best way to serve wsgi with multiple processes

Graham Dumpleton Graham.Dumpleton at
Wed Feb 11 14:59:33 EST 2009

On Feb 11, 8:50 pm, Robin <robi... at> wrote:
> Hi,
> I am building some computational web services using soaplib. This
> creates a WSGI application.
> However, since some of these services are computationally intensive,
> and may be long running, I was looking for a way to use multiple
> processes. I thought about using multiprocessing.Process manually in
> the service, but I was a bit worried about how that might interact
> with a threaded server (I was hoping the thread serving that request
> could just wait until the child is finished). Also it would be good to
> keep the services as simple as possible so it's easier for people to
> write them.
> I have at the moment the following WSGI structure:
> TransLogger(URLMap(URLParser(soaplib objects)))
> although presumably, due to the beauty of WSGI, this shouldn't matter.
> As I've found with all web-related Python stuff, I'm overwhelmed by
> the choice and number of alternatives. I've so far been using cherrypy
> and ajp-wsgi for my testing, but am aware of Spawning, twisted etc.
> What would be the simplest [quickest to setup and fewest details of
> the server required - ideally with a simple example] and most reliable
> [this will eventually be 'in production' as part of a large scientific
> project] way to host this sort of WSGI with a process-per-request
> style?

In this sort of situation one wouldn't normally do the work in the
main web server, but have a separarte long running daemon process
embedding mini web server that understands XML-RPC. The main web
server would then make XML-RPC requests against the backend daemon
process, which would use threading and or queueing to handle the

If the work is indeed long running, the backend process would normally
just acknowledge the request and not wait. The web page would return
and it would be up to user to then somehow occassionally poll web
server, manually or by AJAX, to see how progres is going. That is,
further XML-RPC requests from main server to backend daemon process
asking about progress.

I do't believe the suggestions about fastcgi/scgi/ajp/flup or mod_wsgi
are really appropriate as you don't want this done in web server
processes as then you are at mercy of web server processes being
killed or dying when part way through something. Some of these systems
will do this if requests take too long. Thus better to offload real
work to another process.


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