Infrastructure at your Service

In previous blogs, I talked about some basis and presented some possible architectures for Alfresco, I talked about the Clustering setup for the Alfresco Repository and the Alfresco Share. In this one, I will work on the ActiveMQ layer. I recently posted something related to the setup of ActiveMQ and some initial configuration. I will therefore extend this topic in this blog with what needs to be done to have a simple Cluster for ActiveMQ. I’m not an ActiveMQ expert, I just started using it a few months ago in relation to Alfresco but still, I learned some things in this timeframe so this might be of some use.

ActiveMQ is a Messaging Server so there are therefore three sides to this component. First, there are Producers which produce messages. These messages are put in the broker’s queue which is the second side and finally there are Consumers which consume the messages from the queue. Producers and Consumers are satellites that are using the JMS broker’s queue: they are both clients. Therefore, in a standalone architecture (one broker), there is no issue because clients will always produce and consume all messages. However, if you start adding more brokers and if you aren’t doing it right, you might have producers talking to a specific broker and consumers talking to another one. To solve that, there are a few things possible:

  • a first solution is to create a Network of Brokers which will allow the different brokers to forward the necessary messages between them. You can see that as an Active/Active Cluster
    • Pros: this allows ActiveMQ to support a huge architecture with potentially hundreds or thousands of brokers
    • Cons: messages are, at any point in time, only owned by one single broker so if this broker goes down, the message is lost (if there is no persistence) or will have to wait for the broker to be restarted (if there is persistence)
  • the second solution that ActiveMQ supports is the Master/Slave one. In this architecture, all messages will be replicated from a Master to all Slave brokers. You can see that as something like an Active/Passive Cluster
    • Pros: messages are always processed and cannot be lost. If the Master broker is going down for any reasons, one of the Slave is instantly taking its place as the new Master with all the previous messages
    • Cons: since all messages are replicated, it’s much harder to support a huge architecture

In case of a Network of Brokers, it’s possible to use either the static or dynamic discovery of brokers:

  • Static discovery: Uses the static protocol to provide a list of all URIs to be tested to discover other connections. E.g.: static:(tcp://mq_n1.domain:61616,tcp://mq_n2.domain:61616)?maxReconnectDelay=3000
  • Dynamic discovery: Uses a multicast discovery agent to check for other connections. This is done using the discoveryUri parameter in the XML configuration file

 

I. Client’s configuration

On the client’s side, using several brokers is very simple since it’s all about using the correct broker URL. To be able to connect to several brokers, you should use the Failover Transport protocol which replaced the Reliable protocol used in ActiveMQ 3. For Alfresco, this broker URL needs to be updated in the alfresco-global.properties file. This is an example for a pretty simple URL with two brokers:

[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ cat $CATALINA_HOME/shared/classes/alfresco-global.properties
...
### ActiveMQ
messaging.broker.url=failover:(tcp://mq_n1.domain:61616,tcp://mq_n2.domain:61616)?timeout=3000&randomize=false&nested.daemon=false&nested.dynamicManagement=false
#messaging.username=
#messaging.password=
...
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$

 

There are a few things to note. The Failover used above is a transport layer that can be used in combination with any of the other transport methods/protocol. Here it’s used with two TCP protocol. The correct nomenclature is either:

