[erlang-questions] process priority

Mazen Harake mazen.harake@REDACTED
Tue Jul 5 09:57:30 CEST 2011

Writing to mnesia/dets requires no locking, nothing mentionable
anyway, since the messages (internal ones) are serialized just like
your gen_server will have its messages serialized (also, use
dirty-operations). This creates end to end flow control, actually even
more so because you won't need the extra process (your logging
process) in between the write.

Perhaps your small 100B messages work so well with delayed_write
because you can write many of them to memory before they are flushed
to a file thus not hogging the disk, but I the bigger messages you
have the larger your in memory size needs to be to to avoid this.
Delayed write does of course work well but I have experience that says
that writing and buffering it up in tables can be helpful to avoid
disk thrashing when messages are large (or higher volume). I don't
remember exactly how much throughput we had (and I don't want to guess
since it will be mere speculation without having hard data) but it
helped immensely.

So I guess OP now have 2 suggestions which of course isn't bad ;)

One should also keep in mind though that different situation may have
different needs, would be interesting to see how they would measure


On 4 July 2011 19:56, Jachym Holecek <freza@REDACTED> wrote:
> # Mazen Harake 2011-07-04:
>> My 2 cents.
>> Generally, writing straight to disk is a bad thing. You should have a
>> table (ets/mnesia) where you write your log lines and a process that
>> periodically flushes it to disk. Depending on your system load this
>> will help immensely.
> The other way around actually! :) Pass log items to gen_server in synchronous
> calls, that gives you end-to-end flow control. Use file in raw mode, leverage
> delayed_write flag. Make sure your gen_server has minimal processing overhead.
> Any kind of per-item processing in the server is a clear no-go, do all
> formatting in caller's context. It helps to do iolist_to_binary/1 in some
> carefully chosen callsites -- but you won't need that, following the above
> principles will give you a fast-enough solution (sustained load of >50k
> messages per second -- iolists about 100B in size -- is no problem, I've seen
> something like 70k peak with our logging library). Of course you don't want
> to have one logger process for the whole system, instead make it easy for
> each application to open as many as it needs for its audit logs, event logs,
> trace logs and such.
> Using ETS is of course doable, but locking overhead is about the same or
> higher than with plain message passing, you lose all flow control thus
> risking memory explosion (I have a nice graph handy demonstrating that,
> but probably can't publish it), and you copy every messsage twice instead
> of just once. (I don't have measurements on the locking and copying stuff,
> it's my recollection of reading relevant bits of ERTS -- could be wrong.)
>> In very rare cases you would tweak the process priorities and if you
>> do you should consider if your solution is "wrong" rather than the
>> priority being the bad guy.
> I agree with this.
> BR,
>        -- Jachym

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