[erlang-questions] Restarting processes

Mats Cronqvist <>
Thu Mar 29 12:16:33 CEST 2007


Daniel Ginsburg wrote:
> In my application I have a demultiplexing process and few worker
> processes. The workers subscribe to events, the demultiplexor gets
> requests from the network, and distributes them to the workers, which
> handle them as appropiate.
> 
> The demultiplexor monitors (erlang:monitor) the workers, so when a
> worker terminates without unsubscribing, the demultiplexor cleans the
> subscription data.
> 
> Now, what if the demultiplexor itself die? Ok, demultiplexor's
> supervisor will restart it. But what about the workers? I don't want to
> terminate and restart them, because workers carry quite a few state and
> I don't want that state to be lost. So, I need my workers to resubscribe
> to restarted demux. How can I handle it nicely?
> 
> I can have workers to monitor the demux. It solves a part of the
> problem: the workers would be notified if old demux die and try to
> resubscribe to new demux getting it's pid via
> whereis(demux_registered_name). But what if a worker get {'DOWN', ...}
> message and tries to resubscribe, but the demux isn't restarted yet or
> haven't finished the init stage? Cleary a race contidition. I can
> introduce a small delay after the {'DOWN, ...} message and attempted
> resubscription, but this approach seems to be a bit ugly.
> 
> What I want to do is to have a some way for demux to announce "Hey, I've
> just restarted and forgot all my subscribers. Now I'm operational again.
> Whoever interested may resubscribe". Supervisors seem to be a natural
> choice to relay that king of messages, since they are always there. But
> it appears that OTP supervisors cannot do that. How do you handle this
> kind of problems in your applications?
> 

   i can see two easy ways to do this.
   in either case the workers should monitor the demux.
   * the workers poll on the demux registered name.
   * the demux has an ets table with all worker pids, and notify them at startup.

   mats



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