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2.1 Global Pools with Virtual Leases

2 Reusing Disposables with Pools

Disposable values are often expensive to allocate and deallocate. Certain access and isolation patterns such as the per-thread instances created by acquire-virtual result in a large amount of allocation and deallocation of short-lived instances of disposables. To help support these use patterns, the disposable library provides disposable pools. Pools encapsulate a collection of instances of a disposable that are leased out when allocated and returned to the pool after use without being deallocated. Because this can result in permanently storing idle values in the pool without deallocating them, the pool itself is a disposable which allocates a nested disposable. The nested disposable allocated by the pool leases values from the pool when allocating. Various parameters are provided for tweaking the configuration of the pool’s size and tolerance of unused values.

All of the bindings documented in this section are provided by disposable.


(disposable-pool disp 
  [#:max max 
  #:max-idle max-idle 
  #:sync-release? sync-release?]) 
  (disposable/c disposable?)
  disp : disposable?
  max : (or/c exact-nonnegative-integer? +inf.0) = +inf.0
  max-idle : (or/c exact-nonnegative-integer? +inf.0) = 10
  sync-release? : boolean? = #f
Returns a disposable that allocates pools of values using disp. The returned disposable allocates a new pool and returns a lease disposable that leases values from the pool. Upon deallocation, the lease disposable returns the values to the pool as unused values. Unused values are reused for future leases. Returning a leased value to the pool will deallocate the value instead if the number of unused values is greater than max-idle.

If no idle values are available and more than max values are already in the pool, attempting to lease a value will block until a pooled value becomes available. When the pool disposable is deallocated, all values in the pool are deallocated and removed from the pool. Allocation of values by the pool is not concurrent; the pool will allocate multiple values serially if multiple clients request values concurrently.

Allocation and deallocation by the pool sets current-custodian to the custodian that was current when when the pool was allocated, not when a lease for that pool is allocated. As a result, different clients of a pool with different custodians may use values from the pool that are not managed by their custodian. Because a lease disposable is only obtainable by allocating a pool it’s expected that the leasing threads have custodians that are subordinate to the pool’s custodian, ensuring that a custodian shutdown of either the pool’s custodian or any lease’s custodian does not result in a lease returning allocated values whose custodian-managed resources (e.g. threads, ports, etc.) have already been reclaimed.

If sync-release? if #f (the default) leased values are returned to the pool asynchronously, preventing the leasing thread from potentially blocking on an expensive deallocation. This is not always desireable; in testing it’s useful to have predictable deallocation, and when using acquire or acquire-virtual where the lease is already disposed asynchronously it’s unnecessary.

> (define ex-pool (disposable-pool example-disposable))
> (with-disposable ([ex ex-pool])
    (displayln "Pool initialized")
    (with-disposable ([n ex])
      (printf "Acquired ~v from the pool\n" n))
    (with-disposable ([x ex] [y ex])
      (printf "Acquired ~v and ~v from the pool\n" x y))
    (displayln "Pool shutdown commencing"))

Pool initialized

Allocated 74

Acquired 74 from the pool

Allocated 10

Acquired 74 and 10 from the pool

Pool shutdown commencing

Deallocated 10

Deallocated 74

2.1 Global Pools with Virtual Leases

Virtual instances of disposables are exceptionally convenient, essentially providing thread-isolated resources "for free". However, for contexts where short lived threads are created very frequently (such as web servers), resource allocation and deallocation may be much more expensive than the cost of the work the thread performs with that resource. By combining acquire-virtual with a pooled disposable constructed by disposable-pool, we can get the best of both worlds: individual threads have isolated access to resources, but resources are automatically reused by threads to minimize expensive allocation and deallocation. Furthermore, by defining and acquiring the pool globally in a module with acquire-global, we can hide the use of disposables from client modules completely:

(define pool-lease
  (acquire-global (disposable-pool example-disposable
                                   #:sync-release? #t)))
(define get-resource (acquire-virtual pool-lease))
(provide get-resource)

Clients need only call (get-resource) to obtain a thread-specific allocated value. The pool is completely disposed only when the program is about to exit (more specifically, when the associated plumber is flushed). This is called the global pool with virtual lease pattern, and is appropriate for reusable resources accessed in isolation by short-lived tasks in a long-running program.