Welcome!

Apache Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Christopher Harrold, Janakiram MSV

Related Topics: Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo, Eclipse, Machine Learning , Apache

Java IoT: Article

The Disruptor Framework: A Concurrency Framework for Java

Rediscovering the Producer-Consumer Model with the Disruptor

Let's start with the basic question: What is the disruptor? The disruptor is a concurrency framework for Java that allows data sharing between threads. The age old way of coding a producer-consumer model is to use a queue as the buffer area between the producer and the consumer, where the producer adds data objects to the queue, which are in turn processed by the consumer. However, such a model does not work well at the hardware level and ends up being highly inefficient. The disruptor in its simplest form replaces the queue with a data structure known as the ‘ring buffer'. Which brings us to the next question, what is the ring buffer? The ring buffer is an array of fixed length (which must be a power of 2), it's circular and wraps. This data structure is at the core of what makes the disruptor super fast.

Let's explore a simple everyday scenario in enterprise architectures. A producer (let's call it the publisher) creates data and stores it in the queue. Two immediate consumers (let's call them fooHandler and barHandler) consume the data and make updates to it. Once these 2 processors are done with a piece of data, it is then passed on to a third consumer (let's call it fooBarHandler) for further processing. In a concurrent processing system using legacy techniques, coding this architecture would involve a crisscross of queues and numerous concurrency challenges, such as dealing with locks, CAS, write contention, etc. The disruptor on the other hand immensely simplifies such a scenario by providing a simple API for creating the producer, consumers and ring buffer, which in turn relieve the developer of all concerns surrounding handling concurrency and doing so in an efficient manner. We shall now explore how the disruptor works its magic and provides a reliable messaging framework.

Writing to the ring buffer

Looking at the figure above, we find ourselves in the middle of the action. The ring buffer is an array of length 4 and is populated with data items - 4,5,6 and 7, which in the case of the disruptor are known as events. The square above the ring buffer containing the number 7 is the current sequence number, which denotes the highest populated event in the ring buffer. The ring buffer keeps track of this sequence number and increments it as and when new events are published to it. The fooHandler, barHandler and fooBarHandler are the consumers, which in disruptor terminology are called ‘event processors'. Each of these also has a square containing a sequence number, which in the case of the event processors denotes the highest event that they have consumed/processed so far. Thus its apparent that each entity (except the publisher) tracks its own sequence number and thus does not need to rely on a third party to figure out which is the next event its after.

The publisher asks the ring buffer for the next sequence number. The ring buffer is currently at 7, so the next sequence number would be 8. However, this would also entail overwriting the event with sequence number 4 (since there are only 4 slots in the array and the oldest event gets replaced with the newest one). The ring buffer first checks the most downstream consumer (fooBarHandler) to determine whether it is done processing the event with sequence number 4. In this case, it has, so it returns the number 8 to the publisher. In case fooBarHandler was stuck at a sequence number lower than 4, the ring buffer would have waited for it to finish processing the 4th event before returning the next sequence number to the publisher. This sequence number helps the publisher identify the next available slot in the ring buffer by performing a simple mod operation. indexOfNextAvailableSlot = highestSeqNo%longthOfRingBuffer, which in this case is 0 (8%4). The publisher then claims the next slot in the ring buffer (via a customizable strategy depending on whether there is a single or multiple publishers), which is currently occupied by event 4, and publishes event 8 to it.

Reading from the ring buffer by immediate consumers

The figure above shows the state of operations after the publisher has published event 8 to the ring buffer. The ring buffer's sequence number has been updated to 8 and now contains events 5,6,7 and 8. We see that foohandler, which has processed events upto 7, has been waiting (using a customizable strategy) for the 8th event to be published. Unlike the publisher though, it does not directly communicate with the ring buffer, but uses an entity known as the ‘sequence barrier' to do so on its behalf. The sequence barrier let's fooHandler know that the highest sequence number available in the ring buffer is now 8. FooHandler may now get this event and process it.

