Heap analysis tool (dotnet-gcdump)

This article applies to: ✔️ .NET Core 3.1 SDK and later versions

Install

There are two ways to download and install dotnet-gcdump:

• dotnet global tool:

To install the latest release version of the dotnet-gcdump NuGet package, use the dotnet tool install command:

dotnet tool install --global dotnet-gcdump


OS Platform
Windows x86 | x64 | arm | arm-x64
macOS x64
Linux x64 | arm | arm64 | musl-x64 | musl-arm64

Note

To use dotnet-gcdump on an x86 app, you need a corresponding x86 version of the tool.

Synopsis

dotnet-gcdump [-h|--help] [--version] <command>


Description

The dotnet-gcdump global tool collects GC (Garbage Collector) dumps of live .NET processes using EventPipe. GC dumps are created by triggering a GC in the target process, turning on special events, and regenerating the graph of object roots from the event stream. This process allows for GC dumps to be collected while the process is running and with minimal overhead. These dumps are useful for several scenarios:

• Comparing the number of objects on the heap at several points in time.
• Analyzing roots of objects (answering questions like, "what still has a reference to this type?").
• Collecting general statistics about the counts of objects on the heap.

View the GC dump captured from dotnet-gcdump

On Windows, .gcdump files can be viewed in PerfView for analysis or in Visual Studio. Currently, There is no way of opening a .gcdump on non-Windows platforms.

You can collect multiple .gcdumps and open them simultaneously in Visual Studio to get a comparison experience.

Options

• --version

Displays the version of the dotnet-gcdump utility.

• -h|--help

Shows command-line help.

dotnet-gcdump collect

Collects a GC dump from a currently running process.

Warning

To walk the GC heap, this command triggers a generation 2 (full) garbage collection, which can suspend the runtime for a long time, especially when the GC heap is large. Don't use this command in performance-sensitive environments when the GC heap is large.

Synopsis

dotnet-gcdump collect [-h|--help] [-p|--process-id <pid>] [-o|--output <gcdump-file-path>] [-v|--verbose] [-t|--timeout <timeout>] [-n|--name <name>]


Options

• -h|--help

Shows command-line help.

• -p|--process-id <pid>

The process ID to collect the GC dump from.

• -o|--output <gcdump-file-path>

The path where collected GC dumps should be written. Defaults to .\YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS_<pid>.gcdump.

• -v|--verbose

Output the log while collecting the GC dump.

• -t|--timeout <timeout>

Give up on collecting the GC dump if it takes longer than this many seconds. The default value is 30.

• -n|--name <name>

The name of the process to collect the GC dump from.

Note

On Linux and macOS, this command expects the target application and dotnet-gcdump to share the same TMPDIR environment variable. Otherwise, the command will time out.

Note

To collect a GC dump using dotnet-gcdump, it needs to be run as the same user as the user running target process or as root. Otherwise, the tool will fail to establish a connection with the target process.

dotnet-gcdump ps

Lists the dotnet processes that GC dumps can be collected for.

Synopsis

dotnet-gcdump ps


dotnet-gcdump report <gcdump_filename>

Generate a report from a previously generated GC dump or from a running process, and write to stdout.

Synopsis

dotnet-gcdump report [-h|--help] [-p|--process-id <pid>] [-t|--report-type <HeapStat>]


Options

• -h|--help

Shows command-line help.

• -p|--process-id <pid>

The process ID to collect the GC dump from.

• -t|--report-type <HeapStat>

The type of report to generate. Available options: heapstat (default).

Troubleshoot

• There is no type information in the gcdump.

Prior to .NET Core 3.1, there was an issue where a type cache was not cleared between gcdumps when they were invoked with EventPipe. This resulted in the events needed for determining type information not being sent for the second and subsequent gcdumps. This was fixed in .NET Core 3.1-preview2.

• COM and static types aren't in the GC dump.

Prior to .NET Core 3.1, there was an issue where static and COM types weren't sent when the GC dump was invoked via EventPipe. This has been fixed in .NET Core 3.1.

• dotnet-gcdump is unable to generate a .gcdump file due to missing information, for example, [Error] Exception during gcdump: System.ApplicationException: ETL file shows the start of a heap dump but not its completion.. Or, the .gcdump file doesn't include the entire heap.

dotnet-gcdump works by collecting a trace of events emitted by the garbage collector during an induced generation 2 collection. If the heap is sufficiently large, or there isn't enough memory to scale the eventing buffers, then the events required to reconstruct the heap graph from the trace may be dropped. In this case, to diagnose issues with the heap, it's recommended to collect a dump of the process.

• dotnet-gcdump appears to cause an Out Of Memory issue in a memory constrained environment.

dotnet-gcdump works by collecting a trace of events emitted by the garbage collector during an induced generation 2 collection. The buffer for event collection is owned by the target application and can grow up to 256 MB. dotnet-gcdump itself also uses memory. If your environment is memory constrained, be sure to account for these factors when collecting a gcdump to prevent errors.