Hibernate is probably the most well-known ORM tool for Java. I first used it on version 1.X back on 2002. It even influenced the JPA (Java Persistence API), which is a standard ORM API.
The problem is: the application (has about 200 entities) was taking up +- 350MB of heap size on startup right after forcing a garbage collect (using jvisualvm).
That was too much. But things would improve. There was a setting which I've always mislooked as a batch size equivalent, called hibernate.default_batch_fetch_size, which we had with value 20.
After some investigation, I found it was used to load several records at once, at the expense of memory. So, just to test out, I changed it to 1 and, surprise... The same application was now taking up +- 150MB! What a change for something misunderstood!
But I was not satisfied, and decided to try another JPA provider. From some researches, I decided to go with EclipseLink. Result? The same application now starts up (after a garbage collection) with +- 35 MB!!!
Ok, what a huge difference! But performance should be worst, shouldn't it? No!!! On the load tests I did, EclipseLink was actually 2.5x faster than Hibernate!
There were some bumps, several queries were done with some non-standard (from JPA's point of view) elements, and so on. But they all could be resolved, one at a time.
Conclusion: After being a loyal Hibernate user for several years (well, not that loyal, as some projects I did with plain JDBC using Querydsl SQL module), I'll now try to avoid it as much as possible, and use EclipseLink instead. Even a future possibility is Batoo JPA, which claims to be 15-20x faster than Hibernate. However, as it cannot be used with Spring's LocalContainerEntityManagerFactoryBean (at least for now, as it requires a persistence.xml, and I like bootstrapping things programmatically), I'll stick with EclipseLink for now.