The SystemFailure class is a clearing house for detecting and attempting to mitigate SystemFailure exceptions e.g. VirtualMachineError and OutOfMemoryError.
This class should not exist. SystemFailure exceptions should be allowed to percolate up and cause the JVM to terminate as soon as possible with an informative message in the log, if possible.
Here is what the JVM spec has to say :
"A Java Virtual Machine implementation throws an object that is an instance of a subclass of the class VirtualMethodError (sic) when an internal error or resource limitation prevents it from implementing the semantics described in this chapter. This specification cannot predict where internal errors or resource limitations may be encountered and does not mandate precisely when they can be reported."
There's a typo in the spec there: it says "VirtualMethodError" when it means "VirtualMachineError". Anyhoo, the upshot is: the JVM spec does not apply after you've encountered a VirtualMachineError. As a result, there is no reason to believe that subsequent processing will make things better (than exiting immediately).
The SystemFailure class should be deprecated so no new dependencies to it are added. Existing dependencies on it, should be eliminated over time.
This ticket was discussed on the Apache Geode dev list and "rough consensus" was achieved