This tutorial will introduce you to a new concept which is nothing but Memory Leak Management.
Our system programs tend to get some memory issues while running on machines, which in turn may cause ruining memory allocations.
Memory leak degrades the system performance by reducing the amount of memory available for each program in your system. These memory issues are generally determined and resolved by the programmers who access the source code of the software system.
Today’s modern operating systems are adaptable to memory issues. They instantly reduce memory consumption and release the memory occupied by the applications once it is closed.
In this tutorial, we will review what memory leak is exactly concerned with and how to deal with its tools.
What You Will Learn:
- Memory Leak Detection Tools
- Top Memory Leak Detection and Management Tools
- #1) GCeasy
- #2) Eclipse MAT
- #3) Memcheck by Valgrind
- #4) PVS-Studio
- #5) GlowCode
- #6) AQTime by Smartbear
- #7) WinDbg
- #8) BoundsChecker
- #9) Deleaker
- #10) Dr. Memory
- #11) Intel Inspector XE
- #12) Insure++
- #13) Visual Leak Detector for Visual C++ 2008-2015
- #14) Visual Studio Profiler
- #15) Mtuner
- #16) Windows Leak Detector
- #17) AddressSanitizer (A San)
- #18) GCViewer
- #19) Plumbr
- #20) .NET Memory Validator
- #21) C++ Memory Validator
- #22) Dynatrace
- Additional Memory Leak Tools
Memory Leak Detection Tools
What is Memory Leak?
#1) When a computer program unnecessarily uses memory and allocates it improperly, then ultimately it causes a memory leak in the system.
#2) Sometimes the system does not release unwanted memory allocation as it did not release the memory even after closing the application or program.
#3) When a program consumes more than the actual memory required, as a result, memory issues and slowing down of the system performance will occur.
#4) In terms of object-oriented programming, if an object is stored in the memory but not accessible by the program code (Defined an object and allocated the memory but still we get an error stating that the object is not defined).
#5) There are some programming languages such as C and C++ which do not support automatic garbage collection implicitly and can create such memory leak issues while working on it (Java uses Garbage Collection process to deal with the memory leak).
#6) Memory leak reduces the system performance by decreasing the amount of available memory, increasing the amount of thrashing and eventually causing system failure or slow down.
#7) Memory Leak Management is the mechanism which runs in the operating system to allocate the memory dynamically and releases when not in use.
Types of Memory Leaks
Memory leaks can be categorized into several types, and few of them are explained below.
- Leaked Data Member: The allocated memory for the class member is being deallocated before the class is destroyed.
- Leaked Global Memory: Leaks the memory which is not a part of the class created but can be used by various functions and methods.
- Leaked Static Memory: Leaks the memory which is dedicated to a function defined by the class created.
- Virtual Memory Leak: When a base class is not declared Virtual then the destructors for the derived object cannot be called.
- Calling the wrong deallocator.
Memory Leak Management
#1) Memory leak persists when there is no reference to memory allocation.
#2) Such memory leaks cause a program to run more than the expected time and consume excess memory by running continuously at the background or on a server.
#3) Portable devices are more affected by memory leaks as they contain less memory and reduce the processing capacity of a device.
#4) We can take the Example of .NET Memory Leak Management System like,
- CLR (Common Language Runtime) takes care of resource allocation in .NET and releases them.
- .NET supports 3 types of memory allocation such as:
- Stack: Stores local variables and method parameters. The reference to each and every object created are being stored on Stack.
- Unmanaged Heap: Unmanaged code will allocate the object to an Unmanaged stack.
- Managed Heap: Managed code will allocate the object on a managed stack.
#5) The Garbage collector checks for objects which are not in use, and once found they are removed by the Garbage Collector.
#6) Garbage Collector manages the tree or graph-like structure to check the application roots to each directly and indirectly accessible objects and if any objects which are not present are found then it simply puts it in the garbage collection.
We will now review some of the popular Memory Leak Management tools that are widely used to manage memory leaks.
Top Memory Leak Detection and Management Tools
Given below is a list of the most commonly used Memory Leak Detection and Management tools.
- This free tool resolves memory issues quickly and is known as a great memory analyzer.
- It is the very first machine guided Garbage Collection Log Analysis Tool.
- Supports all Android GC logs too, uses Machine Learning Algorithms to detect memory issues that occur, and also notifies you about future issues.
