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<h2>Memory Model</h2>
In HipHop, there are several different types of variables, depending on how
their lifetime is controled and how they allocate and deallocate memories.
1. Process Memory Variables
(1) APC Variables
APC stands for Alternative PHP Cache in PHP/Zend terminology, and they are
shared by multiple processes in pre-forking Apache environment. In HipHop,
APC's semantics is kept by two different implementations, depending on how
program is configured:
- If HipHop is configured to run as one single process with multiple threads,
APC variables are merely the ones that are shared by all threads. They are
accessed through apc_store() and apc_fetch() functions by name-value lookups.
In this model, APC variables are implemented with plain memory, allocated and
deallocated through malloc/free calls. Then, granularity locking is
implemented to ensure access from multiple threads are safe and efficient.
- If HipHop is configured to run with shared memory for APC, those variables
are allocated and deallocated through boost::inter_process classes, which
operate on real shared memory regions that multiple processes can attach to.
In this model, we used the same type of granularity locking for safe reads
and writes of these variables.
(2) C++ Static Variables
Regular C++ static variables will be accessible from multiple threads
automatically. Proper locking is needed for thread-safety.
2. Thread Local Variables
(1) ThreadLocal<T>
HipHop implemented ThreadLocal<T> template class that wraps any C++ data
structures to make them thread local. A ThreadLocal<T> object is only intended
to be accessed by a single thread, thus avoiding mutex locking.
(2) Persistent Objects
In PHP extensions, some objects are persistent across multiple requests, and
HipHop has also implemented this type of variables for resource data. They are
thread local, therefore, each thread has its own persistent object storage.
They are also accessed by names, just like how PHP/Zend has implemented it.
3. Request Local Variables
A request local variable is automatically thread local. In addition, they also
have initialization and shutdown processes at beginning and end of each
HTTP request.
(1) PHP Variables
All variables from user PHP code are request local variables. These variables
will go out of scope when a request is finished, even if it was a global
These variables can be pritimive types, String, Array, Object or Variant. They
are allocated and deallocated through smart allocators and linear allocators.
(2) RequestLocal<T>
HipHop also implemented RequestLocal<T> template class to allow PHP extensions
to properly initialize and uninitialize certain request local variables.
The template class simply implemented requestInit() and requestShutdown()
virtual functions that will be called by execution engine at startup and
shutdown time of an HTTP request.
When Server.EnableMemoryManager is set to true, HipHop will use speciailized
memory allocators called SmartAllocators.
A SmartAllocator simply allocates one slab of multiple objects with the same
size a time. Then it will use replacement new (macro-ed as NEW in HipHop code
base) for any caller to allocate a new one from the slab.
When an object is deallocated, it will be pushed to a free list maintained by
the allocator. Such free list is first consulted when a new allocation is
By doing so, many malloc/free calls otherwise will turn into push/pop
operations on the free list, with some rare malloc/free calls for slabs.
The tradeoff is, each object will take an extra 64-bit pointer storage in
free list.
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