Similarly, barHandler checks the sequence barrier to determine whether there are any more events it can process. However, rather than just telling barHandler that the next (6th) event is up for grabs, the sequence barrier returns the highest sequence number present in the ring buffer to barHandler too. This way, barHandler can grab events 6,7,8 and process them in a batch before it has to enquire about further events being published. This saves time and reduces load.

Another important thing to note here is that in the case of multiple event processors, any given field in the event object must only be written to by any one event processor. Doing so prevents write contention, and thus removes the need for locks or CAS.

Reading from the ring buffer by downstream consumers

A few moments after the set of immediate consumers grab the next set of data, the state of affairs looks like the figure above. fooHandler is done processing all 8 available events (and has accordingly updated its sequence number to 8), whereas barHandler, being the slow coach that it is, has only processed events upto number 6 (and thus has updated sequence number to 6). We now see that fooBarHandler, which was done processing events upto number 5 at the start of our examination, is still waiting for an event higher than that to process. Why did its sequence barrier not inform it once event 8 was published to the ring buffer? Well, that is because downstream consumers don't automatically get notified of the highest sequence number present in the ring buffer. Their sequence barriers on the other hand determine the next sequence number they can process by calculating the minimum sequence number that the set of event processors directly before them have processed. This helps ensure that the downstream consumers only act on an event once its processing has been completed by the entire set of upstream consumers. The sequence barrier examines the sequence number on fooHandler (which is 8) and the sequence number on barHandler (which is 6) and decides that event 6 is the highest event that fooBarHandler can process. It returns this info to fooBarHandler, which then grabs event 6 and processes it. It must be noted that even in the case of the downstream consumers, they grab the events directly from the ring buffer and not from the consumers before them.

Well, that is about all you would need to know about the working of the disruptor framework to get started. But while this is all well and good in theory, the question still remains, how would one code the above architecture using the disruptor library? The answer to that question lies below.

Coding the disruptor

public final class FooBarEvent {
private double foo=0;
private double bar=0;
public double getFoo(){
return foo;
}
public double getBar() {
return bar;
}
public void setFoo(final double foo) {
this.foo = foo;
}
public void setBar(final double bar) {
this.bar = bar;
}
public final static EventFactory<FooBarEvent> EVENT_FACTORY
= new EventFactory<FooBarEvent>() {
public FooBarEvent newInstance() {
return new FooBarEvent();
}
};
}

The class FooBarEvent, as the name suggests, acts as the event object which is published by the publisher to the ring buffer and consumed by the eventProcessors - fooHandler, barHandler and fooBarHandler. It contains two fields ‘foo' and ‘bar' of type double, along with their corresponding setters/getters. It also contains an entity ‘EVENT_FACTORY' of type EventFactory, which is used to create an instance of this event.

public class FooBarDisruptor {           
public static final int RING_SIZE=4;
public static final ExecutorService EXECUTOR
=Executors.newCachedThreadPool();

final EventTranslator<FooBarEvent> eventTranslator
=new EventTranslator<FooBarEvent>() {
public void translateTo(FooBarEvent event,
long sequence) {
double foo=event.getFoo();
double bar=event.getBar();
system.out.println("foo="+foo
+", bar="+bar
+" (sequence="+sequence+")");
}
};

final EventHandler<FooBarEvent> fooHandler
= new EventHandler<FooBarEvent>() {
public void onEvent(final FooBarEvent event,
final long sequence,
final boolean endOfBatch)
throws Exception {
double foo=Math.random();
event.setFoo(foo);
System.out.println("setting foo to "+foo
+" (sequence="+sequence+")");
}
};

final EventHandler<FooBarEvent> barHandler
= new EventHandler<FooBarEvent>() {
public void onEvent(final FooBarEvent event,
final long sequence,
final boolean endOfBatch)
throws Exception {
double bar=Math.random();
event.setBar(bar);
System.out.println("setting bar to "+bar
+" (sequence="+sequence+")");
}
};

