WLM even distribution of HTTP requests

The z/OS workload management (WLM) component supports distributing incoming HTTP requests without servant affinity in a round robin manner across the servants. This functionality is intended for, but not limited to long lasting HTTP session objects that are maintained in memory, stateless session EJB, and the create method for stateful session enterprise beans. We can configure the product to use this functionality to spread HTTP requests among active servants that are currently bound to the same work queue as the inbound requests.

The following diagram represents one clustered server instance. The azsr01 cluster contains the azsr01a application server instance. In the application server instance is a controller, the workload manager (WLM) queue, and the servants where applications run. The controller is the HTTP and IIOP termination point. The WLM queue controls the flow of work from the controller to one of the servants. Each of the servants contains worker threads that select work from the WLM queue.

Figure 1. The contents of one clustered server instance

In the preceding diagram, the application server is configured to have the minimum and maximum number of servants set to three.

There are WLM definitions for the application servers in this cluster. All of the requests for any application server instance in the azsr01 cluster are assigned to the same service class. The WLM classification rules assign all enclaves that are running in the azsr01a application server to the AZAMS1 service class. See the following diagrams for an example of the WLM service class definition and the classification rules.

Figure 2. The WLM service class definition

Figure 3. The WLM CB subsystem classification rules

   Subsystem-Type  Xref  Notes  Options  Help                                --------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Modify Rules for the Subsystem Type    Row 11 to 20 of 20
 Command ===> ____________________________________________ SCROLL ===> CSR                                                                               Subsystem Type . : CB          Fold qualifier names?   Y  (Y or N)          Description  . . . Component Broker requests                                                                                                            Action codes:   A=After     C=Copy        M=Move     I=Insert rule                          B=Before    D=Delete row  R=Repeat   IS=Insert Sub-rule                                                                  More ===>               --------Qualifier--------               -------Class--------      Action    Type       Name     Start                Service     Report                                                DEFAULTS: AZAMS1      RBBDEFLT      ____  1  CN         AZSR01   ___                  AZAMS1      RAZAMS1       ____  1  CN         AZSR02   ___                  AZAMS2      RAZAMS2       ____  1  CN         AZSR03   ___                  AZAMS3      RAZAMS3     ****************************** BOTTOM OF DATA *****************************

The product supports the use of HTTP session objects in memory for application servers with multiple servants, also known as the hot servant strategy. In the following diagram, two users accessed an application in the azsr01a application server instance. User 1 established an HTTP session object in servant 3. User 2 established an HTTP session object in servant 2.

Figure 4. Users establish HTTP session objects

When a user accesses a servant region without an established HTTP session object , no servant region affinity exists. Therefore, the request can be dispatched to any servant that is available. WLM might start a new servant if all of the following conditions exist:

When multiple servants are bound to the same service class, WLM attempts to dispatch the new requests to a hot servant. A hot servant has a recent request dispatched to it and has threads available. If the hot servant has a backlog of work, WLM dispatches the work to another servant.

Normally running this hot servant strategy is good because the hot servant likely has all its necessary pages in storage, has the just-in-time (JIT) compiled application methods saved close by, and has a cache full of data for fast data retrieval. However, this strategy presents a problem in the following situations:

In the last situation, an undesired skew in the distribution of HTTP session objects is the result. In the following diagram, most of the HTTP session objects were assigned to servant 1.

Figure 5. HTTP Session objects assigned to a hot servant

A large percentage of HTTP session objects reside in one or two servants because most of the time, there are not enough requests in the WLM queue to warrant dispatching work among many servants. This behavior can lead to the following undesirable results.

If the configuration experiences one of the described situations that cause a problem with the hot servant strategy, we can configure the application server to support the distribution of incoming HTTP requests across servants without servant affinity. When you enable this functionality, the application server uses a round-robin distribution of HTTP requests to the servants.

In the following example, assume that the application server was configured to use the round-robin distribution of HTTP requests among the servants and multiple servants are started for the work queue requests that have the same service class assigned.

When a new HTTP request without affinity arrives on a work queue, the WLM checks to see if there is a servant that has at least one worker thread waiting for work. If there are no available worker threads in any servants, WLM queues the request until a worker thread in any of the servants becomes available. If there are available worker threads, WLM finds the servant with the smallest number of affinities. If there are servant regions with equal number of affinities, then WLM dispatches the work to the servant region with the smaller number of busy server threads.

The goal of this algorithm is for WLM to balance the incoming requests without servant affinity among waiting servants while considering changing conditions. The algorithm does not blindly assign requests to servers in a true round-robin manner. The following diagram shows the balanced distribution of HTTP session objects across servants.

Figure 6. HTTP Session objects assigned to servants without affinity

This distribution mechanism works for all inbound requests without affinity. After the HTTP session object is created, all the client requests are directed to that servant until the HTTP session object is removed.

If we decide to enable the distribution of incoming HTTP requests without servant affinity, we might need to make some changes to your classification mapping file. If we have set up the classification mapping file to specify more than one transaction class on a mapping rule for the managed round robin support that the product provides, you should remove this section from the classification mapping file.

Related tasks

  • Controlling the minimum and maximum number of servants