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From Emmanuel Lecharny <elecha...@gmail.com>
Subject [MINA 3.0] Thougts about the selectors
Date Thu, 04 Feb 2010 12:53:50 GMT
I have reviewed the way we use the Selector in MINA 2.0. Here are some 
of the thoughts I have about teh way we use them for Sockets :

We currently have a system built on top of three elements :
- IoAcceptor on the server side
- IoConnector on the client side
- IoProcessor which are processing the messages received or sent

IoAcceptor and IoConnector are just two sides of the same coin : a 
IoService. The only difference is that the Connector initiates the 

Nio Sockets
In order to deal with incoming connections, the IoAcceptor uses a 
Selector on which are registered the ServerSocketChannel for the 
OP_ACCEPT event. On the client side, we have the same Selector but the 
ServerSocket is registered for the OP_CONNECT event.

In both case, once the session is connected/accepted, the associated 
Channel is attached to another Selector, itself associated with an 

Here, I'm questioning the fact that we use more than one Selector to 
handle connect/accept  and read/write operations. The select() operation 
is not specially costly, even if it does a lot of things :
- deregister the canceled channels
- each channel which has had some operation since the last select is put 
to a set of selected keys
- deregister the canceled channels again (for channel which has been 
canceled while the step 2 was processed)
- return the number of keys found ready in step 2

but all in all, this is a fast operation, as it just reads some bit 
fields to determinate if something has changed since the last select. 
Even if we have one million registered keys in the selector, first the 
number of active channel will be low, and second the processing time for 
this step is very minimal compared to the application processing time.

Now, wouldn't it be better to have only one selector, and then dispatch 
the tasks to some processor?

On the server side, we have to deal with :
- newly added sessions
- recently closed sessions
- incoming data
- outgoing data

On the client side, we have to deal with :
- newly connected sessions
- recently closed sessions
- incoming data
- outgoing data

each of those tasks can be processed by a separate thread selected in a 
thread pool. IMO, it may be better than the current architecture where 
we have a pool of IoProcessor, each one of them having its own Selector, 
and no thread to process the events. For instance, if we have 3 
IoProcessor (the default value for a dual core processor), then we can 
only process 3 events in parallel. Pretty inefficient...

Emmanuel L├ęcharny

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