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BlazingMQ Concepts

Let’s review some high level, user-facing concepts in BlazingMQ.


A domain is the top level namespace for a BlazingMQ user. A domain captures all the necessary attributes like storage quota, message expiration time (TTL), routing strategy (priority, fan-out, broadcast), etc. Multiple queues can be created in a domain, and all such queues inherit their domain’s attributes. A domain can be thought of as a collection of segregated streams of data, where each queue in the domain represents one data stream.

Queues in a domain do not need to be declared or created upfront. A queue will be created automatically when it is used for the first time.

Depending on their needs, a BlazingMQ user can have multiple domains (with each domain containing one or more queues). This is usually needed when a user wants different sets of data streams, with each set behaving differently for storage quota, routing, and other configurations.

Domain Attributes

A domain has several configuration parameters which dictate various functional aspects of the domain. A detailed overview of domain configuration can be found here, but let’s go over some of the important attributes:

  • Routing Strategy

    This attribute describes the routing strategy to be used by a BlazingMQ cluster for the queues belonging to the domain. More details about various routing strategies can be found here.

  • Storage Attributes

    These attributes describe storage-related configuration settings for a BlazingMQ domain. They include:

    • Maximum storage quota for the domain
    • Maximum storage quota for a queue in the domain (usually smaller than domain’s quota)

    Note that storage quota captures numbers, as well as bytes, of messages.

  • Message TTL

    Amount of time after which messages will be garbage-collected by BlazingMQ if not consumed by the application. TTL duration can vary from a few minutes to a few days.

  • Maximum Delivery Attempts

    Total number of times a message will be transmitted to consumers if a consumer crashes without confirming the message, indicating that the message is likely a poison pill message. The recommended value is five. See Poison Pill Detection for more details.

  • Deduplication Time Interval

    Total time interval for which a BlazingMQ cluster will keep track of MessageIds of the messages posted on the queue for the purpose of deduplication. See High Availability for more details.

  • Replication Consistency

    Type of consistency for storage replication. There are two choices – eventual and strong. Strong consistency is strongly recommended (pun unintentional). See this for more details.

  • Miscellaneous Settings

    A BlazingMQ domain contains some other configuration parameters described below:

    • MaxConsumers: Maximum number of consumers that can attach to a queue

    • MaxProducers: Maximum number of producers that can attach to a queue

    • MaxQueues: Maximum number of queues that can be created in a domain

    • MaxIdleTime: Amount of time interval after which BlazingMQ cluster will log an error message in its log if no messages were confirmed by the consumers during that interval. This error message can be used to raise an alarm in certain deployments.


A queue in BlazingMQ represents a stream of data over which producer and consumer applications exchange data. A queue decouples applications from one another by acting as an intermediary, so that applications don’t have to worry about each other’s physical locations or lifetimes. In other words, a queue provides temporal and spatial isolation between various applications.

In addition, a queue also protects consumer applications from bursty traffic by absorbing data spikes and enabling consumers to consume messages at their own pace.

Identifying a Queue

A queue in BlazingMQ is identified by its Uniform Resource Identifier (URI). The queue URI follows RFC 3986 and typically looks like bmq://, where:

  • Leading bmq is the URI scheme

  • is the BlazingMQ domain name (the URI authority)

  • quux is the BlazingMQ queue name within the domain namespace (the URI path)

More details about the format of a BlazingMQ queue URI can be found here. Applications can address a queue by its URI.

Lifetime of a Queue

Queues in BlazingMQ are completely dynamic, and applications don’t have to worry about managing a BlazingMQ queue’s lifetime. They do not need to be explicitly created or declared before being used. When an application gets a handle on a queue (by using one of the flavors from openQueue API), the queue is automatically created under the hood by a BlazingMQ cluster if it does not already exist.

Similarly, applications don’t have to worry about deleting a queue. A BlazingMQ cluster automatically garbage-collects a queue if it has no outstanding messages and no applications are attached to it.

This feature removes the burden on applications to manage a queue’s lifetime. It also enables a usage pattern where two or more applications create BlazingMQ queues which are tied to their own lifetimes. For example, while running, a pair of producer/consumer applications can exchange messages over a unique queue for their “private” communication, forget about the queue when they exit, and create a new one upon restart.

On the other hand, some applications will continue to use the same queue in production for many months and years.

Persistence and Durability

A very important attribute of a BlazingMQ queue is its durability. All queues are persisted and replicated. Learn more about clustering, storage, and replication in BlazingMQ.

Ordering in a Queue

Each BlazingMQ queue is assigned a primary node in the BlazingMQ cluster, and that primary node enforces an order on the messages arriving in the queue. Depending upon the queue’s Routing Strategies, consumers attached to the queue may or may not see messages in order. Additionally, consumers can see out of order messages in case a consumer application crashes or shuts down without confirming that all of the messages were routed to it.


A message is the basic unit of information that is exchanged between producer and consumer applications. In BlazingMQ, a message contains various attributes like:

  • Message Payload

This field contains the message’s contents. BlazingMQ APIs provide setter and getter functions for the message payload as binary data. Message payload is completely opaque to BlazingMQ and no parts of the system peek into it. Applications can serialize and deserialize messages using their favorite codecs (Protobuf, Avro, JSON, etc.).

  • Message Properties

A producer application can associate an optional list of key/value pairs with every message. These key/value pairs are known as message properties in BlazingMQ. Applications can capture any meta information in the message properties, which could be useful for tracing, logging, and routing in the application ecosystem.

  • Message Identifier

BlazingMQ assigns a unique message identifier to every message published by the producer application. This identifier is sent back to the producer in the message’s acknowledgement notification, as well as to the consumer. BlazingMQ message brokers also use these identifiers to deduplicate any retransitted messages by maintaining a moving window of previously seen identifiers.

Message Acknowledgement

For every message a producer application publishes, it receives a reply for it from BlazingMQ indicating the operation’s result. This reply is known at message acknowledgement or acknowlegement or just ACK in BlazingMQ. Acknowledgement can be negative, which indicates BlazingMQ’s failure to accept the message for various reasons (like a queue’s storage quota has been reached, a long running network connectivity issue, etc). However, BlazingMQ tries to minimize negative acknowledgements as much as possible by seamlessly buffering and retransmitting messages whenever possible.

In order to support high throughput workflows, acknowledgements are delivered asynchronously to the producer applications and may be delivered in batches.

Message Confirmation

Once a consumer application has finished processing the message, it needs to notify BlazingMQ so the message can be removed from the queue. This notification is called message confirmation or confirmation or just CONFIRM in BlazingMQ. BlazingMQ client library provides an API to send confirmation to the queue.