AIO(7)                     Linux Programmer's Manual                    AIO(7)

       aio - POSIX asynchronous I/O overview

       The  POSIX asynchronous I/O (AIO) interface allows applications to ini-
       tiate one or more I/O  operations  that  are  performed  asynchronously
       (i.e., in the background).  The application can elect to be notified of
       completion of the I/O operation in a variety of ways: by delivery of  a
       signal, by instantiation of a thread, or no notification at all.

       The POSIX AIO interface consists of the following functions:

       aio_read(3)     Enqueue  a read request.  This is the asynchronous ana-
                       log of read(2).

       aio_write(3)    Enqueue a write request.  This is the asynchronous ana-
                       log of write(2).

       aio_fsync(3)    Enqueue a sync request for the I/O operations on a file
                       descriptor.   This  is  the  asynchronous   analog   of
                       fsync(2) and fdatasync(2).

       aio_error(3)    Obtain the error status of an enqueued I/O request.

       aio_return(3)   Obtain the return status of a completed I/O request.

       aio_suspend(3)  Suspend the caller until one or more of a specified set
                       of I/O requests completes.

       aio_cancel(3)   Attempt to cancel outstanding I/O requests on a  speci-
                       fied file descriptor.

       lio_listio(3)   Enqueue  multiple  I/O requests using a single function

       The aiocb ("asynchronous I/O control block") structure defines  parame-
       ters  that  control  an I/O operation.  An argument of this type is em-
       ployed with all of the functions listed above.  This structure has  the
       following form:

           #include <aiocb.h>

           struct aiocb {
               /* The order of these fields is implementation-dependent */

               int             aio_fildes;     /* File descriptor */
               off_t           aio_offset;     /* File offset */
               volatile void  *aio_buf;        /* Location of buffer */
               size_t          aio_nbytes;     /* Length of transfer */
               int             aio_reqprio;    /* Request priority */
               struct sigevent aio_sigevent;   /* Notification method */
               int             aio_lio_opcode; /* Operation to be performed;
                                                  lio_listio() only */

               /* Various implementation-internal fields not shown */

           /* Operation codes for 'aio_lio_opcode': */

           enum { LIO_READ, LIO_WRITE, LIO_NOP };

       The fields of this structure are as follows:

       aio_fildes      The file descriptor on which the I/O operation is to be

       aio_offset      This is the file offset at which the I/O  operation  is
                       to be performed.

       aio_buf         This  is the buffer used to transfer data for a read or
                       write operation.

       aio_nbytes      This is the size of the buffer pointed to by aio_buf.

       aio_reqprio     This field specifies a value that  is  subtracted  from
                       the calling thread's real-time priority in order to de-
                       termine the priority for execution of this I/O  request
                       (see  pthread_setschedparam(3)).   The  specified value
                       must  be  between  0  and   the   value   returned   by
                       sysconf(_SC_AIO_PRIO_DELTA_MAX).  This field is ignored
                       for file synchronization operations.

       aio_sigevent    This field is a structure that specifies how the caller
                       is  to  be notified when the asynchronous I/O operation
                       completes.  Possible values for  aio_sigevent.sigev_no-
                       tify  are  SIGEV_NONE,  SIGEV_SIGNAL, and SIGEV_THREAD.
                       See sigevent(7) for further details.

       aio_lio_opcode  The type of operation to be performed;  used  only  for

       In  addition  to the standard functions listed above, the GNU C library
       provides the following extension to the POSIX AIO API:

       aio_init(3)     Set parameters for tuning the  behavior  of  the  glibc
                       POSIX AIO implementation.

       EINVAL The aio_reqprio field of the aiocb structure was less than 0, or
              was   greater   than   the   limit   returned   by   the    call

       The POSIX AIO interfaces are provided by glibc since version 2.1.

       POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008.

       It  is a good idea to zero out the control block buffer before use (see
       memset(3)).  The control block buffer and  the  buffer  pointed  to  by
       aio_buf  must  not  be  changed while the I/O operation is in progress.
       These buffers must remain valid until the I/O operation completes.

