4.7.6. Shared Memory Transport (SHMEM)

This section describes the optional builtin RTI Connext DDS Micro SHMEM transport and how to configure it.

Shared Memory Transport (SHMEM) is an optional transport that can be used in Connext DDS Micro. It is part of a standalone library that can be optionally linked in.

Currently, Connext DDS Micro supports the following functionality:

  • Unicast
  • Configuration of the shared memory receive queues Registering the SHMEM Transport

The builtin SHMEM transport is a Connext DDS Micro component that needs to be registered before a DomainParticipant can be created with the ability to send data across shared memory. Unlike the UDP Transport, this transport is not automatically registered. Register the transport using the code snippet below:

#include "netio_shmem/netio_shmem.h"


    DDS_DomainParticipantFactory *factory = NULL;
    RT_Registry_T *registry = NULL;
    struct NETIO_SHMEMInterfaceFactoryProperty shmem_property = NETIO_SHMEMInterfaceFactoryProperty_INITIALIZER;
    struct DDS_DomainParticipantQos dp_qos = DDS_DomainParticipantQos_INITIALIZER;

    /* Optionally configure the transport settings */
    shmem_property.received_message_count_max = ...
    shmem_property.receive_buffer_size = ...
    shmem_property.message_size_max = ...

    factory = DDS_DomainParticipantFactory_get_instance();

    registry = DDS_DomainParticipantFactory_get_registry(factory);
    if (!RT_Registry_register(
            (struct RT_ComponentFactoryProperty*)&shmem_property,
        /* ERROR */

    /* Enable the transport on a Domain Participant */
    *DDS_StringSeq_get_reference(&dp_qos.transports.enabled_transports,0) = DDS_String_dup("_shmem");

    *DDS_StringSeq_get_reference(&dp_qos.discovery.enabled_transports,0) = DDS_String_dup("_shmem://");

    *DDS_StringSeq_get_reference(&dp_qos.user_traffic.enabled_transports,0) = DDS_String_dup("_shmem://");

    *DDS_StringSeq_get_reference(&dp_qos.discovery.initial_peers,0) = DDS_String_dup("_shmem://");


    /* Explicitly unregister the shared memory transport before clean up */
    if (!RT_Registry_unregister(
        /* ERROR */

The above snippet will register a transport with the default settings. To configure it, change the invidiual configurations as described in SHMEM Configuration.

When a component is registered, the registration takes the properties and a listener as the 3rd and 4th parameters. The registration of the shared memory component will make a copy of the properties configurable within a shared memory transport. There is currently no support for passing in a listener as the 4th parameter.

It should be noted that the SHMEM transport can be registered with any name, but all transport QoS policies and initial peers must refer to this name. If a transport is referred to and it does not exist, an error message is logged.

While it is possible to register multiple SHMEM transports, it is not possible to use multiple SHMEM transports within the same participant. The reason is that SHMEM port allocation is not synchronized between transports. Threading Model

The SHMEM transport creates one receive thread for each unique SHMEM receive address and port. Thus, by default two SHMEM threads are created:

  • A unicast receive thread for discovery data
  • A unicast receive thread for user data

Each receive thread will create a shared memory segment that will act as a message queue. Other DomainParticipants will send RTPS message to this message queue.

This message queue has a fixed size and can accommodate a fixed number of messages (received_message_count_max) each with a maximum payload size of (message_size_max). The total size of the queue is configurable with (receive_buffer_size). Configuring SHMEM Receive Threads

All threads in the SHMEM transport share the same thread settings. It is important to note that all the SHMEM properties must be set before the SHMEM transport is registered. Connext DDS Micro preregisters the SHMEM transport with default settings when the DomainParticipantFactory is initialized. To change the SHMEM thread settings, use the following code.

struct SHMEM_InterfaceFactoryProperty shmem_property = NETIO_SHMEMInterfaceFactoryProperty_INITIALIZER

shmem_property.recv_thread_property.options = ...;

/* The stack-size is platform dependent, it is passed directly to the OS */
shmem_property.recv_thread_property.stack_size = ...;

/* The priority is platform dependent, it is passed directly to the OS */
shmem_property.recv_thread_property.priority = ...;

if (!RT_Registry_register(registry, "_shmem",
                          (struct RT_ComponentFactoryProperty*)&shmem_property,
    /* ERROR */
} SHMEM Configuration

All the configuration of the SHMEM transport is done via the struct SHMEM_InterfaceFactoryProperty structure:

struct NETIO_SHMEMInterfaceFactoryProperty
    struct NETIO_InterfaceFactoryProperty _parent;
    /* Max number of received message sizes that can be residing
       inside the shared memory transport concurrent queue
    RTI_INT32 received_message_count_max;
    /* The size of the receive socket buffer */
    RTI_INT32 receive_buffer_size;
    /* The maximum size of the message which can be received */
    RTI_INT32 message_size_max;
    /* Thread properties for each receive thread created by this
       NETIO interface.
    struct OSAPI_ThreadProperty recv_thread_property;
}; received_message_count_max

The number of maximum RTPS messages that can be inside a receive thread’s receive buffer. By default this is 64. receive_buffer_size

The size of the message queue residing inside a shared memory region accessible from different processes. The default size is ((received_message_count_max * message_size_max) / 4). message_size_max

The size of an RTPS message that can be sent across the shared memory transport. By default this number is 65536. recv_thread_property

The recv_thread field is used to configure all the receive threads. Please refer to Threading Model for details. Caveats Leftover shared memory resources

Connext DDS Micro implements the shared memory transport and utilizes shared memory semaphores that can be used conccurently by processes. Connext DDS Micro implements a shared memory mutex from a shared memory semaphore. If an application exits ungracefully, then the shared memory mutex may be left in a state that prevents it from being used. This can occurs because the Connext DDS Micro Shared Memory Transport tries to re-use and clean up and leftover segments as a result of an applications ungraceful termination. If ungraceful termination occurs, the leftover shared memory mutexes need to be cleaned up either manually or by restarting the system.

The same applies to shared memory semaphores. If an application exists ungracefully, there can be leftover shared memory segments. Darwin and Linux systems

In the case of Darwin and Linux systems which use SysV semaphores, you can view any leftover shared memory segments using ipcs -a. They can be removed using the ipcrm command. Shared memory keys used by Connext DDS Micro are in the range of 0x00400000. For example:

  • ipcs -m | grep 0x004

The shared semaphore keys used by Connext DDS Micro are in the range of 0x800000; the shared memory mutex keys are in the range of 0xb00000. For example:

  • ipcs -m | grep 0x008
  • ipcs -m | grep 0x00b QNX systems

QNX® systems use POSIX® APIs to create shared memory segments or semaphores. The shared memory segment resources are located in /dev/shmem and the shared memory mutex and semaphores are located in /dev/sem.

To view any leftover shared memory segments when no Connext DDS Micro applications are running:

  • ls /dev/shmem/RTIOsapi*
  • ls /dev/sem/RTIOsapi*

To clean up the shared memory resources, remove the files listed. Windows and VxWorks systems

On Windows and VxWorks® systems, once all the processes that are attached to a shared memory segment, shared memory mutex, or shared memory semaphores are terminated (either gracefully or ungracefully), the shared memory resources will be automatically cleaned up by the operating system.