Re: Serious concurrency problems on fast systems

Robert Klemme <>
Wed, 02 Jun 2010 07:36:45 +0200
On 02.06.2010 06:57, Mike Schilling wrote:

"Arne Vajh=F8j" <> wrote in message

On 01-06-2010 00:21, Kevin McMurtrie wrote:

I've been assisting in load testing some new high performance servers=

running Tomcat 6 and Java 1.6.0_20. It appears that the JVM or Linux =


suspending threads for time-slicing in very unfortunate locations.

That should not come as a surprise.

The thread scheduler does not examine the code for convenience.

Correct code must work no matter when the in and out of
CPU happens.

High performance code must work efficiently no matter when the
in and out of CPU happens.

example, a thread might suspend in Hashtable.get(Object) after a call=


getProperty(String) on the system properties. It's a synchronized
global so a few hundred threads might pile up until the lock holder
resumes. Odds are that those hundreds of threads won't finish before
another one stops to time slice again. The performance hit has a ton =


hysteresis so the server doesn't recover until it has a lower load th=


before the backlog started.

The brute force fix is of course to eliminate calls to shared
synchronized objects. All of the easy stuff has been done. Some
operations aren't well suited to simple CAS. Bottlenecks that are par=


of well established Java APIs are time consuming to fix/avoid.

High performance code need to be designed not to synchronize

If the code does and there is a performance problem, then fix
the code.

There are no miracles.

Though giving a thread higher priority while it holds a shared lock
isn't exactly rocket science; VMS did it back in the early 80s. JVMs
could do a really nice job of this, noticing which monitors cause
contention and how long they tend to be held. A shame they don't.

I can imagine that changing a thread's priority frequently is causing
severe overhead because the OS scheduler has to adjust all the time.
Thread and process priorities are usually set once to indicate overall
processing priority - not to speed up certain operations. Also,
changing the priority does not guarantee anything - there could be other =

threads with higher priority around.

I don't think it's a viable approach - especially if applied to fix
broken code (or even design).

Kind regards


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