Chapter 20. Message Redelivery and Undelivered Messages

Messages can be delivered unsuccessfully (e.g. if the transacted session used to consume them is rolled back). Such a message goes back to its queue ready to be redelivered. However, this means it is possible for a message to be delivered again and again without any success and remain in the queue, clogging the system.

There are 2 ways to deal with these undelivered messages:

Both options can be combined for maximum flexibility.

20.1. Delayed Redelivery

Delaying redelivery can often be useful in the case that clients regularly fail or rollback. Without a delayed redelivery, the system can get into a "thrashing" state, with delivery being attempted, the client rolling back, and delivery being re-attempted ad infinitum in quick succession, consuming valuable CPU and network resources.

20.1.1. Configuring Delayed Redelivery

Delayed redelivery is defined in the address-setting configuration:

     <!-- delay redelivery of messages for 5s -->
     <address-setting match="jms.queue.exampleQueue">

If a redelivery-delay is specified, JBoss Messaging will wait this delay before redelivering the messages

By default, there is no redelivery delay (redelivery-delayis set to 0).

Address wildcards can be used to configure redelivery delay for a set of addresses (see Chapter 11, Understanding the JBoss Messaging Wildcard Syntax).

20.1.2. Example

See Section 9.1.10, “Delayed Redelivery” for an example which shows how delayed redelivery is configured and used with JMS.

20.2. Dead Letter Addresses

To prevent a client infinitely receiving the same undelivered message (regardless of what is causing the unsuccessful deliveries), messaging systems define dead letter messages: after a specified unsuccessful delivery attempts, the message is removed from the queue and send instead to a dead letter address.

Any dead letter messages can then be diverted to queue(s) where they can later be perused by the system administrator for action to be taken.

JBoss Messaging's addresses can be assigned a dead letter address. Once the messages have be unsuccessfully delivered for a given number of attempts, they are removed from the queue and sent to the dead letter address. These dead letter messages can later be consumed for further inspection.

20.2.1. Configuring Dead Letter Addresses

Dead letter address is defined in the address-setting configuration:

     <!-- undelivered messages in exampleQueue will be sent to the dead letter address 
        deadLetterQueue after 3 unsuccessful delivery attempts
     <address-setting match="jms.queue.exampleQueue">

If a dead-letter-address is not specified, messages will removed after max-delivery-attempts unsuccessful attempts.

By default, messages are redelivered 10 times at the maximum. Set max-delivery-attempts to -1 for infinite redeliveries.

For example, a dead letter can be set globally for a set of matching addresses and you can set max-delivery-attempts to -1 for a specific address setting to allow infinite redeliveries only for this address.

Address wildcards can be used to configure dead letter settings for a set of addresses (see Chapter 11, Understanding the JBoss Messaging Wildcard Syntax).

20.2.2. Dead Letter Properties

Dead letter messages which are consumed from a dead letter address have the following property:


    a String property containing the original destination of the dead letter message

20.2.3. Example

See Section 9.1.9, “Dead Letter” for an example which shows how dead letter is configured and used with JMS.

20.3. Delivery Count Persistence

In normal use, JBoss Messaging does not update delivery count persistently until a message is rolled back (i.e. the delivery count is not updated before the message is delivered to the consumer). In most messaging use cases, the messages are consumed, acknowledged and forgotten as soon as they are consumed. In these cases, updating the delivery count persistently before delivering the message would add an extra persistent step for each message delivered, implying a significant performance penalty.

However, if the delivery count is not updated persistently before the message delivery happens, in the event of a server crash, messages might have been delivered but that will not have been reflected in the delivery count. During the recovery phase, the server will not have knowledge of that and will deliver the message with redelivered set to false while it should be true.

As this behavior breaks strict JMS semantics, JBoss Messaging allows to persist delivery count before message delivery but disabled it by default for performance implications.

To enable it, set persist-delivery-count-before-delivery to true in jbm-configuration.xml: