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Mach based OS X Interprocess Communication (Obsolete)

==Mach based IPC Design==

==Current status of this design:== The design described here is currently not used on OS X. Please see the Interprocess Communication design doc for coverage of the current implementation for all platforms. A reference implementation of Mach based IPC including a kqueue bridge can be found in issue 5308.

In 2015, another consideration was given to using Mach IPC, and the results of that survey are here. ==Rationale for not using Mach based IPC:== Chrome handles network communication and IPC messages on the same thread. Sockets are waited on using kqueues via libevent. Although there is a constant defined in the kqueue headers on OS X (EVFILTER_MACH in sys/event.h), there is currently no way to block on both a socket and a mach port at once, this means that our only option is to spawn another thread to bridge Mach messages to kqueue. Our reference implementation does this by opening a pipe between both threads and writing a byte each time a Mach message is received. Because of this extra step, we now need to pay the price both of receiving a Mach message and communicating via a pipe between threads. We've timed this approach and found it to be 10uSec slower on Desktops & 20uSecs faster on laptops than a pure pipe based implementation. If you look at the measurements at the bottom of this document, you can see that most of the messages Chrome sends are very small. So the performance benefits of Mach messages over pipes are negligible. Thus our decision at this time is to use the same approach as Linux. If we run into problems at a later date with a pipe-based implementation we can revert to the Mach-based one.

==Mach based IPC:==

Summary of departures from current Windows architecture:


This class basically needs to be rewritten to use Mach ports, we require a bidirectional communication mechanism able to transfer arbitrarily sized messages. This means we need to create two Mach ports (Server->Client & Client->Server).

==Establishing Communications:==

(From chrome/common/ipc_channel.h)

enum Mode {




IPC::Channel::Channel(const std::wstring& channel_id, Mode mode, Listener* listener);

bool Connect();

When a Channel is created in Server mode it creates a Mach port and registers it with the Bootstrap server using the channel_id prefixed with the string 'chrome_'. It then sets waiting_connect_ to false.

When a Child process is started, it's passed the channel id and an authorization token via stdin (since that's not visible to other processes on the system).

When a Channel is opened in Client mode, the Channel ID is looked up on the Bootstrap server. The client then creates a Mach port for incoming messages, it sends a Hello message to the server containing port rights to its incoming port and the authorization token sent over the pipe.

Upon receiving a Hello message, the Server verifies the token, if it's valid, it stores the send port rights and sets waiting_connect_ to false.


==Sending Messages:==

(From chrome/common/ipc_channel.h)

bool Send(Message* message);

Mach ports have a fixed queue size, we want to be able to send arbitrary numbers of messages without blocking.

Messages to send over the wire are queued up on the Server side in an std::vector<Message*>, we specify a timeout value when sending a Mach message, if the send times out then we set a delayed task to attempt to resend the message after a delta.

When IPC::Channel::Send() is called, we attempt to send out all the messages in our outgoing queue until we block.

==Receiving messages:==

Messages can be an size up to 256MB, this presents a problems since we don't want to allocate a 256MB buffer to receive messages into.

We can allocate an input buffer of a reasonable size, and specify the MACH_RCV_LARGE flag when receiving messages, if the message doesn't fit into our buffer then we get a chance to dynamically allocate a new receive buffer and stick our data in there.

We will probably also want to look at large messages and send those over as OOL transfer (OS X Internals 9.5.5) so that they're transferred with copy-on-write semantics.

==Security:== The initial security token provides security in the face of rogue client processes trying to connect back to a server, we can use the OS X Authorization Services API & AuthorizationMakeExternalForm() to generate the token.

We can make use of Mach's sender security token (OS X Internals to prevent processes not owned by the user from communicating with the server.

