.deleteCpuProfile(cpuProfilePath);
}).catch((err) => {
  // handle error
});

/**
  * Deletes all previously created CPU profiles from disk
  */
nodeOomHeapdump.deleteAllCpuProfiles();

/**
  * Deletes a particular CPU profile from disk
  * @param {String} cpuProfilePath - path to the CPU profile to delete from disk
  * @return {Promise}
  */
nodeOomHeapdump.deleteCpuProfile(cpuProfilePath);

Known issues and limitations

Memory usage

When creating a heapdump on request, it's notorious for using a lot of memory. This is caused by a bug in V8/DevTools protocol and is reported here (https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=768355); the protocol has no backpressure mechanism, which causes the heapdump to be pushed faster than the DevTools client can handle, causing in-memory buffering.

This is not a problem if your server/machine has memory to spare, but can cause issues in memory restricted environments like a Docker container. Once the process exceeds the container memory threshold, it will be killed by OoMKiller (if enabled). This leads to an empty heapsnapshot file (0 bytes).

Please vote for that issue to be fixed!