Browse Prior Art Database

Improving user experience with memory issues through timely warnings

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000214092D
Publication Date: 2012-Jan-10
Document File: 3 page(s) / 33K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method and system to prevent customer service calls involving out-of-memory conditions. The system provides a warning to the user when memory is getting low. The warning informs the user of how to change the maximum heap size, and directs them to documentation explaining the available choices.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 41% of the total text.

Page 01 of 3

Improving user experience with memory issues through timely warnings

When using enterprise software products, users sometimes experience crashes based on an out-of-memory condition. An out-of-memory condition occurs when the software product needs to allocate memory in order to accomplish a task, but cannot do so because all memory available to it is exhausted. Note that there may be adequate memory available on the computer where the program is running, and yet not all of that memory may be available to the program. This occurs when configuration settings set an artificially low limit on the amount of memory available to the program.

Out-of-memory issues are particularly critical when using languages such as Java* and C#, which are primarily heap-based, as a programmer typically has to decide ahead of time what the maximum heap size will be for a given run of the program. Changing that setting involves looking up the documentation on how to do so, and then restarting the program after having made the change. If the programmer sets the maximum heap size too small, then an out-of-memory condition may occur. If they set the heap size too large, then either the program may not start at all (when there is not enough physical memory on the machine to create such a large heap) or the program may take up so much memory, it does not leave enough available for other concurrent tasks on the computer.

Therefore, setting the maximum heap size is something that should be carefully considered by the programmer, and should be based both on how much memory is available on the computer and the size of the problem or dataset with which the software product will be working in the given run of the program. When the product is first installed, the maximum heap size is set to a standard amount, which assumes a relatively small amount of physical memory. This amount can easily be exceeded when processing even moderately large datasets or problems.

Unfortunately, users of enterprise software often have no familiarity with low-level settings such as maximum heap size. They are unaware that the setting exists, and do not know how to set it appropriately. The only time they may become aware of the setting is after an out-of-memory crash occurs, and they contact vendor customer service to find out why the crash occurred. The problem can sometimes be diagnosed through examination of log files, but the delay and expense of a customer service call is out of line with the simplicity of the fix (simply setting the maximum heap size) and the commonality of the problem.

The purpose of this invention is to prevent customer service calls involving out-of-memory conditions. The system provides a warning to the user when memory is getting low. The warning informs the user of how to change the maximum heap size, and directs them to documentation explaining the choices available.

In languages such as Java and C#, there is usually a method for determining the amount of m...