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  1. Derby
  2. DERBY-2142

NullPointerException while using XAConnection/PooledConnection in a heavily contended multithreaded scenario



    • Bug
    • Status: Closed
    • Major
    • Resolution: Fixed
    • JDBC
    • None
    • The issue can appear in any environment as the bug is in the source code . The bug has been verified in Suse Linux env.
    • Normal


      We are using the Derby's Transactional DataSource class ( org.apache.derby.jdbc.EmbeddedXADataSource ) to create a pool of XAConnections in our application.
      Whenever a thread in a JTA transaction requests for a SQLConnection , we retrieve an XAConnection from the pool. From the XAConnection , we register the XAResource with the TransactionManager & return a java.sql.Connection to the application.
      A class implementing the ConnectionEventListener is registered with the XAConnection to get callback connectionClosed ( ) when the thead closes the java.sql.Connection. In this callback, we invoke XAResource.end & return the XAConnection to our pool so that other threads can use it.

      We have encountered NullPointerException , when performing operation on java.sql.Connection.
      The stacktrace is as follows
      at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:595)

      I have done some debugging on source code of db-derby- & have following explanation of the bug & a suggested fix. However, I want to confirm that it is genuinely a bug & not a problem in our understanding of the Datasource spec behaviour.

      Reason for the bug:-

      The class EmbedPooledConnection.java stores in the field currentConnectionHandle ( of class BrokeredConnection) a reference of the java.sql.Connection object , being returned to the application,
      Now ,whenever the client closes the java.sql.Connection , the code flow is

      EmbedPooledConnection.close() --> EmbedPooledConnection.notifyClose().
      In the function EmbedPooledConnection.notifyClose(), it notifies my listener ( javax.sql.ConnectionEventListener) ) where I return the XAConnection to the pool ( after deregistering the XAResource).
      The last line of EmbedPooledConnection.close() makes the currentConnectionHandle field as null.

      The issue here is that javax.sql.ConnectionEventListener.connectionClosed is invoked before making the currentConenctionHandle field as null. Thus XAConnection is returned to the pool , ready for pickup by a new thread. This new thread obtains a java.sql.Connection whose reference gets assigned to the currentConnectionHandle field, meanwhile the previous thread completes the EmbedPooledConnection.close making the newly assigned currentConnectionHandle as null.

      Thus a previous thread's close makes a field null of an XAConnection, which has been assigned to a new thread.
      The bug is easily reproducible in a multi threaded scenario ( 20 threads or so) with a pool size of around 4 XAConnections so that there is heavy contention on XAConnection.

      The fix is to rearrange the code of EmbedPooledConenction.java 's closingConnection () as

      bug :
      public boolean closingConnection()

      { notifyClose(); currentConnectionHandle = null; return false; }

      bug fix :
      public boolean closingConnection() {
      currentConnectionHandle = null;
      return false;


        1. derby-2142_diff.txt
          0.6 kB
          Katherine Marsden
        2. derby-2142_diff2.txt
          2 kB
          Katherine Marsden
        3. derby-2142_diff3.txt
          2 kB
          Katherine Marsden
        4. derby-2142_stat.txt
          0.1 kB
          Katherine Marsden

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              kmarsden Katherine Marsden
              ashahid Asif H. Shahid
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