A load-balancing q server

The script can be used to start a load-balancing q server. The master server starts a number of slave servers (in the same host). Clients then send requests to the master server which, transparently to the client, choses a slave server with low CPU load, and forwards the request there.

This set-up is useful for read operations, such as queries on historical databases. Each query is executed in one of the slaves, hence writes are not replicated.

Starting the master server

The arguments are the number of slave servers, and the name of a q script that will be executed by the slave servers at start-up. Typically this script will read in a database from disk into memory.

$ q mserve.q -p 5001 2 startup.q

Client request

In the client, connect to the server with hopen

q)h: hopen `:localhost:5001

Syncronous messages are executed at the master.

q)h "xs: til 9"
q)h "xs"
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Asyncronous messages are forwarded to one of the slaves, transparently to the client. The below code issues an asynchronous request, then blocks on the handle waiting for a result to be returned. This is called deferred synchronous.

q)(neg h) "select sym,price from trade where size > 50000" ; h[]

Deferred synchronous requests can also be made from non-q clients. For example, the example grid viewer code can be modified to issue a deferred synchronous request rather than a synchronous request by sending an async request and blocking on the handle in exactly the same way. The line

model.setFlip((c.Flip) c.k(query));

should be modified to

model.setFlip((c.Flip) c.k());

Source code

The complete source code for mserve.q is quite short, and it is reproduced here for reference.

/ start slaves
{value"\\q ",.z.x[1]," -p ",string x}each p:(value"\\p")+1+til"I"$.z.x 0;

/ unix (comment out for windows)
\sleep 1

/ connect to slaves
h:neg hopen each p;h@\:".z.pc:{exit 0}";h!:()

/ fields queries. assign query to least busy slave
.z.ps:{$[(w:neg .z.w)in key h;[h[w;0]x;h[w]:1_h w];                    /response
 [h[a?:min a:count each h],:w;a("{(neg .z.w)@[value;x;`error]}";x)]]}  /request