Wednesday, 29 November 2017

You don't need a PHD to open a .phd file!

Today I was looking at some Java Core dumps on a system and wanted to start debugging to see what was causing an apparent memory leak. All was going well until I was led to:
I hadn't stumbled across a Portable Heap Dump (phd) before, so I started to have a little google as to how I could open it but couldn't find a command line answer to my problem. Apparently no conversion will get me what I want and I'll have to use a set of tools.

One of the first things that showed up was "IBM Memory Analyzer*" which gives analysis on heap/core dumps. To install you can have a stand alone application but it more conveniently comes as a plugin to be installed directly into an Eclipse runtime. 

*Being an IBMer myself I was inclined to use this since its one of our own products.*

To install you simply open eclipse and go to: help -> eclipse marketplace -> search for: "memory analyser" and select go -> install -> follow instructions and restart eclipse

I thought, brilliant I should be able to load the .phd and get the data I need. However, when I tried to load my file I got:
Error opening heap dump ''. Check the error log for further details.
Error opening heap dump ''. Check the error log for further details.
Not a HPROF heap dump (
Not a HPROF heap dump
After a little more google investigation I found I needed a little extra component called "IBM Monitoring and Diagnostic Tools for Java" or "IBM DTFJ" for short. This works on top of memory analyser and will allow us to open the phd file.

To download it go to: help -> Install new software -> Select the add button next to the "work with" text bar. -> In both boxes type: -> toggle "IBM Monitoring and Diagnostic Tools" -> install -> follow instructions and reset eclipse.

Now when you go to open the .phd file, memory analyser will be able to find it and will use DTFJ to open it. From here we can get component reports and leak suspects.

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