Thursday, December 01, 2016

Concurrency and scaling strategies for MDPs and MDBs

Message Driven Beans offer a lot of advantages over a standalone JMS consumer as listed in this blog-post. The Spring framework provides us with another lightweight alternative called MDP (Message Driven POJOs) that has all the goodies of MDB, but without any heavy JEE server baggage.

The strategy for implementing a scalable and load-balanced message consumption solution is a bit different in MDBs vs. MDPs.

An MDB is managed by the JEE container and is 'thread-safe' by default. The JEE container maintains a pool of MDBs and allows only one thread to execute an MDB at one time. Thus if you configure your JEE container to spawn 10 MDBs, you can have 10 JMS consumers processing messages concurrently.

Spring MDPs are typically managed by the DMLC (DefaultMessageListenerContainer). Each MDP is typically a singleton, but can have multiple threads running through it. Hence an MDP is NOT 'thread-safe' by default and we have to make sure that our MDPs are stateless - e.g. do not have instance variables, etc. The DMLC can be configured for min/max concurrent consumers to dynamically scale the number of consumers. All connection, session and consumer objects are cached by Spring to improve performance. Jotting down some important stuff to remember regarding DMLC from the Spring Java Docs.

"On startup, DMLC obtains a fixed number of JMS Sessions to invoke the listener, and optionally allows for dynamic adaptation at runtime (up to a maximum number). Actual MessageListener execution happens in asynchronous work units which are created through Spring's TaskExecutor abstraction. By default, the specified number of invoker tasks will be created on startup, according to the "concurrentConsumers" setting."

It is also possible in Spring to create a pool of MDPs and give one to each TaskExecutor, but we have never tested this and never felt the need for this. Making your MDPs stateless and hence 'thread-safe' would suffice for almost all business needs. Nevertheless, if you want to create a pool of MDP objects, then this link would help -

Another good article on Spring MDP scaling that is worth perusing is here -