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Tips for improving Spring’s start up performance

posted Jun 20, 2010, 9:10 PM by Kuwon Kang

Someone is blathering on again about how Spring sucks, and so startup performance came up in the conversation. CXF uses Spring under the covers by default (it’s optional, don’t worry). Initially there was some major slowness, but I’ve spent a lot of time profiling/improving CXF’s startup time. I thought I’d share what I learned so you can improve your startup time as well:

  1. Use the latest version of Spring (2.0.5+). The latest version of Spring contains may performance improvements (including one I found while profiling CXF).
  2. Reduce the number of configuration files. More configuration == more XML to parse.
  3. Reduce the number of <bean>s in your configuration. Contrary to popular belief, not every friggin class needs to be a <bean>. Startup time is pretty proportional to the number of beans (if you follow the suggestion in #4).
  4. Don’t use classpath*:*.xml type wildcards. These significantly slow down the starup process as Spring needs to search through all the jars. In some cases it needs to expand them (I think on certain appservers). Doing a classpath:/foo/*.xml search is much better as that can delegate to the JDK. Although further performance gains can be made by removing wildcards together I think.
  5. Reduce your number of beans - just because you can make it a <bean> doesn’t mean you should.
  6. lazy-init=”true” is your friend. Don’t load a <bean> until you need to.
  7. Turn off schema validation (Alternately: anyone want to rewrite Xerces?) - this adds about 20% more time to startup in the CXF case.

If all goes well, you should be able to get the Spring startup time pretty low. At this point its probably other things, like your ORM layer (*cough* Hibernate *cough*), that are slowing things down.

Random tidbit: I was profiling the CXF startup the other day. About 33% of the time is in Introspector.getBeanInfo(), so its really not all Spring’s fault IMO :-). Maybe someone can hack the JDK to be faster there?