- Automatic problem detection, instant online GC analysis, and unified GC logging analysis are some of the important features of this tool.
Click here to navigate to the GCeasy Official site.
#2) Eclipse MAT
- Eclipse MAT is known as a fast and featured Java Heap Analyzer.
- This tool helps to reduce memory consumption and detect memory leaks.
- Generates automatic reports generating information about the error that prevents the garbage collector from collecting objects.
- The main focus of this tool remains on high memory consumption and Out Of Memory Errors.
- This project incorporates Eclipse Photon, Eclipse Oxygen, Neon, Kepler, etc.
Click here to navigate to the Eclipse MAT Official site.
#3) Memcheck by Valgrind
- Memcheck can detect the following memory issues based on malloc, new, free, and deleted memory calls:
- Uninitialized memory
- Lost pointers
- Using freed memory
- Accessing inappropriate areas in the stack
- It checks and directs parameters automatically wherever they are defined.
- Memcheck by Valgrind is commercial software to detect memory errors.
- It is useful to detect memory errors that occur in C and C++.
- Memcheck also checks whether the buffer defined by the program is addressable or not.
- Memcheck keeps track of heap blocks to recognize the unfree block once the program is exited.
Click here to navigate to the Memcheck Official site.
- PVS-Studio is a proprietary tool that detects errors in C, C++, C#, and Java code.
- Detects a wide range of errors related to memory leaks and other resources.
- A SAST solution that finds potential vulnerabilities and supports safety and security standards: OWASP TOP 10, MISRA C, C++, AUTOSAR, CWE.
- Integrates into popular IDEs, CI/CD, and other platforms.
- Provides detailed reports and reminders to developers and managers (Blame Notifier).
Click here to navigate to the PVS-Studio Official site.
- GlowCode is a dedicated commercial real-time performance and memory analyzer for Windows and .NET Framework.
- GlowCode identifies memory leaks in the running applications written in C++, C# or NET compliant language.
- It also checks performance flow, code coverage, and excessive memory consumption.
- Supports Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 and provides early detection of performance and memory issues in the running system.
- Supports native, managed, and mixed code.
Click here to navigate to the GlowCode Official site.
#6) AQTime by Smartbear
- AQTime is a proprietary tool by Smartbear that supports Delphi, C#, C++, .NET, Java, etc.
- Detects memory leaks, performance bottlenecks, and code coverage gaps in the application system.
- Efficiently analyzes information about complex memory and performance to identify the bug with the root cause.
- The fastest approach is to detect memory leaks, code coverage gaps, and performance bottlenecks.
- Top-to-bottom Delphi analysis of the application to identify memory and resource leaks.
Click here to navigate to the AQTime Official site.
- Windbg for Windows is used to identify kernel memory dumps and examine the CPU register.
- It comes in a different build for Windows devices, Web and Desktop applications.
- The feature of identifying user-mode crash dumps is known as ‘Post –Mortem Debugging’.
- You can deploy DLL extensions to debug the Command Language Runtime (CLR).
- Windbg comes with a preloaded Ext.dll that is used as a Standard Windows Debugger extension.
Click here to navigate to the Windbg Official site.
- This is the proprietary tool for memory and API validation tool for C++ software.
- There are two ActiveCheck and FinalCheck, ActiveCheck is performed against the application and FinalCheck is used to check the instrumental form of the system.
- ActiveCheck can detect memory leaks by monitoring API and COM calls.
- FinalCheck comes with the features of ActiveCheck along with the ability to detect buffer overflow and undefined memory.
- Memory Overrun Detection is the best feature for which BoundsChecker is known.
Click here to navigate to the BoundsChecker Official site.
- Deleaker is a standalone proprietary memory leak detection tool and is also used as the Visual C++ extension.
- Detects memory leaks in heaps and virtual memory as well and easily integrates with any IDE.
- The standalone version debugs applications to show the current allocation of objects.
- Supports all 32 – bit as well as 64 – bit systems and is fully integrated with Visual Studio.
- Generates rich reports and exports the final outcome to XML.
Click here to navigate to the Deleaker Official site.
#10) Dr. Memory
- Dr. Memory is a free memory monitoring tool for Windows, Linux, and Mac.
- This tool is capable of identifying uninitialized and unaddressable memory and freed memory.
- Dr. Memory defines 3 types of errors:
- Still – reachable location: Memory reachable by the application.
