Announcing tokio-uring: io-uring support for Tokio

July 19, 2021

Today, we published the first release of the “tokio-uring” crate, providing support for the io-uring system API on Linux. This release provides asynchronous File operations, and we will be adding support for more operations in subsequent releases.

To use tokio-uring, first, add a dependency on the crate:

tokio-uring = "0.1.0"

Then, start a tokio-uring runtime and read from a file:

use tokio_uring::fs::File;

fn main() -> Result<(), Box<dyn std::error::Error>> {
    tokio_uring::start(async {
        // Open a file
        let file = File::open("hello.txt").await?;

        let buf = vec![0; 4096];
        // Read some data, the buffer is passed by ownership and
        // submitted to the kernel. When the operation completes,
        // we get the buffer back.
        let (res, buf) = file.read_at(buf, 0).await;
        let n = res?;

        // Display the contents
        println!("{:?}", &buf[..n]);


The tokio-uring runtime uses a Tokio runtime under the hood, so it is compatible with Tokio types and libraries (e.g. hyper and tonic). Here is the same example as above, but instead of writing to STDOUT, we write to a Tokio TCP socket.

use tokio::io::AsyncWriteExt;
use tokio::net::TcpListener;
use tokio_uring::fs::File;

fn main() {
    tokio_uring::start(async {
        // Start a TCP listener
        let listener = TcpListener::bind("").await.unwrap();

        // Accept new sockets
        loop {
            let (mut socket, _) = listener.accept().await.unwrap();

            // Spawn a task to send the file back to the socket
            tokio_uring::spawn(async move {
                // Open the file without blocking
                let file = File::open("hello.txt").await.unwrap();
                let mut buf = vec![0; 16 * 1_024];

                // Track the current position in the file;
                let mut pos = 0;

                loop {
                    // Read a chunk
                    let (res, b) = file.read_at(buf, pos).await;
                    let n = res.unwrap();

                    if n == 0 {

                    pos += n as u64;

                    buf = b;

All tokio-uring operations are truly async, unlike APIs provided by tokio::fs, which run on a thread pool. Using synchronous filesystem operations from a thread pool adds significant overhead. With io-uring, we can perform both network and file system operations asynchronously from the same thread. But, io-uring is a lot more.

Tokio's current Linux implementation uses non-blocking system calls and epoll for event notification. With epoll, a tuned TCP proxy will spend 70% to 80% of CPU cycles outside of userspace, including cycles spent performing syscalls and copying data between the kernel and userspace. Io-uring reduces overhead by eliminating most syscalls and, for some operations, mapping memory regions used for byte buffers ahead of time. Early benchmarks comparing io-uring against epoll are promising; a TCP echo client and server implemented in C show up to 60% improvement.

The initial tokio-uring release offers a modest set of APIs, but we plan on adding support for all of io-uring’s capabilities over the coming releases. See the design document to get an idea of where we are going.

So, give the crate a try and feel free to ask questions or report issues.

Also, we want to thank all who helped along the way, especially Glauber Costa (Glommio author) who patiently answered many of my questions, withoutboats for the initial exploration (Ringbahn) and spending time talking through design issues with me, and quininer for the excellent work on the pure Rust io-uring bindings.