  • failover:uri1,…,uriN
    • E.g.: failover:tcp://mq_n1.domain:61616,tcp://mq_n2.domain:61616 => the simplest broker URL for two brokers with no custom options
  • failover:uri1?URIOptions1,…,uriN?URIOptionsN
    • E.g.: failover:tcp://mq_n1.domain:61616?daemon=false&dynamicManagement=false&trace=false,tcp://mq_n2.domain:61616?daemon=false&dynamicManagement=true&trace=true => a more advanced broker URL with some custom options for each of the TCP protocol URIs
  • failover:(uri1?URIOptions1,…,uriN?URIOptionsN)?FailoverTransportOptions
    • E.g.: failover:(tcp://mq_n1.domain:61616?daemon=false&dynamicManagement=false&trace=false,tcp://mq_n2.domain:61616?daemon=false&dynamicManagement=true&trace=true)?timeout=3000&randomize=false => the same broker URL as above but, in addition, with some Failover Transport options
  • failover:(uri1,…,uriN)?FailoverTransportOptions&NestedURIOptions
    • E.g.: failover:(tcp://mq_n1.domain:61616,tcp://mq_n2.domain:61616)?timeout=3000&randomize=false&nested.daemon=false&nested.dynamicManagement=false&nested.trace=false => since ActiveMQ 5.9, it’s now possible to set the nested URIs options (here the TCP protocol options) at the end of the broker URL, they just need to be preceded by “nested.”. Nested options will apply to all URIs.

There are a lot of interesting parameters, these are some:

  • Failover Transport options:
    • backup=true: initialize and keep a second connection to another broker for faster failover
    • randomize=true: will pick a new URI for the reconnect randomly from the list of URIs
    • timeout=3000: time in ms before timeout on the send operations
    • priorityBackup=true: clients will failover to other brokers in case the “primary” broker isn’t available (that’s always the case) but it will consistently try to reconnect to the “primary” one. It is possible to specify several “primary” brokers with the priorityURIs option (comma separated list)
  • TCP Transport options:
    • daemon=false: specify that ActiveMQ isn’t running in a Spring or Web container
    • dynamicManagement=false: disabling the JMX management
    • trace=false: disabling the tracing

The full list of Failover Transport options is described here and the full list of TCP Transport options here.

II. Messaging Server’s configuration

I believe the simplest setup for Clustering in ActiveMQ is using the Master/Slave setup, that’s what I will talk about here. If you are looking for more information about the Network of Brokers, you can find that here. As mentioned previously, the idea behind the Master/Slave is to replicate somehow the messages to Slave brokers. To do that, there are three possible configurations:

  • Shared File System: use a shared file system
  • JDBC: use a Database Server
  • Replicated LevelDB Store: use a ZooKeeper Server. This has been deprecated in recent versions of ActiveMQ 5 in favour of KahaDB, which is a file-based persistence Database. Therefore, this actually is linked to the first configuration above (Shared File System)

In the scope of Alfresco, you should already have a shared file system as well as a shared Database Server for the Repository Clustering… So, it’s pretty easy to fill the prerequisites for ActiveMQ since you already have them. Of course, you can use a dedicated Shared File System or dedicated Database, that’s up to your requirements.

a. JDBC

For the JDBC configuration, you will need to change the persistenceAdapter to use the dedicated jdbcPersistenceAdapter and create the associated DataSource for your Database. ActiveMQ supports some DBs like Apache Derby, DB2, HSQL, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQLServer or Sybase. You will also need to add the JDBC library at the right location.

[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ cat $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/activemq.xml
<beans
  xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
  xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
  xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans.xsd
  http://activemq.apache.org/schema/core http://activemq.apache.org/schema/core/activemq-core.xsd">
  ...
  <broker xmlns="http://activemq.apache.org/schema/core" brokerName="mq_n1" dataDirectory="${activemq.data}">
    ...
    <persistenceAdapter>
      <jdbcPersistenceAdapter dataDirectory="activemq-data" dataSource="postgresql-ds"/>
    </persistenceAdapter>
    ...
  </broker>
  ...
  <bean id="postgresql-ds" class="org.postgresql.ds.PGPoolingDataSource">
    <property name="serverName" value="db_vip"/>
    <property name="databaseName" value="alfresco"/>
    <property name="portNumber" value="5432"/>
    <property name="user" value="alfresco"/>
    <property name="password" value="My+P4ssw0rd"/>
    <property name="dataSourceName" value="postgres"/>
    <property name="initialConnections" value="1"/>
    <property name="maxConnections" value="10"/>
  </bean>
  ...
</beans>
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$