- Leak: Memory is not reachable by the application.
- Possible Leak: Memory which is reachable via pointers.
- Further, it defines two types of leaks such as Direct and Indirect leak.
Click here to navigate to the Deleaker Official site.
#11) Intel Inspector XE
- This proprietary tool helps for early detection of memory leaks and helps to reduce expenses for fixing memory leaks.
- Known as an error debugger for C, C++ applications running on Windows and Linux without using any special compiler.
- It is also available as a part of Intel Parallel Studio XE and Intel System Studio.
- Intel Inspector XE performs Static and Dynamic Analysis to identify the root cause of memory leaks.
- Dynamic analysis detects complex root causes for memory leaks that are not detected by Static analysis.
- It detects Corrupted memory, illegal memory access, uninitialized memory, and inconsistent memory, etc.
Click here to navigate to the Intel Inspector XE Official site.
- Parasoft Insure++ is the proprietary commercial memory debugger for C/C++.
- Automatically detects inaccurate, array-bound violations and unallocated memory.
- Able to perform stack traces when an actual leak occurs.
- For the set of tested code, Insure++ produces Linear Code Sequence and Jump Code Sequence.
Click here to navigate to the Insure++ Official site.
#13) Visual Leak Detector for Visual C++ 2008-2015
- Visual Leak Detector is a free, open-source memory leak detection tool for C/C++.
- Rapidly diagnoses memory leaks in the C++ application and selects the module that needs to be excluded from the memory leak.
- Visual C++ provides built-in memory leak detection avails a complete set of leaked blocks.
- Customizable and detailed memory leak reports are the best feature of this tool.
- Enables fully documented source code to the library.
Click here to navigate to the Visual Leak Detector Official site.
#14) Visual Studio Profiler
- Visual Studio comes with a Memory Usage Tool which helps detect memory leaks and inefficient memory.
- This tool is used for desktop apps, ASP.NET apps, and Windows apps.
- You can take snapshots of managed and native memory and can analyze single snapshots to understand the impact of an object on memory.
- You can use more than one snapshot to find the root cause of excess memory use.
- Enables fully documented source code to the library.
Click here to navigate to the Visual Studio Profiler Official site.
- Mtuner is a memory leak finder used for Windows applications and PlayStation.
- Provides additional functionalities for memory profiling.
- Mtuner can handle a number of allocations per second with linear performance scaling.
- Mtuner comes with command line-based profiling that helps track daily changes in memory usage.
Click here to navigate to the Mtuner Official site.
#16) Windows Leak Detector
- Windows Leak Detector is a memory leak detection tool for Windows applications.
- Some of the main Windows Leak Detectors are:
- No source code is required and if it is there then it requires fewer modifications.
- You can analyze any Windows application written in any language.
- Effective and best suited for applications developed in a Cyclic pattern.
- This tool is consistently undergoing development and still has some limitations:
- You can manage only one single process at a time, the Inter-process Communication feature will be added in the future.
- It analyzes only HeapAlloc, HeapRealloc, and HealFree functions.
System developers of the system are working on adding more memory functions like HeapCreate.
Click here to navigate to the Windows Leak Detector Official site.
#17) AddressSanitizer (A San)
- This open-source tool is designed to detect memory leaks in the C/C++ programs.
- The fastest tool consists of Compiler Instrumentation Module and Run-time library.
- This tool finds Heap and Stack buffer overflow and memory leaks.
- LeakSanitizer is integrated with AddressSanitizer which does the job of memory leak detection.
- With LeakSanitizer, we can specify the instructions to ignore some memory leaks by sending them in a separate Suppression file.
- This tool is supported on Linux, Mac, OS X, Android, and iOS Simulator.
Click here to navigate to the AddressSanitizer Official site.
- GCViewer is a free tool generated by IBM, HP, Sun Oracle, and BEA JVMs.
- This tool is used for parsing and analyzing GC Log files.
- You can generate the data in CSV format as a spreadsheet application.
- It works on Verbose Garbage Collection. In short, the Verbose Garbage Collection is:
- An event-based generating garbage collection for each operation.
- The output Verbose Garbage Collection contains increment ID and local timestamp.
Click here to navigate to the GCViewer Official site.
- It is a proprietary commercial tool that is used to check memory leaks and garbage collection in JVM applications.
