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  1. JDK
  2. JDK-8132510

Replace ThreadLocalStorage with compiler/language-based thread-local variables



    • Type: Enhancement
    • Status: Resolved
    • Priority: P3
    • Resolution: Fixed
    • Affects Version/s: 9
    • Fix Version/s: 9
    • Component/s: hotspot
    • Labels:
    • Subcomponent:
    • Resolved In Build:


      In various parts of the runtime and in compiler generated code we need to get a reference to the (VM-level) Thread* of the currently executing thread. This is what Thread::current() returns. For performance reasons we also have a fast-path on 64-bit where the Thread* is stashed away in a register (g7 on sparc, r15 on x64).

      So Thread::current() is actually a slow-path mechanism and it delegates to ThreadLocalStorage::thread().

      On some systems ThreadLocalStorage::thread utilizes a caching mechanism to try and speed up access to the current thread. Otherwise it calls into yet another "slow" path which uses the available platform thread-specific-storage APIs.

      Compiled code also has a slow-path get_thread() method which uses assembly code to invoke the same platform thread-specific-storage APIs (in some cases - on sparc it simply calls ThreadLocalStorage::thread()).

      8130212 had to fix a problem with the caching mechanism on Solaris and in doing so highlighted that this old ThreadLocalStorage code was put in place to deal with inadequacies of the system provided thread-specific-storage API. In fact on Solaris we even by-pass the public API (thr_getspecific/thr_setspecific) when we can and implement our own version using lower-level APIs available in the T1/T2 threading libraries!

      In mid-2015 things have changed considerably and we have reliable and performant support for thread-local variables at the C++ language-level. So the way to maintain the current thread is simply using (current Solaris version):

       // Declaration of thread-local variable
       static __thread Thread * _thr_current

       inline Thread* ThreadLocalStorage::thread() {
         return _thr_current;

       inline void ThreadLocalStorage::set_thread(Thread* thread) {
         _thr_current = thread;

      But we can go further, by using language-level thread-locals we can completely remove the ThreadLocalStorage class and define things directly in the Thread class itself, and remove the notion of get_thread_slow.


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              dholmes David Holmes
              dholmes David Holmes
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