final EventHandler<FooBarEvent> fooBarHandler
= new EventHandler<FooBarEvent>() {
public void onEvent(final FooBarEvent event,
final long sequence,
final boolean endOfBatch)
throws Exception {
double foo=event.getFoo();
double bar=event.getBar();
System.out.println("foo="+foo
+", bar="+bar
+" (sequence="+sequence+")");
}
};

public Disruptor setup() {
Disruptor<FooBarEvent> disruptor =
new Disruptor<FooBarEvent>(FooBarEvent.EVENT_FACTORY,
EXECUTOR,
new SingleThreadedClaimStrategy(RING_SIZE),
new SleepingWaitStrategy());
disruptor.handleEventsWith(fooHandler, barHandler).then(fooBarHandler);
RingBuffer<FooBarEvent> ringBuffer = disruptor.start();             
return disruptor;
}

public void publish(Disruptor<FooBarEvent> disruptor) {
for(int i=0;i<1000;i++) {
disruptor.publishEvent(eventTranslator);
}
}

public static void main(String[] args) {
FooBarDisruptor fooBarDisruptor=new FooBarDisruptor();
Disruptor disruptor=fooBarDisruptor.setup();
fooBarDisruptor.publish(disruptor);
}
}

The class FooBarDisruptor is where all the action happens. The ‘eventTranslator' is an entity which aids the publisher in publishing events to the ring buffer. It implements a method ‘translateTo' which gets invoked when the publisher is granted permission to publish the next event. fooHandler, barHandler and fooBarHandler are the event processors, and are objects of type ‘EventHandler'. Each of them implements a method ‘onEvent' which gets invoked once the event processor is granted access to a new event. The method ‘setup' is responsible for creating the disruptor, assigning the corresponding event handlers, and setting the dependency rules amongst them. The method ‘publish' is responsible for publishing a thousand events of the type ‘FooBarEvent' to the ring buffer.

In order to get the above code to work, you must download the disruptor jar file from http://code.google.com/p/disruptor/downloads/list and include the same in your classpath.

Conclusion
The disruptor is currently in use in the ultra efficient LMAX architecture, where it has proven to be a reliable model for inter thread communication and data sharing, reducing the end to end latency to a fraction of what queue based architectures provided. It does so using a variety of techniques, including replacing the array blocking queue with a ring buffer, getting rid of all locks, write contention and CAS operations (except in the scenario where one has multiple publishers), having each entity track its own progress by way of a sequence number, etc. Adopting this framework can greatly boost a developer's productivity in terms of coding a producer-consumer pattern, while at the same time aid in creating an end product far superior in terms of both design and performance to the legacy queue based architectures.

More Stories By Sanat Vij

Sanat Vij is a professional software engineer currently working at CenturyLink. He has vast experience in developing high availability applications, configuring application servers, JVM profiling and memory management. He specializes in performance tuning of applications, reducing response times, and increasing stability.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that mruby Forum will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. mruby is the lightweight implementation of the Ruby language. We introduce mruby and the mruby IoT framework that enhances development productivity. For more information, visit http://forum.mruby.org/.
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, will discuss how given the magnitude of today's applicati...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...
Amazon is pursuing new markets and disrupting industries at an incredible pace. Almost every industry seems to be in its crosshairs. Companies and industries that once thought they were safe are now worried about being “Amazoned.”. The new watch word should be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” In his session 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Kocher, a co-founder of Grey Heron, will address questions such as: What new areas is Amazon disrupting? How are they doing this? Where are they likely to go? What are th...
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they b...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SkyScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SkyScale is a world-class provider of cloud-based, ultra-fast multi-GPU hardware platforms for lease to customers desiring the fastest performance available as a service anywhere in the world. SkyScale builds, configures, and manages dedicated systems strategically located in maximum-security...