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From Jordan Zimmerman <jor...@jordanzimmerman.com>
Subject Re: disconnected events and session expiration
Date Sun, 13 Sep 2015 14:04:59 GMT
You should make your session time long enough to cover the amount of time that you cannot tolerate
another process becoming the lock owner. In a partition, your ephemeral node is not deleted
until the session times out. So, if you need 20 seconds to gracefully shut down make your
session length at least 20 seconds. If you can't tolerate ANY timeout then you are really
trying to get around CAP and need to rethink your system. 

Jordan Zimmerman

> On Sep 13, 2015, at 6:28 AM, Simon <cocoa@gmx.ch> wrote:
> That didn’t really answer any of my questions. 
> If I own a lock, I am entitled to do some work exclusively. No one else should be doing
that work. If I get disconnected or the session times out I have to stop working. Somebody
else will take over the work in a short time. If I understood the programmers guide correctly,
the expired event will not be delivered to me until I reconnect. Correct? So, I have to use
the disconnected event to initiate a graceful stop. Stopping work might take some time, e.g.
because I am doing a REST service call that takes up to 20s. Let’s say doing the call twice
leads to data corruption in the backend service (e.g. HTTP POST, which is non idempotent).
So, ideally, if I am still running, I should try my best to complete normally. If the state
of the work units is kept in ZK, I cannot update the state anyway. If I store it in some other
datastore, I might be able to update the state or not (depending on how the network has been
> The more I think about it, the harder it seems to get this stuff working reliably. What
if my node crashes? I cannot complete my work normally. So, whoever takes over my work will
try to redo it anyways. Either the receiver is made idempotent (which is not always possible)
or the new work owner needs to be aware of the aborted task and be extra cautious, e.g. by
checking whether the work unit has completed or not. It seems to me that making the “crash”
case the default (i.e. “crash” the worker thread whenever a disconnected event is received)
is the best solution. Then I am forced to make the crash case robust. Guess that’s what
some people call “crash-only design”.
> Simon
>> On 13 Sep 2015, at 03:19 , Jordan Zimmerman <jordan@jordanzimmerman.com> wrote:
>> I used to advise that people treat Disconnected the same as session loss as it’s
safer. But, you can also set a timer when Disconnected is received and when your session timeout
elapses you can then consider session loss (note, use the negotiated value from the ZK handle).
FYI - version 3.0.0 of Apache Curator will have an option to choose this alternate method.
>> -Jordan
>>> On September 12, 2015 at 4:47:46 PM, Simon (cocoa@gmx.ch) wrote:
>>> Hi 
>>> I am trying to get a better understanding of Zookeeper and how it should be used.
Let’s talk about the lock recipe (http://zookeeper.apache.org/doc/r3.4.6/recipes.html#sc_recipes_Locks).
>>> - X aquires the lock 
>>> - X does some long running work (longer than the session timeout) 
>>> - X gets partioned away from the quorum while it was doing some work 
>>> - after some time (determined by the timeout passed to ZK) Y will aquire the
>>> In that situation both X and Y are holding the lock (unless X is acting properly).
If I understand the documentation correctly (http://zookeeper.apache.org/doc/r3.4.6/zookeeperProgrammers.html#ch_zkSessions),
X would receive a disconnected event in that situation (but not an expired event unless it
successfully reconnects). So, X should stop doing the work it is doing until it gets reconnected.
How much time does X have to stop the work it is doing? i.e. how long does it take from disconnected
event sent to X to expiration of the ephemeral node used for the lock? Having two clients
inside a critical section protected by a lock would not be a good idea. 
>>> Regards, 
>>> Simon

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