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Given the details that you have provided (and in fact you have no "problem") I would recommend this article which should explain everything: http://www.playframework.com/documentation/2.2.x/ThreadPools

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I am trying to get a level understanding of the whole stack here. At some point there has to be blocking going on.

No, this is not the case, if you are using asynchronous I/O libraries (like NIO or Netty). Understanding how they avoid blocking will lead you to low-level kernel functions like select, poll or epoll, and interrupts.

Wiki might be a good starting point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asynchronous_I/O


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