Crate glommio[][src]

Glommio - asynchronous thread per core applications in Rust.

What is Glommio

Glommio is a library providing a safe Rust interface for asynchronous, thread-local I/O, based on the linux io_uring interface and Rust’s async support. Glommio also provides support for pinning threads to CPUs, allowing thread-per-core applications in Rust.

This library depends on linux’s io_uring interface, so this is Linux-only, with a kernel version 5.8 or newer recommended.

This library provides abstractions for timers, file I/O and networking plus support for multiple-queues and an internal scheduler, all without using helper threads.

A more detailed exposition of Glommio’s architecture is available in this blog post

Rust async

Using Glommio is not hard if you are familiar with rust async. All you have to do is:

use glommio::LocalExecutorBuilder;
    .spawn(|| async move {
        // your code here

Pinned threads

Although pinned threads are not required for use of glommio, by creating N executors and binding each to a specific CPU one can use this crate to implement a thread-per-core system where context switches essentially never happen, allowing much higher efficiency.

You can easily bind an executor to a CPU by adjusting the LocalExecutorBuilder in the example above:

/// This will now never leave CPU 0
use glommio::LocalExecutorBuilder;
    .spawn(|| async move {
        // your code here

Note that you can only have one executor per thread, so if you need more executors, you will have to create more threads. A more ergonomic interface for that is planned but not yet available.


For a Thread-per-core system to work well, it is paramount that some form of scheduling can happen within the thread. Traditional applications use many threads to divide the many aspects of its workload and rely on the operating system and runtime to schedule these threads fairly and switch between these as necessary. For a thread-per-core system, each thread must handle its own scheduling at the application level.

Glommio provides extensive abstractions for handling scheduling, allowing multiple tasks to proceed on the same thread. Task scheduling can be handled broadly through static shares, or more dynamically through the use of controllers:

use glommio::{Latency, Local, LocalExecutorBuilder, Shares};

    .spawn(|| async move {
        let tq1 = Local::create_task_queue(Shares::Static(2), Latency::NotImportant, "test1");
        let tq2 = Local::create_task_queue(Shares::Static(1), Latency::NotImportant, "test2");
        let t1 = Local::local_into(
            async move {
                // your code here
        let t2 = Local::local_into(
            async move {
                // your code here


This example creates two task queues: tq1 has 2 shares, tq2 has 1 share. This means that if both want to use the CPU to its maximum, tq1 will have 1/3 of the CPU time (1 / (1 + 2)) and tq2 will have 2/3 of the CPU time. Those shares are dynamic and can be changed at any time. Notice that this scheduling method doesn’t prevent either tq1 no tq2 from using 100% of CPU time at times in which they are the only task queue running: the shares are only considered when multiple queues need to run.

Direct I/O

Glommio makes Direct I/O a first-class citizen, although Buffered I/O is present as well for situations where it may make sense.

This rides the trend of devices getting faster over the years and tries to bridge the software gap between fast devices, and fast storage applications. You can read more about it in this article

Controlled processes

Glommio ships with embedded controllers. You can read more about them in the Controllers module documentation. Controllers allow one to automatically adjust the scheduler shares to control how fast a particular process should happen given a user-provided criteria.

For a real-life application of such technology I recommend reading this post from Glauber.

Prior work

This work is heavily inspired (with some code respectfully imported) by the great work by Stjepan Glavina, in particular the following crates:

Aside from Stjepan’s work, this is also inspired greatly by the Seastar Framework for C++ that powers I/O intensive systems that are pushing the performance envelope, like ScyllaDB.

Why is this its own crate?

Cooperative Thread-per-core is a very specific programming model. Because only one task is executing per thread, the programmer never needs any locking to be held. Atomic operations are therefore rare, delegated to only a handful of corner case tasks.

As atomic operations are costlier than their non-atomic counterparts, this improves efficiency by itself. However it comes with the added benefits that context switches are virtually non-existent (they only occur for kernel threads and interrupts) and no time is ever wasted in waiting on locks.

Why is this a single monolith instead of many crates

Take as an example the async-io crate. It has park() and unpark() methods. One can park() the current executor, and a helper thread will unpark it. This allows one to effectively use that crate with very little need for anything else for the simpler cases. Combined with synchronization primitives like Condvar, and other thread-pool based future crates, it excels in conjunction with others but it is useful on its own.

Now contrast that to the equivalent bits in this crate: once you park() the thread, you can’t unpark it. I/O never gets dispatched without explicit calling into the reactor, which makes for a very weird programming model and it is very hard to integrate with the outside world since most external I/O related crates have threads that sooner or later will require Send + Sync.

A single crate is a way to minimize friction.


This crate depends heavily on Linux’s io_uring. The reactor will register 3 rings per CPU:

  • Main ring: The main ring, as its name implies, is where most operations will be placed. Once the reactor is parked, it only returns if the main ring has events to report.

