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C++ Driver

Thread and Fork Safety

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  • Incorrect Threading Example
  • Acceptable Threading Example
  • Ideal Threading Example
  • Fork Safety

You should always give each thread its own mongocxx::client.

In general each mongocxx::client object AND all of its child objects, including mongocxx::client_session, mongocxx::database, mongocxx::collection, and mongocxx::cursor, should be used by a single thread at a time. This is true even for clients acquired from a mongocxx::pool.

Even if you create multiple child objects from a single client, and synchronize them individually, that is unsafe as they will concurrently modify internal structures of the client. The same is true if you copy a child object.

mongocxx::instance instance{};
mongocxx::uri uri{};
mongocxx::client c{uri};
auto db1 = c["db1"];
auto db2 = c["db2"];
std::mutex db1_mtx{};
std::mutex db2_mtx{};
auto threadfunc = [](mongocxx::database& db, std::mutex& mtx) {
mtx.lock();
db["col"].insert_one({});
mtx.unlock();
};
// BAD! These two databases are individually synchronized, but they are derived from the same
// client, so they can only be accessed by one thread at a time
std::thread t1([&]() { threadfunc(db1, db1_mtx); threadfunc(db2, db2_mtx); });
std::thread t2([&]() { threadfunc(db2, db2_mtx); threadfunc(db1, db1_mtx); });
t1.join();
t2.join();

In the above example, even though the two databases are individually synchronized, they are derived from the same client. There is shared state inside the library that is now being modified without synchronization. The same problem occurs if db2 is a copy of db1.

mongocxx::instance instance{};
mongocxx::uri uri{};
mongocxx::client c1{uri};
mongocxx::client c2{uri};
std::mutex c1_mtx{};
std::mutex c2_mtx{};
auto threadfunc = [](std::string dbname, mongocxx::client& client, std::mutex& mtx) {
mtx.lock();
client[dbname]["col"].insert_one({});
mtx.unlock();
};
// These two clients are individually synchronized, so it is safe to share them between
// threads.
std::thread t1([&]() { threadfunc("db1", c1, c1_mtx); threadfunc("db2", c2, c2_mtx); });
std::thread t2([&]() { threadfunc("db2", c2, c2_mtx); threadfunc("db1", c1, c1_mtx); });
t1.join();
t2.join();
mongocxx::instance instance{};
mongocxx::pool pool{mongocxx::uri{}};
auto threadfunc = [](mongocxx::client& client, std::string dbname) {
auto col = client[dbname]["col"].insert_one({});
};
// Great! Using the pool allows the clients to be synchronized while sharing only one
// background monitoring thread.
std::thread t1 ([&]() {
auto c = pool.acquire();
threadfunc(*c, "db1");
threadfunc(*c, "db2");
});
std::thread t2 ([&]() {
auto c = pool.acquire();
threadfunc(*c, "db2");
threadfunc(*c, "db1");
});
t1.join();
t2.join();

In most programs, clients will be long lived for convenience and performance. In this contrived example, there's quite a bit of overhead because we're doing so little work with each client, but typically this is the best solution.

Neither a mongocxx::client or a mongocxx::pool can be safely copied when forking. Because of this, any client or pool must be created after forking, not before.

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