This documentation is for an old GraalVM version. See the latest version.

JDK Flight Recorder (JFR) with Native Image

JDK Flight Recorder (JFR) is an event recorder for capturing information about a JVM, and an application running on the JVM. GraalVM Native Image supports building a native executable with JFR events, and users can use jdk.jfr.Event API with a similar experience to using JFR in the Java HotSpot VM.

To record JFR events when running a native executable, JFR support and JFR recording must be enabled.

Add JFR Support and Record Events at Run Time #

To build a native executable with the JFR events support, you first need to include JFR at build time, then enable the system, start a recording, and configure logging at native executable run time.

To build a native executable with JFR, use the --enable-monitoring=jfr flag:

native-image --enable-monitoring=jfr JavaApplication

To enable the system, start a recording, and configure logging at run time, the following options are supported:

  • -XX:+FlightRecorder: use to enable JFR
  • -XX:StartFlightRecording: use to start a recording on application’s startup
  • -XX:FlightRecorderLogging: use to configure the log output for the JFR system

To enable JFR and start a recording, simply use -XX:StartFlightRecording. For example:

./javaapplication -XX:StartFlightRecording="filename=recording.jfr"

Run a Demo #

Transform this very simple demo application into a native image and see how to use JFR events from it. Save the following code to the file.

import jdk.jfr.Event;
import jdk.jfr.Description;
import jdk.jfr.Label;

public class Example {

  @Label("Hello World")
  @Description("Helps programmer getting started")
  static class HelloWorldEvent extends Event {
      String message;

  public static void main(String... args) {
      HelloWorldEvent event = new HelloWorldEvent();
      event.message = "hello, world!";

You can further configure the JFR recording or enable logging.

Configure JFR Recording #

You can configure the JFR recording by passing a comma-separated list of key-value pairs to the -XX:StartFlightRecording option. For example:


The following key-value pairs are supported:

Name Default Value Description
name none Name that can be used to identify the recording, e.g., “name=MyRecording”
settings none Settings file (profile.jfc, default.jfc, etc.), e.g., “settings=myprofile.jfc”
delay none Delay recording start with (s)econds, (m)inutes), (h)ours), or (d)ays, e.g., “delay=5h”
duration infinite (0) Duration of recording in (s)econds, (m)inutes, (h)ours, or (d)ays, e.g., “duration=300s”
filename none Resulting recording filename, e.g., “filename=recording1.jfr”
maxage no limit (0) Maximum time to keep the recorded data on disk in (s)econds, (m)inutes, (h)ours, or (d)ays, e.g., 60m, or 0 for no limit. For example, “maxage=1d”
maxsize no limit (0) Maximum amount of bytes to keep on disk in (k)B, (M)B or (G)B, e.g., 500M, or 0 for no limit. For example, “maxsize=1G”
dumponexit false Whether to dump a running recording when the JVM shuts down, e.g., “dumponexit=true”

Configure JFR System Logging #

You can configure the logging for the JFR system with a separate flag -XX:FlightRecorderLogging. The usage is: -XX:FlightRecorderLogging=[tag1[+tag2...][*][=level][,...]]. For example:

  • When this option is not set, logging is enabled at a level of WARNING.
  • When this option is set to an empty string, logging is enabled at a level of INFO.
  • When this option is set to “disable”, logging is disabled entirely.

Available log levels are: trace, debug, info, warning, error, off.

Available log tags are: all, jfr, system, event, setting, bytecode, parser, metadata, dcmd.

Otherwise, this option expects a comma separated list of tag combinations, each with an optional wildcard (*) and level.

  • A tag combination without a level is given a default level of INFO.
  • Messages with tags that match a given tag combination will be logged if they meet the tag combination’s level.
  • If a tag combination does not have a wildcard, then only messages with exactly the same tags are matched. Otherwise, messages whose tags are a subset of the tag combination are matched.
  • If more than one tag combination matches a message’s tags, the rightmost one will apply.
  • Messages with tags that do not have any matching tag combinations are set to log at a default level of WARNING.
  • This option is case insensitive.

Current Limitations #

JFR support is currently incomplete: for example, few VM-internal events are present. However, JFR currently includes the following features: custom and system events, disk-based recordings, and stack traces. To see an exhaustive list of JFR events and features supported by Native Image, see this GitHub issue.

Note: the GraalVM distribution for Windows does not include JFR event recording.

Further Reading #

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