Skip to content


Subversion checkout URL

You can clone with
Download ZIP
Fetching contributors…
Cannot retrieve contributors at this time
403 lines (340 sloc) 13.8 KB
= ApplicationPool algorithm
== Introduction
For efficiency reasons, Passenger keeps a pool spawned Rails/Ruby applications.
Please read the C++ API documentation for the ApplicationPool class for a full
introduction. This document describes an algorithm for managing the pool, in a
high-level way.
The algorithm should strive to keep spawning to a minimum.
== Definitions
=== Vocabulary
- "Application root":
The toplevel directory in which an application is contained. For Rails
application, this is the same as RAILS_ROOT, i.e. the directory that contains
"app/", "public/", etc. For a Rack application, this is the directory that
contains "".
- "Active application instance":
An application instance that has more than 0 active sessions.
=== Types
Most of the types that we use in this document are pretty standard. But we
explicitly define some special types:
- list<SomeType>
A doubly linked list which contains elements of type SomeType. It supports
all the usual list operations that one can expect from a linked list, like
add_to_back(), etc.
The following operations deserve special mention:
* remove(iterator)
Removes the specified element from the list. _iterator_ is a linked list
iterator: it probably contains the links and a reference to the actual
list element, depending on the list implementation. This operation can be
done in O(1) time.
* move_to_front(iterator)
Moves the specified element to the front of the list. _iterator_ is an
iterator, as described earlier.
- Domain
A compound type (class) which contains information about an application root,
such as the application instances that have been spawned for this application
A Domain has the following members:
* instances (list<AppContainer>) - a list of AppContainer objects.
containers is non-empty.
for all 0 <= i < containers.size() - 1:
if containers[i].app is active:
containers[i + 1].app is active
* size (unsigned integer): The number of items in _instances_.
* max_requests (unsigned integer): The maximum number of requests that each
application instance in this domain may process. After having processed this
many requests, the application instance will be shut down.
A value of 0 indicates that there is no maximum.
- AppContainer
A compound type (class) which contains an application instance, as well as
iterators for various linked lists. These iterators make it possible to
perform actions on the linked list in O(1) time.
An AppContainer has the following members:
* app - An Application object, representing an application instance.
* start_time (time) - The time at which this application instance was
started. It's set to the current time by AppContainer's constructor.
* processed_requests (integer) - The number of requests processed by this
application instance so far.
* last_used (time) - The last time a session for this application instance
was opened or closed.
* sessions (integer) - The number of open sessions for this application
(sessions == 0) == (This AppContainer is in inactive_apps.)
* iterator - The iterator for this AppContainer in the linked list
* ia_iterator - The iterator for this AppContainer in the linked list
inactive_apps. This iterator is only valid if this AppContainer really is
in that list.
- PoolOptions
A structure containing additional information used by the spawn manager's
spawning process, as well as by the get() function.
A PoolOptions has at least the following members:
* max_requests (unsigned integer) - The maximum number of requests that the
application instance may process. After having processed this many requests,
the application instance will be shut down. A value of 0 indicates that there
is no maximum.
* use_global_queue (boolean) - Whether to use a global queue for all
application instances, or a queue that's private to the application instance.
The users guide explains this feature in more detail.
* restart_dir (string) - The directory in which the algorithm should look for
restart.txt and always_restart.txt. The existance and modification times of
these files tell the algorithm whether an application should be restarted.
=== Special functions
- spawn(app_root)
Spawns a new instance of the application at the given application root.
Throws an exception if something went wrong. This function is thread-safe.
Note that application initialization can take an arbitrary amount of time.
=== Instance variables
The algorithm requires the following instance variables for storing state
- lock: mutex
This lock is used for implementing thread-safetiness. We assume that it
is non-recursive, i.e. if a thread locks a mutex that it has already locked,
then it will result in a deadlock.
- domains: map[string => Domain]
Maps an application root to its Domain object. This map contains all
application instances in the pool.
for all values d in domains:
d.size <= count
(sum of all d.size in domains) == count
- max: integer
The maximum number of AppContainer objects that may exist in the pool.
- max_per_app: integer
The maximum number of AppContainer objects that may be simultaneously alive
for a single Domain.
- count: integer
The current number of AppContainer objects in the pool.
Since 'max' can be set dynamically during the life time of an application
pool, 'count > max' is possible.
- active: integer
The number of application instances in the pool that are active.
active <= count
- inactive_apps: list<AppContainer>
A linked list of AppContainer objects. All application instances in this list
are inactive.
inactive_apps.size() == count - active
for all c in inactive_apps:
c can be found in _domains_.
c.sessions == 0
- waiting_on_global_queue: integer
If global queuing mode is enabled, then when get() is waiting for a backend
process to become idle, this variable will be incremented. When get() is done
waiting, this variable will be decremented.
