Welcome!

Java Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Greg Schulz, Adrian Bridgwater, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Java, Open Source, AJAX & REA

Java: Article

Asynchronous Logging Using Spring

Create applications that require high-volume logging without impacting an application’s performance

Each application developer faces the problem of logging usage information. On the one hand, the more logging that's done the easier it is to detect and locate the source of problems. On the other hand, large volume logging might impair an application's performance.

This problem is typically solved by defining various log levels dependent on a program's maturity. For example, a program in developmental stages would have a higher logging requirements; logging requirements would be relatively lower in the production phase. If an application requires a lot of logging for audit purposes, then special measures are required to protect performance.

This article provides a possible solution for this problem by using Spring asynchronous support.

Rationale for High-Volume Logging
Logging is used extensively to help find problems within applications. A developer who finds a problem can investigate it by enabling debug logging. He may then reproduce the problem, or create additional logging if needed. Programmers usually require extensive logging to locate problems.

However, the aforementioned process is not a universal solution. If a developer comes across a one-time event that does not happen again, then he has to uncover and fix the problem using only existing log data. For instance, a security problem should not be resolved by enabling full logging and waiting for another intrusion. Such cases require a lot of logging upfront.

Above and beyond the use of logging for application development, regulatory compliance requirements also demand a minimum amount of logging.

Possible Solutions
The simplest solution would be to log everything synchronously, right inside business logic methods. Of course this solution would reduce processing speed, but if an application does not have strict performance requirements, it might not be a problem.

A developer may also use some existing solutions, such as synchronous logging. Examples include log4j, AsyncAppender, and JMS. The latter is especially useful if none of the logging events should be lost.

Very often logging operations are not very fast because, for reliability purposes, these logs are often written either to a database or to a remote server. In addition, data may be subject to operations before they can be logged.

Consider a simple case when logging is needed, but performance should not be affected.

Please note that threads may not necessarily execute in the same order as they were called, so you'll have to sort the logged events by timestamp in order to have them in chronological order.

Spring 3.0 Asynchronous Support
Overview

Spring 2.0 provided a TaskExecutor abstraction that could be used for running asynchronous tasks. Evolution to version 3.0 enabled annotations to be used for this purpose. Refer to the Task Execution and Scheduling section in the Spring 3.0 documentation.

There are several built-in TaskExecutor implementations, and not all of them are asynchronous. For example, the SyncTaskExecutor invokes a task in the calling thread.

This article will concentrate on the ThreadPoolTaskExecutor - the most commonly used implementation in the Java 5 environment.

The ThreadPoolTaskExecutor provides the following configurable parameters:

pool-size: Defines the size of a pool; it also accepts a "core-max" range. The "core" is the initial number of threads in a pool; the "max" is the maximum number of threads. If only one number is defined, then the core and max are the same size.

Please note that the executor will first use the core number of threads, and then add threads to the pool only when the queue is full.

queue-capacity: Refers to the size of the task queue when all threads are busy. By default the queue is unlimited. That might lead to an OutOfMemory exception and disrupt the application, therefore, a specific queue size should be defined.

rejection-policy: A parameter that determines what should happen if both the thread pool and queue are full. In this case the task is rejected, and then the rejection policy determines what should happen to it.

The following policies are supported:

  • AbortPolicy: Executor will throw a TaskRejectedException
  • DiscardPolicy: Tasks will be skipped
  • DiscardOldestPolicy: Oldest tasks will be skipped
  • CallerRunsPolicy: Task will be executed in caller thread (synchronously)

Spring 3.0 allows bean configuration using both Annotations and XML. We will consider Annotation and XML configuration of TaskExecutors only.

Here is a simple business class that requires logging.

