I am looking to replace a framework from the ground up. It works as it is, but I've been tasked with understanding it, so I want to know if anyone else recognizes any glaring design issues that I could address in a re-write. Currently, the system works as follows:

  • Server/producer very quickly inserts data into shared memory
    • These data are organized as a series of ~10,000 fixed-length lists of structs in a circular buffer
    • There may be between 0-25 clients for each of these 10,000 buffers
  • Clients read every single update made to shared memory, decide whether or not they're interested, and process the data accordingly.
    • Clients make sure to keep up with the circular buffer via a little arithmetic (am I behind, caught up, or have I been lapped by the server?)
    • Client interest in a given update is determined by checking their own fixed-length array for a relevant pointer. If none is found, the update is skipped.
    • If less than an arbitrary number of updates take place in the space it took for the client to catch up, then the client sleeps for a few microseconds.

Other than just removing the sleep, I feel like there's a lot of room for improvement in this design. The environment appears to be event-driven (new data comes in, stuff happens) yet there are polling mechanisms in play here. However, if having the producer remain unencumbered by any number of consumers is a top priority (which it is) I really don't know what an appropriate design is.

I envision some sort of system where clients can subscribe only to certain types of shared memory updates, to be notified when they arrive. This implies a third program - some kind of go-between for the producer and consumer. Surely this would be hugely resource intensive and not very efficient?

Any help would be appreciated, and of course I'll clarify anything I can to better present this question for an answer. =)

  • 3
    Is there a specific problem that you're trying to fix? As written it sounds a lot like the LMAX Disruptor, which is considered an excellent solution to the specific problem it's trying to solve. That may not be the problem that you're trying to solve, but you don't describe your problem, so... – kdgregory Feb 7 '17 at 19:53
  • I had to Google that, of course, and will have to do more reading. However, yes, this is a financial problem I'm trying to solve. Quite simply, it's the system that provides market feed data to the various strategies on a given server. The incoming prints and quotes are why it appears to be more like an event driven environment to me. – musasabi Feb 7 '17 at 20:23
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    How are you preventing the numerous opportunities for race conditions? – Frank Hileman Feb 9 '17 at 20:17

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