We, the developers of this tool, are excited about the decision of SAP to open source the SAP Memory Analyzer under the Eclipse Technology Project. That’s wonderful news for us and hopefully it will turn out to be beneficial to all the Java developers struggling with heap dumps out there now.
Last year we started to write this tool and didn’t imagine that it could be of interest to so many of you. It all started by having had no tool to analyze really huge heap dumps. So we started to write one which was fast but on the other hand used a moderate amount of memory so that you could at least open heap dumps from a 32 bit box on a 32 bit box. However, if you were not looking for the single 1 GB large memory leak, it was still difficult to uncover complex object retention problems in huge heap dumps with hundreds of millions of objects. Each heap dump for which our tool failed to show the root cause was closely investigated and we added new functionality which would show the problem next time. Thereby the tool evolved in a very practical and useful way. As we saw that the result even helped with the analysis of plain Java applications and the tool thereby became generally interesting to all Java developers, we started to present it at conferences like JavaOne 2007 and EclipseSummit 2007.
After first offering a free download on our SAP Developer Network the tool now goes Open Source! And right on the day of the press release last week I got an e-mail from an external Java developer who wanted to write a converter for the IBM platforms (IBM JVMs don’t write heap dumps in the format of Sun’s de-facto standard called HPROF binary heap dump; therefore the SAP Memory Analyzer doesn’t support IBM platforms, as they are not Sun(HotSpot)-based). That offer was certainly a great surprise!
Maybe the open sourcing will give us new opportunities. I am really excited and curious how this will turn out in the end. Open Source is cool! 🙂