Copyright (C) 1994, Digital Equipment Corporation           
 All rights reserved.                                        
 See the file COPYRIGHT for a full description.              
 Created by Carsten Weich and Greg Nelson                    
 Last modified on Thu Jan 19 13:09:06 PST 1995 by kalsow     
      modified on Thu Jan 12 09:31:24 PST 1995 by chaiken    
      modified on Tue Sep 27 11:53:14 PDT 1994 by weich      

A {\it stable object} is an object whose state is stored on the disk or other medium whence its state can be recovered if a program crashes.

The generic interface Stable defines a subtype of a given object type that is just like that object type, but stable. The generic argument to Stable is an interface named Data, which is assumed to contain an object type named Data.T. Thus the type Stable(Data).T is like a Data.T, but stable. In case of a failure (of either the program or the system) such objects can recover by resuming their last recorded state.

The state of a stable object is stored as a checkpoint together with a redo log; the log contains entries for all updates performed since the last checkpoint. These updates are recorded by logging a number identifying an update method, together with the arguments of the method. The typical cost for an update is therefore on the order of the cost of a single disk write.

In order to keep the redo log from growing without bound (which would cause the recovery time to grow without bound), it is necessary to periodically write a new checkpoint. While writing a new checkpoint the data structure is unavailable for updating. As a client of the Stable package, you can control how often checkpoints are made.

The strategy used by the Stable package is described more fully by Andrew D. Birrell, Michael B. Jones, and Edward P. Wobber in ``A simple and efficient implementation for small databases'', {\it Proceedings of the 11th ACM Symposium on Operating System Principles}. This paper is also available as SRC Research Report 24, January 1988.

The stable stub generator stablegen will automatically produce an implementation of any generic instance Stable(Data). The default implementation produced by stablegen reads and writes checkpoints using the pickles package, and reads and writes the redo log using the same marshaling mechanism as the network objects stub generator (stubgen). This is suitable for many applications, but not for all. The comments at the end of the interface explain how to customize the behavior of the stable package in several different ways.

The initialization method for a stable object will reset it to the stable state, if the stable state is present; otherwise the method creates and initializes the stable state.

By default, the stable state (checkpoint and log) for an object is stored in a directory in the ordinary file system. It is possible to override this default. For example, in a system that contains some form of stable random access memeory, it may be preferable for reasons of speed to keep the stable data in the stable RAM instead of on the disk. This flexibility is provided by an abstraction called a LogManager, which is basically an object that provides streams for logs and checkpoints. A LogManager may be provided when a stable object is initialized; if omitted, the default log manager is used, which stores the log and checkpoint in the ordinary file system. See LogManager.i3 for details.

The stub generator produces overrides for all update methods of the stable object. The override method writes its parameters together with a method number to the log, and then calls the corresponding method of its supertype. Finally they write an additional commit record to the log to record that the method terminated. (If a crash occurs while the method is running, the commit record will not be present and the call that crashed will not be repeated during recovery.)

The recovery process is started by init if a stable backup is found for the object being initialized. To recover, the log manager is used to obtain a reader on the checkpoint, the readCheckpoint method of the object is used to reconstruct an object from the checkpoint. The log manager is also used to obtain a reader on the redo log. The entries in the redo log are read, and the recorded updates are replayed. Any returned values or exceptions from these methods are ignored. If update methods use VAR parameters, the recovery procedure will pass dummies to them that contain the same values the originally passed variables had. Notice that if an update method reads or writes any state other that the fields of the stable object itself, the recovery process may not work as expected.

A Stable(Data).T is unmonitored. The client is responsible for ensuring that it is not updated concurrently nor updated while a checkpoint is written. Clients are also responsible to write checkpoints periodically by calling the Checkpoint() procedure.

Where Data.T is an object type. Also, the Data interface should contain a pragma indicating which methods of Data.T are update methods, as explained in the man page for the stub generator stablegen.

IMPORT LogManager, StableError, Pathname, Wr, Rd;

  Brand = "(Stable" & Data.Brand & ")";
  DefaultBrand = "(Default " & Brand & ")";
This branding is required for all generic interfaces. The Data interface must contain:

      CONST Brand = <text-constant>;

TYPE T <: Public;
     Public = Data.T OBJECT METHODS
        init(nm: Pathname.T; VAR recovered: BOOLEAN;
            forceToDisk := TRUE; lm: LogManager.T := NIL): T
            RAISES {StableError.E};
        dispose() RAISES {StableError.E};
        flushLog()  RAISES {StableError.E};
        freeLog() RAISES {StableError.E};
        writeCheckpoint (wr: Wr.T) RAISES {StableError.E};
        readCheckpoint (rd: Rd.T): T RAISES {StableError.E};
The call st.init(nm, recovered, forceToDisk, lm) makes the object st stable, with stable state stored by the log manager lm under the name nm. If this stable state is present when init is called, then recovery is initiated, recovered is set to TRUE, and the recovered object is returned. Otherwise, the state of st is recorded stably and st itself is returned. It is a runtime error to call st.init twice without an intervening st.dispose (see below).

If forceToDisk is TRUE, the log will be flushed after every update method. If forceToDisk is false, the log will be flushed only when the client calls the flushLog method. Leaving forceToDisk false is more efficient, but if forceToDisk is false and flushLog is not called frequently, recovery may fail to replay some update methods. The number of lost updates depends on how much buffering is performed by the log manager.

If lm is NIL, then the file system log manager is used. This means that nm is interpreted as the name of a file system directory, in which the stable state is stored as a checkpoint and redo log file.

The method call st.freeLog() closes the log writer for st. The log will be reopened by the next call to an update method. Freeing the log might be necessary, for example, to prevent running out of file descriptors if many stable objects are allocated but few are active at once.

The readcheckpoint method must reconstruct a data structure equivalent to the one written by writecheckpoint. By default, both of these methods use pickles, but you can override them if you want to.

The call st.dispose() deletes the stable state of st. It should be called when stability for st is no longer desired. The stability of an object and modifications to its state are orthogonal. That is, update methods may be called after a call to st.dispose.

PROCEDURE Checkpoint(t: T) RAISES {StableError.E};
Write a new checkpoint for t and empty its redo log.
 You are responsible for calling Checkpoint periodically, to
   prevent the redo log from growing without bound.
   It is a runtime error to call Checkpoint after calling
   st.dispose, unless the object has subsequently been restabilized 
   with st.init.

END Stable.
\subsection{Exceptions} The StableError.E exception is raised in various circumstances. The first element of the AtomList.T argument identifies the nature of the error. Subsequent elements may identify further details of the error, especially in the case when lower-level exceptions are propagated by the Stable package.

\subsection{Customizations} \begin{itemize} \item If you don't want every update to be flushed to disk, set forceToDisk to FALSE when initializing the stable object, and flush the log manually with the flushLog method. \item If you don't want to use Pickle for checkpointing, override the writeCheckpoint() and readCheckpoint() methods of the stable object to read and write checkpoints in your preferred format. (If you are aiming at long-lived persistent state you should avoid pickles, since new versions of the Modula-3 system can't always read pickles written by earlier versions.) \item If you don't want to store the stable state in the ordinary file system, implement your own log manager (as explained in the LogManager interface) and pass your own manager to the init method instead of the default. \item If you don't want to use network-object style marshaling for recording the update method calls in the redo log, you will have to write you own implementation of of Stable(Data).m3 instead of using the stub generator stablegen. (You may still find it helpful to use the generated code as starting point.) \end{itemize}