Saturday, October 13, 2007

AMQP in 10 mins : Part3 - Flexible Routing Model

Most pre-AMQP models had several issues with their routing models.
  • Opaque routing models that were not explicitly defined.
  • Since the semantics are not visible or explicit manipulating the routing model through the protocol was difficult.
  • Rigid monolithic routing engines that had limited or no extensibility or compose-ability.
The AMQP Routing Model
One of AMQP 's primary goals was to define a flexible, extensible and transparent routing model where the semantics are explicitly defined. This permits the definition of management commands to manipulate the routing model. The AMQP model consists of three components
  • Exchange
  • Queue
  • Binding
AMQP defines a set of rules on how to compose these components in to processing chains. The routing model is analogues to how email works. The following diagram illustrates the routing model from a publisher and consumer's point of view.

(Click on image)

This is analogues to a Mail Transfer Agent. Queues (or other exchanges) are bound to an exchange using a 'Binding'. A publisher sends a message to an exchange. The exchange will accept the message and routes it to one or more queues (or another exchange) based on the bindings. An exchange completely decouples a publisher from queues and the consumers that consumes from those queues.

An exchange type defines a routing algorithm to match the bindings with a given message. Hence an exchange type represents a class of routing algorithm. An instance of an exchange type can be thought if as an instance of a routing algorithm. A broker can have multiple instances of an exchange type which are identified by there name. An exchange instance can have the following properties.
  • Durable/Temporary
  • Auto-Delete
This is analogues to a mail box. A queue will store the messages in memory or disk and deliver them to consumers. A queue binds itself to an exchange using a 'Binding' which describes the criteria for the type of messages it is interested in. Queues can have the following properties,
  • Durable/Temporary
  • Shared/Private (exclusive)
  • Auto-Delete
This is analogues to a Routing Table. A binding defines the relationship between an exchange and a queue. In other words it defines the routing criteria. The most simple case is where the binding equals the queue name. A binding decouples a queue from an exchange. The same queue can be bound to any number of exchanges using the same criteria or different criteria. Different queues can be bound to the same exchange using the same routing criteria as well.

Routing Key
Is a special field (Header) present in the Message Delivery Properties. It can be thought of as a virtual address, analogues to a 'To' field in an email. An exchange may use this field to route a message. The standard exchange types defined in AMQP use the routing key in different ways to route messages.

Standard Exchange Types
AMQP defines several standard exchange types that are described in detail in the next blog entry.

Extending The Routing Model
One can define new exchange types with arbitrary routing criteria (routing algorithms). For example one can define an exchange that routes messages based on content (content based routing). Thus AMQP provides a standard way of extending the routing model without impacting interoperability.

Next Part : Part4 - Standard Exchange Types And Supporting Common Messaging Use Cases

Prev Part : Part2 - Achieving Interoperability And Avoiding Vendor Lock-in

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