  • Latency ring: Operations that are latency sensitive can be put in the latency ring. The crate has a function called yield_if_needed() that efficiently checks if there are events pending in the latency ring. Because this crate uses cooperative programming, tasks run until they either complete or decide to yield, which means they can run for a very long time before tasks that are latency sensitive have a chance to run. Every time you fire a long-running operation (usually a loop) it is good practice to check yield_if_needed() periodically (for example after x iterations of the loop). In particular, a when a new priority class is registered, one can specify if it contains latency sensitive tasks or not. And if the queue is marked as latency sensitive, the Latency enum takes a duration parameter that determines for how long other tasks can run even if there are no external events (by registering a timer with the io_uring). If no runnable tasks in the system are latency sensitive, this timer is not registered. Because io_uring allows for polling in the ring file descriptor, it is safe to park() even if work is present in the latency ring: before going to sleep, the latency ring’s file descriptor is registered with the main ring and any events it sees will also wake up the main ring.

  • Poll ring: Read and write operations on NVMe devices are put in the poll ring. The poll ring does not rely on interrupts so the system has to keep constantly polling if there is any pending work. By not relying on interrupts we can be even more efficient with I/O in high IOPS scenarios

Before using Glommio

Please note Glommio requires at least 512 KiB of locked memory for io_uring to work. You can increase the memlock resource limit (rlimit) as follows:

$ vi /etc/security/limits.conf
*    hard    memlock        512
*    soft    memlock        512

To make the new limits effective, you need to login to the machine again. You can verify that the limits are updated by running the following:

$ ulimit -l

Current limitations

Due to our immediate needs which are a lot narrower, we make the following design assumptions:

  • NVMe. While other storage types may work, the general assumptions made in here are based on the characteristics of NVMe storage. This allows us to use io uring’s poll ring for reads and writes which are interrupt free. This also assumes that one is running either XFS or Ext4 (an assumption that Seastar also makes).

  • A corollary to the above is that the CPUs are likely to be the bottleneck, so this crate has a CPU scheduler but lacks an I/O scheduler. That, however, would be a welcome addition.

  • A recent(at least 5.8) kernel is no impediment, as long as a fully functional I/O uring is present. In fact, we require a kernel so recent that it doesn’t even exist: operations like mkdir, ftruncate, etc which are not present in today’s (5.8) io_uring are simply synchronous and we’ll live with the pain in the hopes that Linux will eventually add support for them.

Missing features

There are many. In particular:

  • Memory allocator: memory allocation is a big source of contention for thread per core systems. A shard-aware allocator would be crucial for achieving good performance in allocation-heavy workloads.

  • As mentioned, an I/O Scheduler.

  • Visibility: the crate exposes no metrics on its internals, and that should change ASAP.


Connect to, or time out after 10 seconds:

use futures_lite::{future::FutureExt, io};
use glommio::{net::TcpStream, timer::Timer, LocalExecutor};

use std::time::Duration;

let local_ex = LocalExecutor::default(); {
    let timeout = async {
        Err(io::Error::new(io::ErrorKind::TimedOut, "").into())
    let stream = TcpStream::connect("::80").or(timeout).await?;

    // Read or write from stream




glommio::channels is a module that provides glommio channel-like abstractions.


provides constructs to automatically control the shares, and in consequence the proportion of resources, that a task uses.


glommio::io provides data structures targeted towards File I/O.


This module provide glommio’s networking support.


Provides common imports that almost all Glommio applications will need


Set of synchronization primitives.


Task abstraction for building executors.


glommio::timer is a module that provides timing related primitives.



Macro to create a ScopeGuard (always run).


Macro for cloning values to close.



Allows information about the current state of this executor to be consumed by applications.


Stores information about IO


Single-threaded executor.


A factory that can be used to configure and create a LocalExecutor.


A factory to configure and create a pool of LocalExecutors


Holds a collection of JoinHandles created by LocalExecutorPoolBuilder::on_all_shards.


Stores information about IO performed in a specific ring


A spawned future that cannot be detached, and has a predictable lifetime.


A spawned future that can be detached


An opaque handle indicating in which queue a group of tasks will execute. Tasks in the same group will execute in FIFO order but no guarantee is made about ordering on different task queues.


Allows information about the current state of a particular task queue to be consumed by applications.



Composite error type to encompass all error types glommio produces.


An attribute of a TaskQueue, passed during its creation.


Specifies a policy by which LocalExecutorPoolBuilder distributes LocalExecutors on the machine’s CPUs / hardware topology.


Error variants for executor queues.


Resource Type used for errors that WouldBlock and includes extra diagnostic data for richer error messages.


Represents how many shares a TaskQueue should receive.



Utility methods for working with byte slices/buffers.


Utility methods for working with mutable byte slices/buffers.


The SharesManager allows the user to implement dynamic shares for a TaskQueue

Type Definitions


Local is an ergonomic way to access the local executor. The local is executed through a Task type, but the Task type has a type parameter consisting of the return type of the future encapsulated by this task.


Result type alias that all Glommio public API functions can use.