@Service
public class BankOperator {

@Autowired

private BusinessLogger businessLogger;

public void transferMoney() {

//... business logic for transferring money
// writing log
businessLogger.logMoneyTransfer(new Date(), "John", new BigDecimal(100));
}
}

As you can see the businessLogger has a specific method for a specific business operation. Developers always pass the current timestamp and a number of parameters. The timestamp is needed because the logging method will be invoked asynchronously at an arbitrary time in the future. The list of parameters will depend on what kind of logging is done. Usually this kind of logging is saved to a database, so developers need a number of parameters that will be mapped to the fields of the database table.

The maximum possible amount of operations should utilize asynchronous logging.

For example, if logging information depends on an account number, years of service and the balance of a bank account, then it's better to pass these three parameters to a logging method. The logging logic would be implemented, thereby, lessening the influence of logging on execution of the primary service.

XML - configuration
The configuration of ThreadPoolTaskExecutor looks like this:

<bean id="businessLogExecutor" class="org.springframework.scheduling.concurrent.ThreadPoolTaskExecutor">
<property name="corePoolSize" value="1" />
<property name="maxPoolSize" value="1" />
<property name="queueCapacity" value="1" />
<property name="rejectedExecutionHandler" ref="callerRuns" />
</bean>

<bean id="callerRuns" class="java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor.CallerRunsPolicy"/>

Spring 3.0 enables developers to use the ‘executor' element to create a ThreadPoolTaskExecutor instance:

<task:executor id="businessLogExecutor"
pool-size="5-25"
queue-capacity="100"
rejection-policy="CALLER_RUNS"/>

The logger class might look like the following:

public class AsyncBusinessLogger implements BusinessLogger {

private TaskExecutor taskExecutor;


public void setTaskExecutor(TaskExecutor taskExecutor) {

this.taskExecutor = taskExecutor;
}

public void logMoneyTransfer(final Date timestamp, final String customerName, final BigDecimal sum) {

taskExecutor.execute(new Runnable() {
public void run() {
System.out.println("Customer '" + customerName + "' transfered $" + sum + " on " + timestamp);
}
});
}
}

A BusinessLogger may resemble the following:

<bean id="businessLogger" class="com.axmor.async.logging.AsyncBusinessLogger">
<property name="taskExecutor" ref="businessLogExecutor" />
</bean>

Using XML configuration is a more flexible approach. A developer can tell many Business Loggers to use the same TaskExecutor, or tell a single Business Logger to use multiple TaskExecutors.

@Async annotation
To use the @Async annotation, turn on task annotation support by including the following in config.xml:

<task:annotation-driven />

In this case, the ThreadPoolTaskExecutor with default settings will be used.

To use the aforementioned executor, insert the following instead:

<task:annotation-driven executor="businessLogExecutor"/>

The logger will look like the following:

@Service
public class AsyncBusinessLogger implements BusinessLogger {

@Async

public void logMoneyTransfer(Date timestamp, String customerName, BigDecimal sum) {
System.out.println("Customer '" + customerName + "' transfered $" + sum + " on " + timestamp);
}
}

The result is simpler and cleaner code. But a less flexible configuration comes at a price: all methods annotated with @Async will use the same TaskExecutor throughout the application.

@Async vs TaskExecutor: when to use
Using the @Async annotation is much simpler than having to wire the task executor to call tasks manually.

Usually the @Async annotation is the preferred method.

In cases where a developer doesn't want to use a single TaskExecutor for all asynchronous operations, which is the case for @Async annotation, he will have to use TaskExecutors.

Conclusion
Developers should strongly consider using asynchronous logging when creating applications that require high-volume logging without impacting an application's performance.

The article shows how easy it is to create your own custom asynchronous logging using Spring 3.0 Async support.

More Stories By Mylnikov Sergey

Mylnikov Sergey is a senior software engineer in the IBM Solution Group at Axmor Software. He has over seven years of experience in software development, as well as strong knowledge in Java SE/EE and web application development. He has been a technical lead and software architect in several successfully completed enterprise projects for US, UK, and Australian customers.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
There's Big Data, then there's really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, discussed how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other machines...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!