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Subject: [Boost-users] boost::this_thread::sleep
From: Sargrad, Dave (Dave.Sargrad_at_[hidden])
Date: 2012-02-01 06:07:59

Our software runs on both linux and solaris platforms. Our threads use boost threads, and will sleep using boost::this_thread::sleep(millisec)

On solaris we are using prstat to monitor the process and lightweight process details.

Prstat allows one to see thread level detail by using the –Lm option (prstat -Lm -p pid)

In this case a variety of information is output per thread (see prstat reference link at bottom of e-mail): for example system time (SYS), user time (USR), sleep time (SLP), and user lock time (LCK).

The user lock time is time spent waiting by a thread for synchronization (protected) resources.

Interestingly all of our threads show up with a high-level of user lock time. Wanting to understand this I spent time today isolating the user lock time to the call to boost::this_thread::sleep(1000).

When our thread did nothing but wake up and go back to sleep for 1000 milliseconds the thread would show up with 100% LCK rather than 100% SLP.

As an experiment I replaced the single call to boost::this::thread::sleep(1000) with a comparable call to nanosleep(). In this case the thread shows up as 100% SLP, rather than 100% LCK (and looks more like what I would have expected).

Having read a bit more about the boost::this_thread::sleep I believe that this may be because the boost sleep implementation actually uses a mutex (synchronization object) and hence the thread really is waiting for a synchronization resource.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this “100 % locked” indicator for our threads is not necessarily indicative of a problem, rather it is just an artifact of the boost::this_thread::sleep implementation.

I’m still a bit queasy about this and would like some confirmation from the experts. Is the fact that our boost threads (when sleeping) show up as 100% locked rather than 100% sleeping a problem, or is it just an artifact of the boost thread implementation?


As a point of reference pls see the following link, it talks to the LCK output of prstat.

Please see the section labeled: prstat usage Scenario – Excessive Locking

Thanks in advance for any insights in this regard.
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