TCP Prethreaded Server, Main Thread

30.12 TCP Prethreaded Server, Main Thread accept

Our final server design using threads has the main thread create a pool of threads when it starts, and then only the main thread calls accept and passes each client connection to one of the available threads in the pool. This is similar to the descriptor passing version in Section 30.9.

The design problem is how does the main thread "pass" the connected socket to one of the available threads in the pool? There are various ways to implement this. We could use descriptor passing, as we did earlier, but there's no need to pass a descriptor from one thread to another since all the threads and all the descriptors are in the same process. All the receiving thread needs to know is the descriptor number. Figure shows the pthread08.h header that defines a Thread structure, which is identical to Figure.

Figure pthread08.h header.


1 typedef struct {
2     pthread_t thread_tid;       /* thread ID */
3     long    thread_count;       /* # connections handled */
4 } Thread;
5 Thread *tptr;                   /* array of Thread structures; calloc'ed */

6 #define MAXNCLI 32
7 int     clifd[MAXNCLI], iget, iput;
8 pthread_mutex_t clifd_mutex;
9 pthread_cond_t clifd_cond;

Define shared array to hold connected sockets

6–9 We also define a clifd array in which the main thread will store the connected socket descriptors. The available threads in the pool take one of these connected sockets and service the corresponding client. iput is the index into this array of the next entry to be stored into by the main thread and iget is the index of the next entry to be fetched by one of the threads in the pool. Naturally, this data structure that is shared between all the threads must be protected and we use a mutex along with a condition variable.

Figure is the main function.

Create pool of threads

23–25 thread_make creates each of the threads.

Wait for each client connection

27–38 The main thread blocks in the call to accept, waiting for each client connection to arrive. When one arrives, the connected socket is stored in the next entry in the clifd array, after obtaining the mutex lock on the array. We also check that the iput index has not caught up with the iget index, which indicates that our array is not big enough. The condition variable is signaled and the mutex is released, allowing one of the threads in the pool to service this client.

The thread_make and thread_main functions are shown in Figure. The former is identical to the version in Figure.

Wait for client descriptor to service

17–26 Each thread in the pool tries to obtain a lock on the mutex that protects the clifd array. When the lock is obtained, there is nothing to do if the iget and iput indexes are equal. In that case, the thread goes to sleep by calling pthread_cond_wait. It will be awakened by the call to pthread_cond_signal in the main thread after a connection is accepted. When the thread obtains a connection, it calls web_child.

The times in Figure show that this server is slower than the one in the previous section, in which each thread called accept after obtaining a mutex lock. The reason is that this section's example requires both a mutex and a condition variable, compared to just a mutex in Figure.

If we examine the histogram of the number of clients serviced by each thread in the pool, it is similar to the final column in Figure. This means the threads library cycles through all the available threads when doing the wakeup based on the condition variable when the main thread calls pthread_cond_signal.

Figure main function for prethreaded server.


 1 #include    "unpthread.h"
 2 #include    "pthread08.h"

 3 static int nthreads;
 4 pthread_mutex_t clifd_mutex = PTHREAD_MUTEX_INITIALIZER;
 5 pthread_cond_t clifd_cond = PTHREAD_COND_INITIALIZER;

 6 int
 7 main(int argc, char **argv)
 8 {
 9     int     i, listenfd, connfd;
10     void    sig_int(int), thread_make(int);
11     socklen_t addrlen, clilen;
12     struct sockaddr *cliaddr;

13     if (argc == 3)
14         listenfd = Tcp_listen(NULL, argv[1], &addrlen);
15     else if (argc == 4)
16         listenfd = Tcp_listen(argv[1], argv[2], &addrlen);
17     else
18         err_quit("usage: serv08 [ <host> ] <port#> <#threads>");
19     cliaddr = Malloc(addrlen);

20     nthreads = atoi(argv[argc - 1]);
21     tptr = Calloc(nthreads, sizeof(Thread));
22     iget = iput = 0;

23         /* create all the threads */
24     for (i = 0; i < nthreads; i++)
25         thread_make(i);         /* only main thread returns */

26     Signal(SIGINT, sig_int);

27     for ( ; ; ) {
28         clilen = addrlen;
29         connfd = Accept(listenfd, cliaddr, &clilen);

30         Pthread_mutex_lock(&clifd_mutex);
31         clifd[iput] = connfd;
32         if (++iput == MAXNCLI)
33             iput = 0;
34         if (iput == iget)
35             err_quit("iput = iget = %d", iput);
36         Pthread_cond_signal(&clifd_cond);
37         Pthread_mutex_unlock(&clifd_mutex);
38     }
39 }
Figure thread_make and thread_main functions.


 1 #include    "unpthread.h"
 2 #include    "pthread08.h"

 3 void
 4 thread_make(int i)
 5 {
 6     void   *thread_main(void *);

 7     Pthread_create(&tptr[i].thread_tid, NULL, &thread_main, (void *) i);
 8     return;                    /* main thread returns */
 9 }

10 void *
11 thread_main(void *arg)
12 {
13     int     connfd;
14     void    web_child(int);

15     printf("thread %d starting\n", (int) arg);
16     for ( ; ; ) {
17         Pthread_mutex_lock(&clifd_mutex);
18         while (iget == iput)
19             Pthread_cond_wait(&clifd_cond, &clifd_mutex);
20         connfd = clifd[iget];   /* connected socket to service */
21         if (++iget == MAXNCLI)
22             iget = 0;
23         Pthread_mutex_unlock(&clifd_mutex);
24         tptr[(int) arg].thread_count++;

25         web_child(connfd);      /* process request */
26         Close(connfd);
27     }
28 }

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