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Chapter 20. Guarantees of sends and commits

20.1. Guarantees of Transaction Completion
20.2. Guarantees of Non Transactional Message Sends
20.3. Guarantees of Non Transactional Acknowledgements
20.4. Asynchronous Send Acknowledgements
20.4.1. Asynchronous Send Acknowledgements

When committing or rolling back a transaction with HornetQ, the request to commit or rollback is sent to the server, and the call will block on the client side until a response has been received from the server that the commit or rollback was executed.

When the commit or rollback is received on the server, it will be committed to the journal, and depending on the value of the parameter journal-sync-transactional the server will ensure that the commit or rollback is durably persisted to storage before sending the response back to the client. If this parameter has the value false then commit or rollback may not actually get persisted to storage until some time after the response has been sent to the client. In event of server failure this may mean the commit or rollback never gets persisted to storage. The default value of this parameter is true so the client can be sure all transaction commits or rollbacks have been persisted to storage by the time the call to commit or rollback returns.

Setting this parameter to false can improve performance at the expense of some loss of transaction durability.

This parameter is set in hornetq-configuration.xml

If you are sending messages to a server using a non transacted session, HornetQ can be configured to block the call to send until the message has definitely reached the server, and a response has been sent back to the client. This can be configured individually for durable and non-durable messages, and is determined by the following two parameters:

Setting block on sends to true can reduce performance since each send requires a network round trip before the next send can be performed. This means the performance of sending messages will be limited by the network round trip time (RTT) of your network, rather than the bandwidth of your network. For better performance we recommend either batching many messages sends together in a transaction since with a transactional session, only the commit / rollback blocks not every send, or, using HornetQ's advanced asynchronous send acknowledgements feature described in Section 20.4, “Asynchronous Send Acknowledgements”.

If you are using JMS and you're using the JMS service on the server to load your JMS connection factory instances into JNDI then these parameters can be configured in hornetq-jms.xml using the elements block-on-durable-send and block-on-non-durable-send. If you're using JMS but not using JNDI then you can set these values directly on the HornetQConnectionFactory instance using the appropriate setter methods.

If you're using core you can set these values directly on the ClientSessionFactory instance using the appropriate setter methods.

When the server receives a message sent from a non transactional session, and that message is durable and the message is routed to at least one durable queue, then the server will persist the message in permanent storage. If the journal parameter journal-sync-non-transactional is set to true the server will not send a response back to the client until the message has been persisted and the server has a guarantee that the data has been persisted to disk. The default value for this parameter is true.

If you are acknowledging the delivery of a message at the client side using a non transacted session, HornetQ can be configured to block the call to acknowledge until the acknowledge has definitely reached the server, and a response has been sent back to the client. This is configured with the parameter BlockOnAcknowledge. If this is set to true then all calls to acknowledge on non transacted sessions will block until the acknowledge has reached the server, and a response has been sent back. You might want to set this to true if you want to implement a strict at most once delivery policy. The default value is false

If you are using a non transacted session but want a guarantee that every message sent to the server has reached it, then, as discussed in Section 20.2, “Guarantees of Non Transactional Message Sends”, you can configure HornetQ to block the call to send until the server has received the message, persisted it and sent back a response. This works well but has a severe performance penalty - each call to send needs to block for at least the time of a network round trip (RTT) - the performance of sending is thus limited by the latency of the network, not limited by the network bandwidth.

Let's do a little bit of maths to see how severe that is. We'll consider a standard 1Gib ethernet network with a network round trip between the server and the client of 0.25 ms.

With a RTT of 0.25 ms, the client can send at most 1000/ 0.25 = 4000 messages per second if it blocks on each message send.

If each message is < 1500 bytes and a standard 1500 bytes MTU size is used on the network, then a 1GiB network has a theoretical upper limit of (1024 * 1024 * 1024 / 8) / 1500 = 89478 messages per second if messages are sent without blocking! These figures aren't an exact science but you can clearly see that being limited by network RTT can have serious effect on performance.

To remedy this, HornetQ provides an advanced new feature called asynchronous send acknowledgements. With this feature, HornetQ can be configured to send messages without blocking in one direction and asynchronously getting acknowledgement from the server that the messages were received in a separate stream. By de-coupling the send from the acknowledgement of the send, the system is not limited by the network RTT, but is limited by the network bandwidth. Consequently better throughput can be achieved than is possible using a blocking approach, while at the same time having absolute guarantees that messages have successfully reached the server.

The window size for send acknowledgements is determined by the confirmation-window-size parameter on the connection factory or client session factory. Please see Chapter 34, Client Reconnection and Session Reattachment for more info on this.