       Simultaneous asynchronous read or write operations using the same aiocb
       structure yield undefined results.

       The current Linux POSIX AIO implementation is provided in user space by
       glibc.  This has a number of limitations, most notably that maintaining
       multiple  threads  to  perform  I/O  operations is expensive and scales
       poorly.  Work has been in progress for some time on a kernel  state-ma-
       chine-based  implementation  of  asynchronous  I/O  (see  io_submit(2),
       io_setup(2), io_cancel(2), io_destroy(2),  io_getevents(2)),  but  this
       implementation  hasn't yet matured to the point where the POSIX AIO im-
       plementation can be completely reimplemented using  the  kernel  system

       The program below opens each of the files named in its command-line ar-
       guments and queues a request on the  resulting  file  descriptor  using
       aio_read(3).   The  program then loops, periodically monitoring each of
       the I/O operations that is still in progress using aio_error(3).   Each
       of  the I/O requests is set up to provide notification by delivery of a
       signal.  After all I/O requests have completed, the  program  retrieves
       their status using aio_return(3).

       The  SIGQUIT  signal (generated by typing control-\) causes the program
       to request cancellation of  each  of  the  outstanding  requests  using

       Here  is an example of what we might see when running this program.  In
       this example, the program queues two requests to  standard  input,  and
       these are satisfied by two lines of input containing "abc" and "x".

           $ ./a.out /dev/stdin /dev/stdin
           opened /dev/stdin on descriptor 3
           opened /dev/stdin on descriptor 4
               for request 0 (descriptor 3): In progress
               for request 1 (descriptor 4): In progress
           I/O completion signal received
               for request 0 (descriptor 3): I/O succeeded
               for request 1 (descriptor 4): In progress
               for request 1 (descriptor 4): In progress
           I/O completion signal received
               for request 1 (descriptor 4): I/O succeeded
           All I/O requests completed
               for request 0 (descriptor 3): 4
               for request 1 (descriptor 4): 2

   Program source

       #include <fcntl.h>
       #include <stdlib.h>
       #include <unistd.h>
       #include <stdio.h>
       #include <errno.h>
       #include <aio.h>
       #include <signal.h>

       #define BUF_SIZE 20     /* Size of buffers for read operations */

       #define errExit(msg) do { perror(msg); exit(EXIT_FAILURE); } while (0)

       #define errMsg(msg)  do { perror(msg); } while (0)

       struct ioRequest {      /* Application-defined structure for tracking
                                  I/O requests */
           int           reqNum;
           int           status;
           struct aiocb *aiocbp;

       static volatile sig_atomic_t gotSIGQUIT = 0;
                               /* On delivery of SIGQUIT, we attempt to
                                  cancel all outstanding I/O requests */

       static void             /* Handler for SIGQUIT */
       quitHandler(int sig)
           gotSIGQUIT = 1;

       #define IO_SIGNAL SIGUSR1   /* Signal used to notify I/O completion */

       static void                 /* Handler for I/O completion signal */
       aioSigHandler(int sig, siginfo_t *si, void *ucontext)
           if (si->si_code == SI_ASYNCIO) {
               write(STDOUT_FILENO, "I/O completion signal received\n", 31);

               /* The corresponding ioRequest structure would be available as
                      struct ioRequest *ioReq = si->si_value.sival_ptr;
                  and the file descriptor would then be available via
                      ioReq->aiocbp->aio_fildes */

       main(int argc, char *argv[])
           struct ioRequest *ioList;
           struct aiocb *aiocbList;
           struct sigaction sa;
           int s, j;
           int numReqs;        /* Total number of queued I/O requests */
           int openReqs;       /* Number of I/O requests still in progress */

           if (argc < 2) {
               fprintf(stderr, "Usage: %s <pathname> <pathname>...\n",

           numReqs = argc - 1;

           /* Allocate our arrays */

           ioList = calloc(numReqs, sizeof(struct ioRequest));
           if (ioList == NULL)

           aiocbList = calloc(numReqs, sizeof(struct aiocb));
           if (aiocbList == NULL)

