read-mostly data store: needs synchronization

Suppose a data store is infrequently updated, and only by a single writer thread, but is accessed frequently by many, many reader threads.

Q1: Can we cheat and skip some of the (expensive) locking?
A1: No. The writer could be in the middle of a multi-step update, so readers would see a half-updated data store

Q2: What if we somehow ensure the updates are never multi-step [1]?
A2: Unfortunately no, due to visibility failure. If a reader thread doesn’t synchronize, the crucial memory fencing would not occur and the reader may not notice a recent update, and use cached data instead.

[1] One way to do it — writer creates a new version of a record, and at last reseat a single pointer , as described in my AtomicReference blogpost https://wp.me/p74oew-s3

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s