RTCORBA 1.0 Scheduling Service

Matt Murphy <murphym@cs.uri.edu>
University of Rhode Island

This is an implementation of the RTCORBA 1.0 Scheduling Service. Per section 3 of the RTCORBA 1.0 specification (OMG), the scheduling service is comprised of two local interfaces, a ClientScheduler and a ServerScheduler.

Build Issues:

Run tao_idl -I $TAO_ROOT/ RTCosScheduling.pidl. Run make -f Makefile.RTCosScheduling from ../


The RTCosScheduler allows clients to schedule tasks according to scheduling information determined a priori.  This scheduling information is stored in a config file so that both the client and the server has access to it.  (If the client and server exists on different nodes then place a copy of the config file on each node.)

Per the RTCORBA 1.0 spec, clients use a ClientScheduler object and servers use a ServerScheduler object to schedule activities on the system.  Since each may or may not use its scheduler, there are four possible scenarios in which the system may run.  These are:

1. Client uses ClientScheduler, Server uses ServerScheduler.  In this case the system follows the rules set forth in the "Scheduling Service" section of this document below.

2. Client uses ClientScheduler, Server does not use ServerScheduler. In this case activities are scheduled on the client and run at the mapped Real Time priority set forth in the config  file while executing on the client.  However, any activity on the server does not run at a real time priority.  This means that Multiprocessor Priority Ceiling Protocol does not manage activities on the server.  Currently, the client has no way of knowing that activity on the server did not follow the MPCP protocol.  Future enhancements to the RTCORBA 1.0 scheduling service should notify the client (perhaps through a flag to a client interceptor) that   the server did not use MPCP.  Please note that this scenario is generally  not recommended as there is a strong possibility for  priority inversion or unexpected blocking in this situation since any and all server activity that uses the ServerScheduler  will run at a higher priority that server activity that does not.   Use scenario 1 above.  Here, the server's priority lowers from  RTCORBA::maxPriority to RTCORBA::minPriority and things will  execute on a best effort basis.

3. Client does not use ClientScheduler, Server uses ServerScheduler.  In this case the client does not use priorities set forth in the config file.  The ServerScheduler, on the other hand, does use MPCP to schedule execution on the server.  It uses the priority sent to the server by the client, which is the default priority that the
   client ran at (since the client priority was not changed by schedule_activity().  This follows the scenario of the ServerScheduler set forth below.  Please note that it is recommended that you use scenario 1, above, instead so that the client sends appropriate priorities to the server.

4. Client does not use ClientScheduler, server does not use ServerScheduler.  In this case neither the client nor the server take advantage of  the RTCORBA 1.0 Scheduler.

Scheduling Service:

Clients wishing to use the ClientScheduler to schedule activities
must first create a local ClientScheduler object reference.  The
ClientScheduler is declared as:

RTCosScheduling_ClientScheduler_i (
   CORBA::ORB_var orb, /// Orb reference
   char* node,         /// Node the client resides on
   char* file);        /// Config file holding scheduling information

The ClientScheduler constructor parses the config file and populates an ACE_MAP with the activity/priority associations for the node on which the client resides.  It also constructs a ClientScheduler_Interceptor that adds a service context the send_request interceptor that contains the priority the client is running at when the call is made.

Once initialized, calls to the ClientScheduler schedule_activity(const char * activity_name) method will match the activity_name parameter to the CORBA priority value in the ACE_Map.  It linearly maps CORBA priority to a local OS priority and sets the local OS priority using RT Current.  If the activity name provided is not valid (i.e. not found in the config file), a RTCosScheduling::UnknownName exception is thrown.

The ClientScheduler also registers an client side interceptor with the orb.  This ClientScheduler_Interceptor finds the CORBA priority that the client is running at when the remote method call is made and adds this priority to a service context for the ServerScheduler_Interceptor to use.  Initial tests find that this interceptor adds 0.00015 seconds of execution on an Intel 3.0 GHz processor.


Servers that contain local objects that will accept CORBA calls must create a local ServerScheduler object.  The ServerScheduler uses TAO's PortableInterceptors to intercept incoming client requests and schedule execution on the server.  These interceptors are registered by the ORB_Core as explained in the create_POA method below. The ServerScheduler is defined as:

  RTCosScheduling_ServerScheduler_i (
    char *node,    /// Node the ServerScheduler resides on
    char *file,    /// Config file holding scheduling information
    char *shared_file,  /// File used for shared memory
    int numthreads);   /// Number of threads to create in the threadpool

During initialization, the ServerScheduler finds the appropriate node information in the config file and stores resources (key) on the node and the appropriate priority ceiling (value) in a map.  It also reads in the base priority for the resource.

The ServerScheduler constructor then registers the PortableInterceptors necessary to scheduler execution on the server.  It also set up the linear mapping policy and a reference to the RT Current object, both of which are used for adjusting the server's local OS priority when using the priority ceiling control protocol.

Once the ServerScheduler object is constructed, users may create an orb and establish any non real time POA policies they wish to install by calling the ServerScheduler's create_POA method.

ServerScheduler's create_POA method creates a real time POA that will set and enforce all non-real time policies.  This method also sets the real time POA to enforce the Server Declared Priority Model Policy and creates a threadpool responsible for executing calls to the server. Server Declared Priority Model is used so that the server threads may run at a high enough priority to intercept requests as soon as they come in. If Client Propagated Priority Ceilings were used, incoming requests would not be intercepted until all existing servant execution is completed.  This is because MPCP elevates the priority of servant execution to be higher than the client priorities.

