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  • A.D. Birrell and B. J. Nelson

have been exported. For example, if the remote interface with type FileAccess.Alpine and instance Ebbets.Alpine has been exported by a server running at network address 3#22#, and the remote interface with type FileAccess.Alpine and instance Luther.Alpine has been exported by a server running at network address 3#276#, then the members of the Grapevine group FileAccess.Alpine would include Ebbets.Alpine and Luther.Alpine. The Grapevine individual Ebbets. Alpine would have 3#22# as its connect-site and Luther.Alpine would have 3#276#.

When an exporter wishes to make his interface available to remote clients, the server code calls the server-stub which in turn calls a procedure, Exportlnterface, in the RPCRuntime. Exportlnterface is given the interface name (type and instance) together with a procedure (known as the dispatcher) implemented in the server-stub which will handle incoming calls for the interface. Exportlnterface calls Grapevine and ensures that the instance is one of the members of the Grapevine group which is the type, and that the connect-site of (the Grapevine individual which is) the instance is the network address of the exporting machine. This may involve updating the database. As an optimization, the database is not updated if it already contains the correct information--this is usually true: typically an interface of this name has previously been exported, and typically from the same network address. For example, to export the interface with type FileAccess.Alpine and instance Ebbets.Alpine from network address 3#22#, the RPCRuntime would ensure that Ebbets.Alpine in the Grapevine database has connect-site 3 # 2 2 # and that Ebbets.Alpine is a member of FileAccess.Alpine. The RPCRuntime then records information about this export in a table main- tained on the exporting machine. For each currently exported interface, this table contains the interface name, the dispatcher procedure from the server-stub, and a 32-bit value that serves as a permanently unique (machine-relative) identifier of the export. This table is~implemented as an array indexed by a small integer. The identifier is guaranteed to be permanently unique by the use of successive values of a 32-bit counter; on start-up this counter is initialized to a one-second real time clock, and the counter is constrained subsequently to be less than the current value of that clock. This constrains the rate of calls on Exportlnterface in a single machine tO an average rate of less than one per second, averaged over the time since the exporting machine was restarted. The burst rate of such calls can exceed one per second (see Figure 2).

When an importer wishes to bind to an exporter, the user code calls its user- stub which in turn calls a procedure, Importlnterface, in the RPCRuntime, giving it the desired interface type and instance. The RPCRuntime determines the network address of the exporter (if there is one) by asking Grapevine for the network address which is the connect-site of the interface instance. The RPCRuntime then makes a remote procedure call to the RPCRuntimepackage on that machine asking for the binding information associated with this interface type and instance. If the specified machine is not currently exporting that interface this fact is returned to the importing machine and the binding fails. If the specified machine is currently exporting that interface, then the table of current exports maintained by its RPCRuntime yields the corresponding unique identifier; the identifier and the table index are returned to the importing machine

ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, Vol. 2, No. 1, February 1984

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