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From Mark Kristensson <>
Subject Re: IndexWriter.close() performance issue
Date Tue, 22 Feb 2011 17:14:48 GMT
I'm resurrecting this old thread because this issue is now reaching a
critical point for us and I'm going to have to modify the Lucene source code
for it to continue to work for us.

Just a quick refresher: we have one index with several hundred thousand
unqiue field names and found that opening an index writer and closing an
index reader results in horribly slow performance on that one index. I have
isolated the problem down to the calls to String.intern() that are used to
allow for quick string comparisons of field names throughout Lucene.

FYI, the requirement that necessitates all of those unique field names
cannot be changed without effectively removing a major piece of
functionality from our application.

It is clear that Lucene has already gone through a couple of battles with
String.intern() judging by the closed issues (LUCENE-1600 and LUCENE-1607)
and the fact that a simple hashmap has been created in SimpleStringInterner
(and before that StringInterner, which appears to be unused now) to minimize
the number of calls to String.intern().

My first question is: is the call to String.intern() in SimpleStringInterner
really necessary? Since you are already using a hashmap to return the same
instance without calling String.intern() in the case where you have already
encountered that String, why bother to call .intern() when you add the
String to the HashMap?

Additionally, the fact that all of the calls to String.intern() in the
Lucene code base have been replaced with calls to StringHelper.intern(),
which uses the SimpleStringInterner, tells me that no String comparisons
will happen without calling StringHelper.intern() which uses the hashmap in
SimpleStringInterner to ensure it gets back the same String instance for
equivalent strings.

Second question: rather than using the very simple hashmap in
SimpleStringInterner, would I be better off using a ConcurrentHashMap in
StringHelper? Something like this:

  //  public static StringInterner interner = new
  public static ConcurrentHashMap<String, String> uniqueStrings = new
ConcurrentHashMap<String, String>();

  /** Return the same string object for all equal strings */
  public static String intern(String s) {
  //    return interner.intern(s);
    String v = uniqueStrings.putIfAbsent(s, s);
    return (v != null) ? v : s;

Since this issue has become critical for us, I am planning to proceed with
testing using a ConcurrentHashMap in StringHelper. My quick testing back in
November confirmed the basics of the approach would work, but the feedback
here was twofold: 1) make it thread-safe and 2) make sure your hashkey won't
lead to collisions (I was passing the String.hashCode() in as the key

Third question, as I test out this solution, are there any particular
actions/methods/operations that I should test out because this kind of a
change might be especially problematic?

Finally, back on the root issue. I understand intuitively why having so many
unique field names might cause a problem opening an index reader. However,
I'm not sure why closing (committing changes to) an index writer would have
such a problem. Why is that?

Thank you!

On Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 2:22 PM, Mark Kristensson <> wrote:

> I've tried the suggestion below, but it really doesn't seem to have any
> impact. I guess that's not surprising since 80% of the CPU time when I ran
> hprof was in String.intern(), not in the StringHelper class.
> Clearly, if I'm going to hack things up at this level, I've got some work
> do to, including:
> - Synchronizing access to the storage mechanism I use for the strings
> - Using something else (String?) for the hashCode (instead of the String's
> built-in integer hashcode).
> Could I not use the HashMap solution I proposed to ensure that all field
> name strings that are the same refer to the same instance of the String?
> Does a HashMap.get() not return the same instance with every call?
> I'm also intrigued by a comment from Mike about FieldInfos and using those
> to control the uniqueness. Any suggestions on how I go about doing that?
> Would that be instead of monkeying with StringHelper or in addition to it?
> Thanks,
> Mark
> On Nov 20, 2010, at 5:44 AM, Yonik Seeley wrote:
> > On Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 5:41 PM, Mark Kristensson
> > <> wrote:
> >> Here's the changes I made to org.apache.lucene.util.StringHelper:
> >>
> >>  //public static StringInterner interner = new
> SimpleStringInterner(1024,8);
> >
> > As Mike said, the real fix for trunk is to get rid of interning.
> > But for your version, you could try making the string intern cache
> larger.
> >
> > StringHelper.interner = new SimpleStringInterner(300000,8);
> >
> > -Yonik
> >
> >
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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