Monday, June 26, 2017

Non-blocking JGroups

I'm happy to announce that I just released JGroups 4.0.4.Final!

It's prominent feature is non-blocking flow control [1,2].

Flow control makes sure that a fast sender cannot overwhelm a slow receiver in the long run (short spikes are tolerated) by adjusting the send rate to the receive rate. This is done by giving each sender credits (number of bytes) that it is allowed to send until it has to block.

A receiver sends new credits to the sender once it has processed a message.

When no credits are available anymore, the sender blocks until it gets new credits from the receiver(s). This is done in UFC (unicast flow control) and MFC (multicast flow control).

Flow control and TCP have been the only protocols that could block (UDP and TCP_NIO2 are non-blocking).

Non-blocking flow control now adds protocols UFC_NB and MFC_NB. These can replace their blocking counterparts.

Instead of blocking sender threads, the non-blocking flow control protocols queue messages when not enough credits are available to send them, allowing the sender threads to return immediately.

When fresh credits are received, the queued messages will be sent.

The queues are bound to prevent heap exhaustion; setting attribute max_queue_size (bytes) will queue messages up to max_queue_size bytes and then block subsequent attempts to queue until more space is available. Of course, setting max_queue_size to a large value will effectively make queues unbounded.

Using MFC_NB / UFC_NB with a transport of UDP or TCP_NIO2, which also never block, provides a completely non-blocking stack, where sends never block a JChannel.send(Message). If RpcDispatcher is used, there are non-blocking methods to invoke (even synchronous) RPCs, ie. the ones which return a CompletableFuture.

Other features of 4.0.4 include a new message bundler and a few bug fixes (e.g. the internal thread pool was not shut down). For the list of all JIRAs see [3].





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