In a multithreaded server, it is possible for shared resources to be accessed concurrently. In addition to scope object attributes, shared resources include in-memory data (such as instance or class variables) and external objects such as files, database connections, and network connections.
Concurrent access can arise in several situations:
Multiple web components accessing objects stored in the web context.
Multiple web components accessing objects stored in a session.
Multiple threads within a web component accessing instance variables. A web container will typically create a thread to handle each request. To ensure that a servlet instance handles only one request at a time, a servlet can implement the SingleThreadModel interface. If a servlet implements this interface, no two threads will execute concurrently in the servlet’s service method. A web container can implement this guarantee by synchronizing access to a single instance of the servlet or by maintaining a pool of web component instances and dispatching each new request to a free instance. This interface does not prevent synchronization problems that result from web components accessing shared resources such as static class variables or external objects.
When resources can be accessed concurrently, they can be used in an inconsistent fashion. You prevent this by controlling the access using the synchronization techniques described in the Threads lesson in The Java Tutorial, Fourth Edition, by Sharon Zakhour et al. (Addison-Wesley, 2006).