==Rationale for using Mach ports:==

==Current Windows implementation:==

The IPC::Channel object (chrome/common/ipc_channel.h) sends/receives discrete messages [length/byte array] over a bidirectional named pipe. Messages are limited to be less than 256MB, but can otherwise be of arbitrary size. The pipe name is passed as a parameter to new rendering processes. This is useful for debugging purposes since you can connect an arbitrary rendering process to a browser instance. ==Sharing resources between processes:== Windows OS Handles can be shared between processes by calling DuplicateHandle(), this duplicates the handle into the target process and returns an ID valid in that process. This ID can then be sent as POD over the IPC Channel . This is very convenient since it means that they can just be wrapped in an arbitrary messagen and send over the wire, but it's a very Windows-specific capability. There are currently 45 calls to DuplicateHandle() in the code (Not all of these are necessarily used for IPC). ==OS X Implementation:== We basically have two options for implementation here worth discussing: ==FIFO:== ==Advantages:==


==Mach ports:== ==Advantages:==


==Performance Considerations==

What follows are the results of some benchmarks we ran contrasting Mach messaging and FIFO's. We tested Mach ports using both inline & out of line (OOL) data transfer. Inline transfer means the payload is transferred as part of the message and copied into the receiving process. OOL remaps the memory area using copy-on-write semantics.

The executive summary is that Mach messages are faster than FIFOs on OS X, especially if we transfer messages larger than a certain threshold using OOL.

==Technical Detail:==

The tables below contain the results from the following test programs:

Our testing methodology was to send over 2000 messages, times are in uSec and the ones shown represent the 98th percentile of the measured data. Variance of all values is ~10uSec, possibly higher. ==Discussion:==

Inline Mach messages take a performance hit for message sizes >5K, below that they are ~1.5X FIFOS on a 4 core Mac desktop and 280%-1000% faster than FIFOs a Laptop.

The desktop/laptop difference is something we see consistently. OOL transfer has a constant overhead of ~30uSec which appears to be a clear win over any method that copies data between processes.

==The data (times in uSec +/- 10uSec):== Laptop: Packet Size (bytes) Mach Mach OOL FIFO % min(Mach,Mach OOL) better than FIFO 100 29 35 112 386 200 10 37 121 1210 500 11 36 124 1127 1024 9 36 115 1277 2048 28 37 131 467 3072 11 39 129 1172 4096 11 29 128 1163 5120 13 31 127 976 6144 51 30 134 446 7168 46 30 133 443 8192 51 32 215 671 9216 57 30 218 726 1048576 1477 29 2873 9906 5242880 11079 39 10924 28010 7340032 15144 38 14184 37326 Desktop:

Packet Size (bytes) Mach Mach OOL FIFO % min(Mach,Mach OOL) better than FIFO 100 10 26 29 290 200 11 26 30 272 500 12 29 30 250 1024 11 34 30 272 2048 15 36 31 206 3072 16 39 32 200 4096 14 29 36 257 5120 19 25 37 194 6144 66 27 34 125 7168 53 26 38 146 8192 70 26 59 226 9216 81 25 66 264 1048576 1822 33 2623 7948 5242880 11536 37 13125 35472 7340032 15693 41 17960 43804

Distribution of IPC Message Sizes In The Current Windows Implementation

The following histogram was added to IPC::Channel::Send(), and measures an hour long browsing session including Gmail, YouTube, Hulu, CNN and other random sites. We see that:

Histogram: IPC.MessageSize recorded 37573 samples, average = 86.4, standard deviation = 329.5

0 ...

12 ---------------------O (4387 = 11.7%) {0.0%}

16 ----O (990 = 2.6%) {11.7%}

21 -----------------------------------O (9307 = 24.8%) {14.3%}

28 O (10 = 0.0%) {39.1%}

37 O (8 = 0.0%) {39.1%}

49 ------------------------------------------------------------------------O (19123 = 50.9%) {39.1%}

65 --O (614 = 1.6%) {90.0%}

86 O (38 = 0.1%) {91.7%}

113 O (113 = 0.3%) {91.8%}

149 O (34 = 0.1%) {92.1%}

196 O (110 = 0.3%) {92.2%}

258 --O (663 = 1.8%) {92.4%}

340 ---O (783 = 2.1%) {94.2%}

448 --O (653 = 1.7%) {96.3%}

590 --O (443 = 1.2%) {98.0%}

777 -O (198 = 0.5%) {99.2%}

1023 O (72 = 0.2%) {99.7%}

1347 O (6 = 0.0%) {99.9%}

1774 O (5 = 0.0%) {99.9%}

2336 O (1 = 0.0%) {100.0%}

3077 ...

12196 O (15 = 0.0%) {100.0%}

16063 ...