Recently I’ve been experimenting with the concept of a high-performance (high parallelism, high concurrency, low CPU/memory footprint) TCP server in Ada. Developing on top of Linux, you cannot help avoid the epoll(7) I/O event notification system.
Unlike my previous post on dynamic task creation in
Ada, this post won’t have much in the
way of sample code and walk-through. Mostly because I didn’t want to spend the
entire post explaining
If you’re currently unfamiliar with
epoll, I found this post from
interesting and useful. In general, I think that it is very useful to
understand how both
epoll(7) and its BSD-friendly pal
kqueue(2) work, and
how the two have influenced evented I/O systems that have become popular in the
past few years.
For my experiment, the primary challenge with using
epoll(7) is wrapping the
C code with Ada, which on its face this isn’t terribly difficult. That said,
mapping C arrays and other stupid pointer tricks that C libraries are prone to
using, can make writing an Ada binding much more difficult. I don’t
intend to dive too deep into how one can create such a binding since I think
Felix Krause’s post on writing thin/thick C bindings in
Ada is a pretty good introduction on
that subject. Personally I prefer “thicker” bindings for use in Ada, just as I
expect Ruby libraries to abstract away the more fickle aspects of the
underlying C API.
What I did want to share in this post was the actual working results of my tinkering, which can be found here, on GitHub.
The basic flow of the program (found in
main.adb) is similar to the example
found in the
epoll(7) man page, in that it sets up the
epollfd, binds the
listening to it and then waits for
Epoll.Wait to return with an array of
socket descriptors which have activity on them.
My next step is to combine this basic epoll binding with my previous task related code and create a TCP server which uses a task pool to perform “work” on the incoming sockets given to it by an epoll-listener task.