           /* Establish handlers for SIGQUIT and the I/O completion signal */

           sa.sa_flags = SA_RESTART;

           sa.sa_handler = quitHandler;
           if (sigaction(SIGQUIT, &sa, NULL) == -1)

           sa.sa_flags = SA_RESTART | SA_SIGINFO;
           sa.sa_sigaction = aioSigHandler;
           if (sigaction(IO_SIGNAL, &sa, NULL) == -1)

           /* Open each file specified on the command line, and queue
              a read request on the resulting file descriptor */

           for (j = 0; j < numReqs; j++) {
               ioList[j].reqNum = j;
               ioList[j].status = EINPROGRESS;
               ioList[j].aiocbp = &aiocbList[j];

               ioList[j].aiocbp->aio_fildes = open(argv[j + 1], O_RDONLY);
               if (ioList[j].aiocbp->aio_fildes == -1)
               printf("opened %s on descriptor %d\n", argv[j + 1],

               ioList[j].aiocbp->aio_buf = malloc(BUF_SIZE);
               if (ioList[j].aiocbp->aio_buf == NULL)

               ioList[j].aiocbp->aio_nbytes = BUF_SIZE;
               ioList[j].aiocbp->aio_reqprio = 0;
               ioList[j].aiocbp->aio_offset = 0;
               ioList[j].aiocbp->aio_sigevent.sigev_notify = SIGEV_SIGNAL;
               ioList[j].aiocbp->aio_sigevent.sigev_signo = IO_SIGNAL;
               ioList[j].aiocbp->aio_sigevent.sigev_value.sival_ptr =

               s = aio_read(ioList[j].aiocbp);
               if (s == -1)

           openReqs = numReqs;

           /* Loop, monitoring status of I/O requests */

           while (openReqs > 0) {
               sleep(3);       /* Delay between each monitoring step */

               if (gotSIGQUIT) {

                   /* On receipt of SIGQUIT, attempt to cancel each of the
                      outstanding I/O requests, and display status returned
                      from the cancellation requests */

                   printf("got SIGQUIT; canceling I/O requests: \n");

                   for (j = 0; j < numReqs; j++) {
                       if (ioList[j].status == EINPROGRESS) {
                           printf("    Request %d on descriptor %d:", j,
                           s = aio_cancel(ioList[j].aiocbp->aio_fildes,
                           if (s == AIO_CANCELED)
                               printf("I/O canceled\n");
                           else if (s == AIO_NOTCANCELED)
                               printf("I/O not canceled\n");
                           else if (s == AIO_ALLDONE)
                               printf("I/O all done\n");

                   gotSIGQUIT = 0;

               /* Check the status of each I/O request that is still
                  in progress */

               for (j = 0; j < numReqs; j++) {
                   if (ioList[j].status == EINPROGRESS) {
                       printf("    for request %d (descriptor %d): ",
                               j, ioList[j].aiocbp->aio_fildes);
                       ioList[j].status = aio_error(ioList[j].aiocbp);

                       switch (ioList[j].status) {
                       case 0:
                           printf("I/O succeeded\n");
                       case EINPROGRESS:
                           printf("In progress\n");
                       case ECANCELED:

                       if (ioList[j].status != EINPROGRESS)

           printf("All I/O requests completed\n");

           /* Check status return of all I/O requests */

           for (j = 0; j < numReqs; j++) {
               ssize_t s;

               s = aio_return(ioList[j].aiocbp);
               printf("    for request %d (descriptor %d): %zd\n",
                       j, ioList[j].aiocbp->aio_fildes, s);


       io_cancel(2), io_destroy(2), io_getevents(2), io_setup(2),
       io_submit(2), aio_cancel(3), aio_error(3), aio_init(3), aio_read(3),
       aio_return(3), aio_write(3), lio_listio(3)

       "Asynchronous I/O Support in Linux 2.5", Bhattacharya, Pratt,
       Pulavarty, and Morgan, Proceedings of the Linux Symposium, 2003,

       This page is part of release 5.05 of the Linux man-pages project.  A
       description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the
       latest version of this page, can be found at

Linux                             2019-03-06                            AIO(7)
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