Thread Local Storage (TLS)
Thread Local Storage (TLS) is the method by which each thread in a given multithreaded process can allocate locations in which to store thread-specific data. Dynamically bound (run-time) thread-specific data is supported by way of the TLS API (TlsAlloc, TlsGetValue, TlsSetValue, and TlsFree). Win32 and the Visual C++ compiler now support statically bound (load-time) per-thread data in addition to the existing API implementation.
The Visual C++ compiler includes a keyword to make TLS operations more automatic, rather than through the API layer. This syntax is described in the next section, Compiler Implementation for TLS.
To support TLS, a new attribute, thread, has been added to the C and C++ languages and is supported by the Visual C++ compiler. This attribute is an extended storage class modifier, as described in the previous section. Use the __declspec keyword to declare a thread variable. For example, the following code declares an integer thread local variable and initializes it with a value:
__declspec( thread ) int tls_i = 1;