Oct 15, 2017 06:42 · 465 words · 3 minutes read kubernetes go data structures composition v1.8.1

An example of composition in Kubernetes

workqueue is a package that lives in the kubernetes/kubernetes repo (for now) under the path

The workqueue package exposes data structures that controllers use to manage operations on resources.

The lowest layer of the abstraction is the basic queue with an interface that looks like this (renamed to Queue for clarity):

type Queue interface {
	Add(item interface{})
	Get() (item interface{}, shutdown bool)

The implementation defined in this same file is a standard queue with some safety features that can be safely ignored.

Extending the code


There is another file in this package called delaying_queue.go. This defines a new interface called DelayingQueue that looks exactly like the Queue interface with one additional function, AddAfter:

type DelayingQueue interface {
	AddAfter(item interface{}, duration time.Duration)

AddAfter takes an item and a duration and adds the item to the queue after the duration (e.g. 30 minutes, 3 seconds, etc.) has passed.

The DelayingQueue interface is the Queue interface with one additional method. It composes the Queue interface and the AddAfter method into a new interface.

Extending the code again


The RateLimiter is an interface that has a function called When. When takes an item and returns a duration. If the RateLimiter sees the same item multiple times it will increase the duration that it returns.


The next step in the queue abstraction ladder is found in the file rate_limiting_queue.go. This takes the DelayingQueue interface and adds another method:

type RateLimitingQueue interface {
	AddRateLimited(item interface{})

Something interesting happened here. The way an item is added to the queue became simpler than DelayingQueue but the behavior is more complex. The duration that was required in AddAfter is gone. Instead, the RateLimitingQueue uses a RateLimiter to manage the duration the AddAfter method requires.

When AddRateLimited gets called, the RateLimitingQueue uses the RateLimiter to find out how long the item should be delayed for before being added back to the queue. AddRateLimited calls RateLimiter’s When function and uses the returned value as the duration for DelayingQueue’s method AddAfter.


These interfaces are not quite as simple as they appear here. I omitted some functions for the sake of clarity. There is a lot more to these interfaces and implementations and I would encourage you to read through it if you’re curious how a concurrent system like Kubernetes manages a queue.

Bonus Tangent

If you’re going to dive into the code directly, I suggest making sure you understand sync.Cond as that is the underpinning of the concurrency pattern found in the workqueue package. Interestingly there is a proposal out to remove sync.Cond from Go 2.0 and you will be hard pressed to find many examples of it. This is one of the better posts I read about it.