Recall that the number of threads in the threadpool was supplied by the ServerScheduler constructor.  The create_POA method is defined as:

  virtual ::PortableServer::POA_ptr create_POA (
    PortableServer::POA_ptr parent,    /// Non RT POA parent
    const char * adapter_name,    /// Name for the POA
    PortableServer::POAManager_ptr a_POAManager,  /// Manager for the POA
    const CORBA::PolicyList & policies  /// List of non RT policies
    , PortableServer::POA::AdapterAlreadyExists
    , PortableServer::POA::InvalidPolicy

Once a RT POA has been created, schedule_object is called to store CORBA Object references (key) with a name (value) in an ACE_MAP.  An
RTCosScheduling::UnknownName exception is thrown if the schedule_object name parameter is not found in the resource map (i.e. it was not in the
config file.) The schedule_object method is declared as:

  virtual void schedule_object (
    CORBA::Object_ptr obj,  /// A CORBA object reference
    const char * name    /// Name to associate with obj
    , RTCosScheduling::UnknownName

Once all objects that will receive client requests have been scheduled using schedule_object, clients are free to make calls on those objects. The scheduling service interceptors catch these calls and perform the necessary priority ceiling control measures to ensure that the calls are executed in the appropriate order.  The ServerScheduler_Interceptor receive_request method intercepts all incoming request immediately since it is set to run at RTCORBA::maxPriority (the highest priority on the server OS).  It then gets the client priority sent in the service context as well as the resource ceiling for the object and the base priority for the server.
Initial tests indicate that the receive_request interceptor takes around 0.002 seconds to complete on an Intel 3.0 GHz processor.

Given these values it is able to use the Multiprocessor Priority Ceiling Protocol to schedule execution on the server to handle the request.  MPCP schedules all global critical sections at a higher priority than tasks on the local processor by adding the client priority to the base priority of the servant, then adding the resource ceiling of the resource to the base priority to find the appropriate priority ceiling. For more information about MPCP, please refer to the book "Real Time Systems", By Jane Liu (2000).

Please not that the locking mechanisms are stored in shared memory on the server.  This means that the locks cannot be stored in linked lists and are therefore manipulated using memory offsets.  The total number of locks that may be stored in shared memory is currently set at 1024.

When remote execution is complete the send_reply interceptor resets the thread to listen at RTCORBA::maxPriority and removes the task form the Invocation
list.  Initial test indicate that the send_reply interceptor takes 0.000075 seconds to complete on an Intel 3.0 GHz processor.

Scheduling Service Config File:

The scheduling service config file holds the information necessary to schedule the system.  Task and resource ceiling information is stored for each of the nodes as follows:

Node 1    /// The node name is 1

BP      6000  /// The base priority for the resource
Server1 1000   /// A list of resources and their priority ceiling
Server2 2000
END    /// The end of the resource list

Tasks:    /// A list of tasks that will execute on the node
Client1 1000
Client2 3000
Client3 5000
END    /// The end of the task list.

Please note that these associations are tab delimited.  Please do not include comments in the scheduling service config file.  The priorities associated
with each task and resource are considered to be CORBA priorities, and will be mapped to local OS level priorities using the Linear Mapping
model.  Per the OMG RT CORBA spec, CORBA priorities have a valid range up to 32767, where a larger value indicates a higher priority.  The current
config file assumes that the Multiprocessor Priority Ceiling Protocol is used.

Known Issues:

TAO does not currently support request buffering, and there are no immediate plans to do so.  Consequently, the RT CORBA 1.0 Scheduling Service is
limited in that it will only function properly in systems that do not require request buffering on the servant side.

There is a bug in TAO in which mapped priorities are mapped a second time when using Client Propagated Priority Ceiling Protocol.  This in effect
lowers the priority that the servant receives.  This happens to each priority, so there should be no effect on the system.

The config file assumes CORBA priorities in the range of 0 to 32767. The Linear Priority Mapping Manager will map these to valid local OS priorities.  Take care though, in determining the priority range in the config file, as low numbers or numbers very close in value may produce priority inversion and other issues.  For example, if the CORBA priorities used for three tasks are 100 200 300, these will all map to OS priority 1 in on some real time Linux systems. Please take this into
account when determining the CORBA priority range to use.

The 1.0 Scheduling service currently works with one orb and one POA. If someone tries to install more than one scheduling service (client or server side) on a single POA, then it should not add a second interceptor.  Please use a single scheduling service per POA.  Furthermore, there is a bug when more than one orb is created, an invalid policy exception is thrown during the second call to create_POA.  This bug is actively being investigated.  In the meantime please use the scheduling service with one ORB.

Future Enhancements:

The current RT CORBA 1.0 Scheduling Service uses a private method to read the config file.  This will soon be replaced with a new XML based config
file using ACE_XML to parse the config file.

Priority Lanes
Although not currently implemented, Priority Lanes and Thread Borrowing may increase performance as they would help to prevent lower priority tasks from exhausting all threads.  This is considered a possible future enhancement.

Client Interceptor
A client interceptor that sends a flag to notify the server interceptor if schedule_activity() was used to set the client priority.  If schedule_activity() was not used, then the server should probably not try and schedule server execution using MPCP.  Doing so adds competition to other method calls by other client requests that were scheduled with schedule_activity().


The Object Management Group, Real Time CORBA 1.0 Specification, www.omg.org
Liu, Jane, Real Time Systems, Prentice Hall, 2000