== Class relations
Here's an UML diagram in ASCII art:
[AppContainer] 1..* -------+
[ApplicationPool] [Domain]
1 0..*
| |
== Algorithm in pseudo code
# Thread-safetiness notes:
# - All wait commands are to unlock the lock during waiting.
# Connect to an existing application instance or to a newly spawned application instance.
# 'app_root' specifies the application root folder of the application. 'options' is an
# object of type 'PoolOptions', which contains additional information which may be
# relevant for spawning.
function get(app_root, options):
attempt = 0
time_limit = now() + 5 seconds
while (true):
container, domain = spawn_or_use_existing(app_root, options)
container.last_used = current_time()
on exception:
# The app instance seems to have crashed.
# So we remove this instance from our data
# structures.
instances = domain.instances
if instances.empty():
if (attempt == MAX_ATTEMPTS):
propagate exception
# Returns a pair of [AppContainer, Domain] that matches the given application
# root. If no such AppContainer exists, then it is created and a new
# application instance is spawned. All exceptions that occur are propagated.
function spawn_or_use_existing(app_root, options):
domain = domains[app_root]
if needs_restart(app_root, options):
if (domain != nil):
for all container in domain.instances:
if container.sessions == 0:
Tell spawn server to reload code for app_root.
domain = nil
if domain != nil:
# There are apps for this app root.
instances = domain.instances
if (instances.front.sessions == 0):
# There is an inactive app, so we use it.
container = instances.front
else if (count >= max) or (
(max_per_app != 0) and (domain.size >= max_per_app)
# All apps are active, and the pool is full.
# -OR-
# All apps are active and the number of max instances
# spawned for this application domain has been reached.
# We're not allowed to spawn a new application instance.
if options.use_global_queue:
# So we wait until _active_ has changed, then
# we restart this function and try again.
wait until _active_ has changed
goto beginning of function
# So we connect to an already active application.
# This connection will be put into that
# application's private queue.
container = a container in _instances_ with the smallest _session_ value
# All apps are active, but the pool hasn't reached its
# maximum yet. So we spawn a new app.
container = new AppContainer
# TODO: we should add some kind of timeout check for spawning. = spawn(app_root)
container.sessions = 0
iterator = instances.add_to_back(container)
container.iterator = iterator
# There are no apps for this app root. Wait until there's at
# least 1 idle instance, or until there's an empty slot in the
# pool, then restart this function. Restarting is necessary,
# because after waiting and reacquiring the lack, some other
# thread might already have spawned instances for this app root.
if (active >= max):
wait until _active_ has changed
goto beginning of function
elsif count == max:
# Here we are in a though situation. There are several
# apps which are inactive, and none of them have
# application root _app_root_, so we must kill one of
# them in order to free a spot in the pool. But which
# one do we kill? We want to minimize spawning.
# It's probably a good idea to keep some kind of
# statistics in order to decide this. We want the
# application root that gets the least traffic to be
# killed. But for now, we kill a random application
# instance.
container = inactive_apps.pop_front
domain = domains[]
instances = domain.instances
if instances.empty():
container = new AppContainer
# TODO: we should add some kind of timeout check for spawning. = spawn(app_root)
container.sessions = 0
domain = domains[app_root]
if domain == nil:
domain = new Domain
initialize domain.instances
domain.size = 1
domain.max_requests = options.max_requests
domains[app_root] = domain
iterator = domain.instances.add_to_back(container)
container.iterator = iterator
return [container, domain]
# The following function is to be called when a session has been closed.
# _container_ is the AppContainer that contains the application for which a
# session has been closed.
function session_has_been_closed(container):
domain = domains[]
if domain != nil:
instances = domain.instances
if (domain.max_requests) > 0 and (container.processed >= domain.max_requests):
# The application instance has processed its maximum allowed
# number of requests, so we shut it down.
if instances.empty():
container.last_used = current_time()
if container.sessions == 0:
container.ia_iterator = inactive_apps.add_to_back(
function needs_restart(app_root, options):
if (options.restart_dir is not set):
restart_dir = app_root + "/tmp"
else if (options.restart_dir is an absolute path):
restart_dir = options.restart_dir
restart_dir = app_root + "/" + options.restart_dir
return (file_exists("$restart_dir/always_restart.txt")) or
(we haven't seen "$restart_dir/restart.txt" before) or
("$restart_dir/restart.txt" changed since the last time we checked)
# The following thread will be responsible for cleaning up idle application
# instances, i.e. instances that haven't been used for a while.
# This can be disabled per app when setting it's maxIdleTime to 0.
thread cleaner:
done = false
while !done:
Wait until CLEAN_INTERVAL seconds have expired, or until the thread has been signalled to quit.
if thread has been signalled to quit:
done = true
now = current_time()
for all container in inactive_apps:
app =
domain = domains[app.app_root]
instances = domain.instances
# If MAX_IDLE_TIME is 0 we don't clean up the instance,
# giving us the option to persist the app container
# forever unless it's killed by another app.
if (MAX_IDLE_TIME > 0) and (now - container.last_used > MAX_IDLE_TIME):
if instances.empty():
Jump to Line
Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.