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  • Richard 10:40 am on July 30, 2014 Permalink |  

    Improving Orleans Silo Startup Times 

    The startup times for Orleans Silos seems a bit variable. I’ve tried a few things out, and got the startup time down when using the Dev/Test Silo. I don’t know if all of these make a difference, but they might be worth trying if you’re as impatient as me.

    • Remove any Storage Providers you’re not using from the configuration.
    • Turn off logging (unless things aren’t working!) by setting TraceToConsole="false" and TraceToFile="false" in the Tracing element.
    • If you’re not putting any client code in the Dev/Test Silo (perhaps you’re connecting another application such as an ASP.NET) then remove the Orleans.OrleansClient.Initialize("DevTestClientConfiguration.xml"); line from Main.cs.
    • Remove any Grain Collection classes you’re not using from the Orleans SDK\LocalSilo\Applications directory.
    • Delete the Orleans.FSharp.dll from SDK\LocalSilo.

    I’ve got startup time down to under 6 seconds.

    My DevTestServerConfiguration.xml file looks like this:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <OrleansConfiguration xmlns="urn:orleans">
          <Provider Type="Orleans.Storage.MemoryStorage" Name="AzureStore" />
        <SeedNode Address="localhost" Port="11111" />
        <Networking Address="localhost" Port="11111" />
        <ProxyingGateway Address="localhost" Port="30000" />
        <Tracing DefaultTraceLevel="Error" TraceToConsole="false" TraceToFile="false"/>
        <Statistics WriteLogStatisticsToTable="false"/>
      <Override Node="Primary">
        <Networking Address="localhost" Port="11111" />
        <ProxyingGateway Address="localhost" Port="30000" />

    My DevTestClientConfiguration.xml file looks like this:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
    <ClientConfiguration xmlns="urn:orleans">
      <GatewayProvider ProviderType="Config"/>
      <Gateway Address="localhost" Port="30000"/>
      <Tracing DefaultTraceLevel="Info" TraceToConsole="false" TraceToFile="false"/>
      <Statistics WriteLogStatisticsToTable="false"/>
  • Richard 2:20 pm on July 23, 2014 Permalink |  

    Using Observers for Pub Sub in Project Orleans 

    Orleans has a cool feature for pub-sub messaging. This allows you to register for grain originated events without you having to poll a grain. Instead you can asked to be called back when the interesting thing happens.

    To do this you create an ‘observer’ object. You then create a reference to this object, and pass it to the grain. The grain maintains a list of all observers. The grain can then send them all a message with a single call.

    To create an observer, create an interface which inherits from IGrainObserver. You should put this in your Grain Interfaces project.

    public interface IFooGrainObserver : IGrainObserver
        void Foo(string message);

    Note that the method signature for Foo returns void. This is a requirement for subscribers.

    Next create an implementation of this class. It doesn’t really matter which project you put this in. It’s probably best placed in the project where you want the code to actually run, so if you’re sending a message back to the client, put it alongside your clide code.

    class FooObserver : IFooGrainObserver
        public void Foo(string message)

    We’ll need a grain which is going to receive the subscriptions, and perform the publication.

    This is the grain interface which has a method for registering a subscriber (Subscribe), and another to call when you wish to publish a message (Publish):

    public interface IPubSubGrain : IGrain
        Task Subscribe(IFooGrainObserver observer);
        Task Publish(string message);

    And this is the implementation:

    public class PubSubGrain : GrainBase, IPubSubGrain
        ObserverSubscriptionManager<IFooGrainObserver> subscribers = new ObserverSubscriptionManager<IFooGrainObserver>();
        public Task Subscribe(IFooGrainObserver observer)
            return TaskDone.Done;
        public Task Publish(string message)
            subscribers.Notify(x => x.Foo(message));
            return TaskDone.Done;

    Note that Orleans provides a ObserverGrainManager which helps you manage the subscriptions, and send notifications.

    Now to actually make this work.

    When the Grain Interfaces project compiles a factory is created for our subscriber (FooGrainObserverFactory) – just like the factories are created for the grains.

    To use the factory, we pass in an instance of our IFooGrainObserver interface (which will be a FooObserver). This will give us back an object we can then pass to the Subscribe method of our grain.

    This is the subscribe process complete. Now, just call publish.

    Your client code (perhaps this is in your Dev/Test Silo) will look something like this:

    var grain = PubSubGrainFactory.GetGrain(0);
    // register a subscriber.
    var observerRef = await FooGrainObserverFactory.CreateObjectReference(new FooObserver());
    await grain.Subscribe(observerRef);
    // send a publish
    await grain.Publish("Hello World");
    // Hello World is printed on the console by the instance of FooObserver


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