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Subject DO NOT REPLY [Bug 49730] New: Race condition in StandardThreadExecutor : requests are sometimes enqueued instead of creating new threads
Date Mon, 09 Aug 2010 20:16:09 GMT

           Summary: Race condition in StandardThreadExecutor : requests
                    are sometimes enqueued instead of creating new threads
           Product: Tomcat 6
           Version: 6.0.29
          Platform: Macintosh
            Status: NEW
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: Catalina

In tomcat 6, I often configure an Executor with minSpareThreads=0 to work
around memory leak issues upon redeployment.

Sometimes (especially in development), when I refresh a page of my webapp with
Safari, Chrome or Firefox, some resources of the page take several seconds
(>10s) to be served though they are static resources and should come in less
than 50ms. For instance, over 15 requests for a page (1 for html, the others
for resources like js, css, images...), I sometimes have 1 or 2 that take >10s. 

After analysis, I found that in
org.apache.catalina.core.StandardThreadExecutor.TaskQueue.offer(Runnable) the
if (parent.getActiveCount()<(parent.getPoolSize()))
is sometimes true unexpectedly. Here is the scenario :

- ThreadPoolExecutor is empty
- the user refreshes the page (or accesses it with an empty cache) in his web
browser for a page that uses a more than 10-15 resources
- the browser establishes one TCP connection and a new Thread is created
- after the browser receives the response, it decides to load as many resources
as possible in parallel. For this it establishes up to 6 TCP connections (in my
- The Acceptor thread calls StandardThreadExecutor.execute to process each
incoming connection.
- For each call, StandardThreadExecutor.TaskQueue.offer(Runnable) is being
- if you study the sources of Java 6 ThreadPoolExecutor, you can see that
there's a small delay between the time a new Thread is created (thus increasing
poolSize) and the time it starts working on its first task (increasing the
- Since in my case connections are established in a rapid burst, the calls to
TaskQueue.offer() are sometimes faster than this small delay, so that we do
have parent.getActiveCount()<parent.getPoolSize() and thus the task is enqueued
instead of forcing the creation of a thread to serve it.
- Since Keep-Alive is enabled and tomcat 6 threads take care of only one TCP
connection at a time, the requests in the queue must wait for the keep-alive
timeout so that a Thread is returned to the pool to serve pending tasks.
- With 25s keepAliveTimeOut, it means that some requests take more than 25s to
be served eventhough the pool was never full and the server quite idle!!!

Other facts about this issue :
- Although my test case starts with an empty pool, it can occur even on a
loaded server. The thing that triggers the issue is the burst of new TCP
- The problem is less severe with a lower keepAliveTimeout, or if keepalive is
disabled. In any case, it also depends on the time taken to serve current
- The issue also affects tomcat 7 but is less severe because tc7 threads are
returned to the pool after each http request, even if the TCP connection is
kept alive. The impact would the same as with tc6 with keepAlive disabled.

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