- Plumbr is based on two important modules such as an Agent and a Portal.
- The agent supports JVM and sends garbage collection and memory leak information to the Portal.
- You can see the information about memory usage and heaps on the Portal.
- The tool uses a detection algorithm that is based on the analysis of performance data.
Click here to navigate to the Plumbr Official site.
#20) .NET Memory Validator
- .NET Memory Validator is a commercial memory leak analyzer, a memory profiler that is used for software development and quality assurance.
- Known as the fastest way to monitor multiple memory allocations, providing multiple insights such as:
- Allocations: Displays color-coded allocation statistics based on class and method defined for allocating function.
- Objects: Object view displays color-coded objects and memory allocation statistics for running applications.
- Generations: Displays the number of objects per object type for every object generation allocated by the application.
- Memory: Memory view displays the current object with information about the object type, allocation size, call stack, and timestamp.
- Analysis: This view displays the memory usage.
- The major functions of this tool include memory leak detection, handling memory leaks, Running regression tests to identify memory leaks.
- .NET Memory validator is compatible with any version of the .NET framework and CLR.
- Easy to use, a configurable, powerful and multi-purpose tool for identifying memory leaks.
Click here to navigate to the .NET Memory validator Official site.
#21) C++ Memory Validator
- Just like .NET Memory Validator, this tool is also a commercial memory leak detector and analyzer.
- C++ Memory Validator provides multiple insights such as:
- Memory: Displays the information about the allocated & leaked memory and traces error messages. The data is shown in a tree structure that can be selected and filtered.
- Objects: Shows object statistics with object type and allocated, deallocated & reallocated objects.
- Coverage: This view provides information about memory usage. The tool comes with filters that remove third-party files.
- The Auto-Merge Facility helps to merge multiple statistics from multiple insights to form a composite coverage for the regression test suite.
- Apart from these insights, the tool provides Timeline, Hotspot, Sizes, and Analysis view of the application.
- Powerful and configurable tool compatible with Microsoft C and C++, Intel C++, etc.
Click here to navigate to the C++ Memory Validator Official site.
- Dynatrace is a commercial tool that supports All-in-One Performance Management and comprises full-stack monitoring, single transaction analysis.
- It provides memory leak detection tools to determine memory consumption.
- Dynatrace Java memory leak detection tools are available for applications written in Java and .NET Profiler Tools are used for applications running in Java.
- With its unique hotspot view, you can find an object which is not using the memory effectively.
- You can perform memory trending dumps for memory usage. This tool helps to identify those objects which are continuously increasing memory consumption and are not deallocated properly from the memory.
Click here to navigate to the Dynatrace Official site.
Additional Memory Leak Tools
These are some widely used tools for detecting memory leaks. Again the list is not yet finished here, there are some other tools as well which are used to achieve the same purpose.
We will review them in brief:
#23) NetBeans Profiler:
NetBeans Profiler is a proprietary Java profiling tool developed with features like memory, threads, SQL queries etc. Today this tool comes with some new and advanced features to handle the thread dumps.
URL: NetBeans Profiler
Mtrace is built-in with glibc (GNUC is a library project for successful implementation of C standard library) that is used to detect memory leaks caused by unusual malloc/free calls.
Once called it stops the allocation of memory to the objects. Mtrace Perl script is used to scan log files created for memory leaks. Also, if you provide the source code to it then the exact location where the problem occurred can be understood.
#25) Java Visual VM:
Visual VM is a very useful tool for developers to trace and track memory leaks. It analyzes heap data and garbage collectors. It ensures the optimized use of memory and helps to improve the application performance.
Offers features like Thread Analysis and Heap Dump Analysis to solve run-time problems.
Here we are done with the most popular Memory Leak Management Tools. We can choose one or more as per critical memory areas in our system.
Also, with the use of this software, we can not only make the task easier but also can reduce the time consumption required for detecting memory leaks which is comparatively a tedious task.
URL: Java Visual VM
Memory leak management tools reduce the proportion of efforts and the time spent on managing memory. Managing memory access and allocation & tracking leaks are such important tasks that Memory is the backbone of any software to retain and manage your data efficiently.
Again, without proper memory allocation, one cannot even run the application system. To avoid system failure and improve its performance we need to perform memory leak management.
Keeping this need in mind, many organizations make use of the tools available for this, while will ultimately make things easier for them and the end-user.