[erlang-questions] Configuring Messaging Back Pressure

Fri Nov 21 13:23:46 CET 2014


The reciprocal case (M producers and N consumers, with M >> N) may also be 
a problem. 

I can share a simple program which seems to show that the retaliation upon 
the producers is at least in some cases (where M is the number of cores of 
the machine minus 1, and N=1) insufficient: the program will crash and 
burn, exhausting the memory because of the mailbox of the consumer 
becoming too large. Ideally the back-pressure would increase steadily 
until the mailbox of the producer decreases below reasonable limits. 
Currently, I think that the developer has either to tune M by hand (which 
would depend on the hardware resources...), or to perform some explicit 
yielding (with timer:sleep(1) on the producers). Neither of them is very 

More generally, couldn't we hope that the scheduling logic could cope with 
at least most of the M producers-N consumers scenarios, without resorting 
to hints from the developer like specifying a process flag or performing 
explicit yielding? Maybe (for the M >> N case) it is just a matter of 
heavier punishing (ex: ultimately exponential) whenever the receiving 
mailbox becomes too large. 


Olivier Boudeville

EDF R&D : 1, avenue du Général de Gaulle, 92140 Clamart, France
Département SINETICS, groupe ASICS (I2A), bureau B-226
Office : +33 1 47 65 59 58 / Mobile : +33 6 16 83 37 22 / Fax : +33 1 47 
65 27 13

Envoyé par : 
21/11/2014 11:27



Re: [erlang-questions] Configuring Messaging Back Pressure

On 21 Nov 2014 04:53, "Andy Till" <> wrote:
Short outline of how erts_use_sender_punish works, please comment if there 
are any errors in the description.

erts_use_sender_punish is a flag hard coded to 1 (true), when it is true a 
process sending messages to another process will have its reduction count 
reduced by the number of messages in the receivers message queue 
multiplied by four.  Sending messages to processes with zero messages in 
the queue is free in terms of reductions, but sending messages to load 
queues is very expensive and will lead the scheduler to context switch to 
another process more often.

In the case where the the relationship between of producers and consumers 
is one to one, this makes sense.  It provides back pressure when part of 
the system is loaded.

In the case where there is one producer to many consumers, if one consumer 
gets a flood of messages and the producer is punished then the punishment 
is not only on the producer but on all other consumers because the 
producer cannot create enough work for them as it used all of its 

This makes performance unpredictable when work cannot be spread evenly.

Could this be made to be configurable using a process flag?







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