Virtual Topics

Virtual Topics (a specialisation of virtual destinations) in ActiveMQ 5.x typically address two different but related problems. Lets take each in turn:

Shared access to a JMS durable topic subscription

With JMS1.1, a durable subscription is identified by the pair of clientId and subscriptionName. The clientId component must be unique to a connection on the broker. This means that the subscription is exclusive. It is not possible to load balance the stream of messages across consumers and quick failover is difficult because the existing connection state on the broker needs to be first disposed. With virtual topics, each subscription's stream of messages is redirected to a queue.

In Artemis there are two alternatives, the new JMS 2.0 api or direct access to a subscription queue via the FQQN.

JMS 2.0 shared subscriptions

JMS 2.0 adds the possibility of shared subscriptions with new API's that are fully supported in Artemis.

Fully Qualified Queue name (FQQN)

Secondly, Artemis uses a queue per topic subscriber model internally and it is possibly to directly address the subscription queue using its Fully Qualified Queue name (FQQN).

For example, a default 5.x consumer destination for topic VirtualTopic.Orders subscription A:

    Queue subscriptionQueue = session.createQueue("Consumer.A.VirtualTopic.Orders");

would be replaced with an Artemis FQQN comprised of the address and queue.

    Queue subscriptionQueue = session.createQueue("VirtualTopic.Orders::Consumer.A.VirtualTopic.Orders");

This does require modification to the destination name used by consumers which is not ideal. If OpenWire clients cannot be modified, Artemis supports a virtual topic wildcard filter mechanism on the OpenWire protocol handler that will automatically convert the consumer destination into the corresponding FQQN. The format is a comma separated list of strings pairs, delimited with a ';'. Each pair identifies a filter to match the virtual topic consumer destination and an int that specifies the number of path matches that terminate the consumer queue identity.

E.g: For the default 5.x virtual topic consumer prefix of Consumer.*. the parameter virtualTopicConsumerWildcards should be: Consumer.*.>;2. However, there is a caveat because this value needs to be encoded in a uri for the xml configuration. Any unsafe url characters , in this case: > ; need to be escaped with their hex code point representation; leading to a value of Consumer.*.%3E%3B2. In this way a consumer destination of Consumer.A.VirtualTopic.Orders will be transformed into a FQQN of VirtualTopic.Orders::Consumer.A.VirtualTopic.Orders.

Durable topic subscribers in a network of brokers

The store and forward network bridges in 5.x create a durable subscriber per destination. As demand migrates across a network, duplicate durable subs get created on each node in the network but they do not migrate. The end result can result in duplicate message storage and ultimately duplicate delivery, which is not good. When durable subscribers map to virtual topic subscriber queues, the queues can migrate and the problem can be avoided.

In Artemis, because a durable sub is modeled as a queue, this problem does not arise.

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