Sun Java System Message Queue 4.3 Administration Guide

Message Flow Limits

There is a limit to the number of payload messages that the Message Queue client runtime can handle before encountering local resource limitations, such as memory. When this limit is approached, performance suffers. Hence, Message Queue lets you limit the number of messages per consumer (or messages per connection) that can be delivered over a connection and buffered in the client runtime, waiting to be consumed.

Consumer Flow Limits

When the number of payload messages delivered to the client runtime exceeds the value of imqConsumerFlowLimit for any consumer, message delivery for that consumer stops. It is resumed only when the number of unconsumed messages for that consumer drops below the value set with imqConsumerFlowThreshold.

The following example illustrates the use of these limits: consider the default settings for topic consumers:


When the consumer is created, the broker delivers an initial batch of 1000 messages (providing they exist) to this consumer without pausing. After sending 1000 messages, the broker stops delivery until the client runtime asks for more messages. The client runtime holds these messages until the application processes them. The client runtime then allows the application to consume at least 50% (imqConsumerFlowThreshold ) of the message buffer capacity (i.e. 500 messages) before asking the broker to send the next batch.

In the same situation, if the threshold were 10%, the client runtime would wait for the application to consume at least 900 messages before asking for the next batch.

The next batch size is calculated as follows:

imqConsumerFlowLimit - (current number of pending msgs in buffer)

So if imqConsumerFlowThreshold is 50%, the next batch size can fluctuate between 500 and 1000, depending on how fast the application can process the messages.

If the imqConsumerFlowThreshold is set too high (close to 100%), the broker will tend to send smaller batches, which can lower message throughput. If the value is set too low (close to 0%), the client may be able to finish processing the remaining buffered messages before the broker delivers the next set, again degrading message throughput. Generally speaking, unless you have specific performance or reliability concerns, you will not need to change the default value of imqConsumerFlowThreshold attribute.

The consumer-based flow controls (in particular, imqConsumerFlowLimit ) are the best way to manage memory in the client runtime. Generally, depending on the client application, you know the number of consumers you need to support on any connection, the size of the messages, and the total amount of memory that is available to the client runtime.

Connection Flow Limits

In the case of some client applications, however, the number of consumers may be indeterminate, depending on choices made by end users. In those cases, you can still manage memory using connection-level flow limits.

Connection-level flow controls limit the total number of messages buffered for all consumers on a connection. If this number exceeds the value of imqConnectionFlowLimit, delivery of messages through the connection stops until that total drops below the connection limit. (The imqConnectionFlowLimit attribute is enabled only if you set imqConnectionFlowLimitEnabled to true.)

The number of messages queued up in a session is a function of the number of message consumers using the session and the message load for each consumer. If a client is exhibiting delays in producing or consuming messages, you can normally improve performance by redesigning the application to distribute message producers and consumers among a larger number of sessions or to distribute sessions among a larger number of connections.