We have a string processing service (c++, uses stdin/out for in/output) that has different layouts, each layout runs separately (eventually will run on separate machines), each layout takes time to load, thats why it must keep running after first run.

I must implement a system with client that will ask the master server to connect it to a relevant slave server which actually runs the relevant layout service. The slave server will communicate the data passed from the client to the service, and when finished will become available on the master server for other clients.

The question is what is the best way to go about implementing the servers? Should I keep an open connection between slave/master until the process is complete to notify the master that the connection is over or keep some sort of var in a synchronized function to check that?

Any other important inputs (or other designs) I have overlooked are also very welcomed, Thanx!

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Assuming you can't replace the C++ stuff, here is how I would do it off the top of my head.

I would setup one master server. That server would run a process that accepts requests (probably by HTTP, so it'd be a webservice) and I would have it read the request, parse out what it is, and then call the correct slave. Basically it acts as a proxy. Once it receives the response from the slave it forwards it back to the caller. The simplicity here means that if you start getting more of one type of request, you can set up additional servers for that and round-robin requests to them.

The slaves would be webservices that open the C++ program and forward input and retrieve output. That's all it would do.

I wouldn't bother keeping open connections (except between the slave and the C++ program based on your description). Just using a web request for this stuff will keep the connection between the master and the slave open during the process, but it shouldn't be a problem. This way you don't need to worry about this detail.

Now if I were you I would seriously look at reimplementing the C++ code in Java or calling it via JNI or something. If you can avoid it, I think avoiding the Java wrapper around C++ thing would be a good design goal. The Java could do whatever expensive process it is during start up once, and then hold things ready in memory like the C++ code does.

I hope this helps.


Depending on your scalability needs, you may want to take a look at the Java NIO package. This will give you a starting point to build a scalable, non-blocking server implementation.

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