By setting certain connection factory attributes, you can configure a client to reconnect automatically to a broker in the event of a failed connection. For standalone brokers or those belonging to a conventional broker cluster (see Conventional Clusters in Sun Java System Message Queue 4.3 Technical Overview), you enable this behavior by setting the connection factory’s imqReconnectEnabled attribute to true. The imqReconnectAttempts attribute controls the number of reconnection attempts to a given broker address; imqReconnectInterval specifies the interval, in milliseconds, to wait between attempts.
If the broker is part of a conventional cluster, the failed connection can be restored not only on the original broker, but also on a different one in the cluster. If reconnection to the original broker fails, the client runtime will try the other addresses in the connection factory’s broker address list (imqAddressList). The imqAddressListBehavior and imqAddressListIterations attributes control the order in which addresses are tried and the number of iterations through the list, as described in the preceding section. Each address is tried repeatedly at intervals of imqReconnectInterval milliseconds, up to the maximum number of attempts specified by imqReconnectAttempts.
Note, however, that in a conventional cluster, such automatic reconnection only provides connection failover and not data failover: persistent messages and other state information held by a failed or disconnected broker can be lost when the client is reconnected to a different broker instance. While attempting to reestablish a connection, Message Queue does maintain objects (such as sessions, message consumers, and message producers) provided by the client runtime. Temporary destinations are also maintained for a time when a connection fails, because clients might reconnect and access them again; after giving clients time to reconnect and use these destinations, the broker will delete them. In circumstances where the client-side state cannot be fully restored on the broker on reconnection (for instance, when using transacted sessions, which exist only for the duration of a connection), automatic reconnection will not take place and the connection’s exception handler will be called instead. It is then up to the client application to catch the exception, reconnect, and restore state.
By contrast, in an enhanced cluster (see High-Availability Clusters in Sun Java System Message Queue 4.3 Technical Overview), another broker can take over a failed broker’s persistent state and proceed to deliver its pending messages without interruption of service. In this type of cluster, automatic reconnection is always enabled. The connection factory’s imqReconnectEnabled, imqAddressList, and imqAddressListIterations attributes are ignored. The client runtime is automatically redirected to the failover broker. Because there might be a short time lag during which the failover broker takes over from the failed broker, the imqReconnectAttempts connection factory attribute should be set to a value of -1 (client runtime continues connect attempts until successful).
Automatic reconnection supports all client acknowledgment modes for message consumption. Once a connection has been reestablished, the broker will redeliver all unacknowledged messages it had previously delivered, marking them with a Redeliver flag. Client applications can use this flag to determine whether a message has already been consumed but not yet acknowledged. (In the case of nondurable subscribers, however, the broker does not hold messages once their connections have been closed. Thus any messages produced for such subscribers while the connection is down cannot be delivered after reconnection and will be lost.) Message production is blocked while automatic reconnection is in progress; message producers cannot send messages to the broker until after the connection has been reestablished.