What are the ways to speed up Object Serialization? How to improve Serialization performance

The default Java Serialization mechanism is really useful, however it can have a really bad performance based on your application and business requirements. The serialization process performance heavily depends on the number and size of attributes you are going to serialize for an object. Below are some tips you can use for speeding up the marshaling and un-marshaling of objects during Java serialization process.

  • Mark the unwanted or non Serializable attributes as transient. This is a straight forward benefit since your attributes for serialization are clearly marked and can be easily achieved using Serialzable interface itself.
  • Save only the state of the object, not the derived attributes. Some times we keep the derived attributes as part of the object however serializing them can be costly. Therefore consider calcualting them during de-serialization process.
  • Serialize attributes only with NON-default values. For examples, serializing a int variable with value zero is just going to take extra space however, choosing not to serialize it would save you a lot of performance. This approach can avoid some types of attributes taking unwanted space. This will require use of Externalizable interface since attribute serialization is determined at runtime based on the value of each attribute.
  • Use Externalizable interface and implement the readObject and writeObject methods to dynamically identify the attributes to be serialized. Some times there can be a custom logic used for serialization of various attributes.