The team was recently asked about whether and how quorum queues can offer the same message ordering guarantees as classic queues given that they will deliver messages from a local queue replica (leader or follower) when possible. Mirrored queues always deliver from the master (the leader), so delivering from any queue replica sounds like it could impact those guarantees.
That is the subject of this post. Be warned, this post is a technical deep dive for the curious and the distributed systems enthusiast. We’ll take a look at how quorum queues can deliver messages from any queue replica, leader or follower, without additional coordination (extra to Raft) but maintaining message ordering guarantees.
In the last post we ran some simple benchmarks on a single queue to see what effect pipelining publisher confirms and consumer acknowledgements had on flow control.
Specifically we looked at:
Publishers: Restricting the number of in-flight messages (messages sent but pending a confirm).
Consumers: Prefetch (the number in-flight messages the broker will allow on the channel)
Consumers: Ack Interval (multiple flag usage)
Unsurprisingly, we saw when we restricted publishers and the brokers to a small number of in-flight messages at a time, that throughput was low. When we increased that limit, throughput increased, but only to a point, after which we saw no more throughput gains but instead just latency increases. We also saw that allowing consumers to use the multiple flag was beneficial to throughput.
In this post we’re going to look at those same three settings, but with many clients, many queues and different amounts of load, including stress tests. We’ll see that publisher confirms and consumer acknowledgements play a role in flow control to help prevent overload of a broker.
In the last post we covered what flow control is, both as a general concept and the various flow control mechanisms available in RabbitMQ. We saw that publisher confirms and consumer acknowledgements are not just data safety measures, but also play a role in flow control.
In this post we’re going to look at how application developers can use publisher confirms and consumer acknowledgements to get a balance of safety and high performance, in the context of a single queue.
Flow control becomes especially important when a broker is being overloaded. A single queue is unlikely to overload your broker. If you send large messages then sure, you can saturate your network, or if you only have a single CPU core, then one queue could max it out. But most of us are on 8, 16 or 30+ core machines. But it’s interesting to break down the effects of confirms and acks on a single queue. From there we can take our learnings and see if they apply to larger deployments (the next post).
As part of our quorum queue series we’re taking a look at flow control, how it protects RabbitMQ from being overloaded and how that relates to quorum queues.
What is Flow Control?
Flow control is a concept that has been in computer networking and networked software for decades. Essentially it is a mechanism for applying back pressure to senders to avoid overloading receivers. Receivers typically buffer incoming packets/messages as a way of dealing with a send rate that exceeds its processing rate. But receiver buffers cannot grow forever so either the send rate should only transiently exceed receiver processing capacity (bursty traffic) or the sender must be slowed down (back pressure).
Flow control is a way of applying this back pressure on the sender, slowing them down so that the receiver’s buffers do not overflow and latencies do not grow too large. In a chain of sender/receivers, this back pressure can propagate up the chain to the origin of the traffic. In more complex graphs of connected components, flow control can balance incoming traffic between fast and slow senders, avoiding overload but allowing the system to reach full utilisation despite different numbers of senders, different rates and different load patterns (steady or bursty).
Quorum queues are still relatively new to RabbitMQ and many people have still not made the jump from classic mirrored queues. Before you migrate to this new queue type you need to make sure that your hardware can support your workload and a big factor in that is what storage drives you use.
In this blog post we’re going to take a closer look at quorum queues and their performance characteristics on different storage configurations.
HDD or SSD? One drive or multiple drives?
The TL;DR is that we highly recommend SSDs when using quorum queues. The reason for this is that quorum queues are sensitive to IO latency and SSDs deliver lower latency IO than HDDs. With higher IO latency, you’ll see lower throughput, higher end-to-end latency and some other undesirable effects.
Further down in this post we’ll demonstrate why we recommend this, using various benchmarks with different SSD and HDD configurations.
This is the first part of a series on quorum queues, our new replicated queue type. We’ll be covering everything from what quorum queues are, to hardware requirements, migration from mirrored queues and best practices.
Introducing Quorum Queues
Mirrored queues, also known as HA queues have been the de facto option for years when requiring extra data safety guarantees for your messages. Quorum queues are the next generation of replicated queue that aim to replace most use cases for mirrored queues and are available from the 3.8 release and onward.
In this blog series we’re going to cover the following:
Part 1 - Understand the need for a new replicated queue type and how it works (this post)