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Multithreaded application support

(Dazdaz) #1

Can a container run a multi-threaded process and are there any issues with doing so.

I could’nt find any documentation anywhere on this conclusively stating that this is supported and that there are no issues.

Also, if an application fork()s, will this work in a Docker container ?


(Eldeberde) #2

Hi, This will work until the startup process dies.

For example apache works in this way, the main process forks every time a request arrives to handle it, but the main process don’t die


(Dazdaz) #3

Hang on, so your saying that a process which fork(s) will work in a Docker container ?

How about a multi-threaded application ?

(Eldeberde) #4

It is the same, docker will monitor the process you choose as entrypoint. You can use whatever you want., I have a setup to launch and monitor 3 or 4 process in the same container. This is not limited

This is my entrypoint script for manage more than 1 process:


command1 &
echo "command1 status" $status
if [ $status -ne 0 ]; then
  echo "Failed to start command1: $status"
  exit $status

command2 &
echo "command2 status" $status
if [ $status -ne 0 ]; then
  echo "Failed to command2: $status"
  exit $status

command3 &
echo "command3 status" $status
if [ $status -ne 0 ]; then
  echo "Failed to start command3: $status"
  exit $status

while true; do
  ps aux |grep command1 |grep -q -v grep
  ps aux |grep command2 |grep -q -v grep
  ps aux |grep command3 |grep -q -v grep
  # If the greps above find anything, they will exit with 0 status
  # If they are not both 0, then something is wrong
  if [ $PROCESS_1_STATUS -ne 0 -o $PROCESS_2_STATUS -ne 0 -o $PROCESS_3_STATUS -ne 0 ]; then
    echo "One of the processes has already exited."
    exit 1
    echo "All processes still running"
  sleep 60

(David Maze) #5

Yes, and no. This is totally normal. (A bunch of normal prepackaged things like nginx and Apache and database servers and multi-threaded or multi-process.)

Yes. If you docker exec into the container and it has the right tools installed, you can run ps and see the forked process.

The one important caveat (which again you will see with ps) is that the main container process runs as process ID 1 within the container, which gives it some extra responsibility. If you fork(), and your child process fork()s and then exits, the container’s main process will wind up as the parent of the grandchild process. If you then waitpid() you might see process IDs from those descendant processes that you never saw as return values from fork().

IMHO the one compelling reason to run an init process in your container is to take care of this for you. (“My main container process is in a scripting language and depends on shelling out to tools that aren’t good at cleaning up after themselves.”) I’ve seen tini used in the past for this; docker run has an --init option (which runs tini under the hood) but you need to remember to include it on every docker run invocation; it’s probably better to make sure to include an init in your image’s Dockerfile.