 

b. Shared File System

The Shared File System configuration is, from my point of view, the simplest one to configure but for it to work properly, there are some things to note because you should use a shared file system that supports proper file lock. This means that:

  • you cannot use the Oracle Cluster File System (OCFS/OCFS2) because there is no cluster-aware flock or POSIX locks
  • if you are using NFS v3 or lower, you won’t have automatic failover from Master to Slave because there is no timeout and therefore the lock will never be released. You should therefore use NFS v4 instead

Additionally, you need to share the persistenceAdapter between all brokers but you cannot share the data folder completely otherwise the logs will be overwritten by all brokers (that’s bad but it’s not really an issue) and more importantly, the PID file will also be overwritten which will therefore cause issues to start/stop Slave brokers…

Therefore, configuring properly the Shared File System is all about keeping the “$ACTIVEMQ_DATA” environment variable set to the place where you want the logs and PID files to be stored (i.e. locally) and you need to overwrite the persistenceAdapter path to be on the Shared File System:

[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ # Root folder of the ActiveMQ binaries
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ echo $ACTIVEMQ_HOME
/opt/activemq
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ # Location of the logs and PID file
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ echo $ACTIVEMQ_DATA
/opt/activemq/data
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ # Location of the Shared File System
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ echo $ACTIVEMQ_SHARED_DATA
/shared/file/system
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sudo systemctl stop activemq.service
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ grep -A2 "<persistenceAdapter>" $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/activemq.xml
    <persistenceAdapter>
      <kahaDB directory="${activemq.data}/kahadb"/>
    </persistenceAdapter>
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ # Put the KahaDB into the Shared File System
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sed -i "s, directory=\"[^\"]*\", directory=\"${ACTIVEMQ_SHARED_DATA}/activemq/kahadb\"," $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/activemq.xml
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ grep -A2 "<persistenceAdapter>" $ACTIVEMQ_HOME/conf/activemq.xml
    <persistenceAdapter>
      <kahaDB directory="/shared/file/system/activemq/kahadb"/>
    </persistenceAdapter>
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ sudo systemctl start activemq.service

 

Starting the Master ActiveMQ will display some information in the log of the node1 showing that it has started properly and it will listen for connections on the different transportConnector:

[[email protected]_n1 ~]$ cat $ACTIVEMQ_DATA/activemq.log
2019-07-28 11:34:37,598 | INFO  | Refreshing [email protected]: startup date [Sun Jul 28 11:34:37 CEST 2019]; root of context hierarchy | org.apache.activemq.xbean.XBeanBrokerFactory$1 | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,289 | INFO  | Using Persistence Adapter: KahaDBPersistenceAdapter[/shared/file/system/activemq/kahadb] | org.apache.activemq.broker.BrokerService | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,330 | INFO  | KahaDB is version 6 | org.apache.activemq.store.kahadb.MessageDatabase | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,351 | INFO  | PListStore:[/opt/activemq/data/mq_n1/tmp_storage] started | org.apache.activemq.store.kahadb.plist.PListStoreImpl | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,479 | INFO  | Apache ActiveMQ 5.15.6 (mq_n1, ID:mq_n1-36925-1564306478360-0:1) is starting | org.apache.activemq.broker.BrokerService | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,533 | INFO  | Listening for connections at: tcp://mq_n1:61616?maximumConnections=1000&wireFormat.maxFrameSize=104857600 | org.apache.activemq.transport.TransportServerThreadSupport | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,542 | INFO  | Connector openwire started | org.apache.activemq.broker.TransportConnector | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,545 | INFO  | Listening for connections at: amqp://mq_n1:5672?maximumConnections=1000&wireFormat.maxFrameSize=104857600 | org.apache.activemq.transport.TransportServerThreadSupport | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,546 | INFO  | Connector amqp started | org.apache.activemq.broker.TransportConnector | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,552 | INFO  | Listening for connections at: stomp://mq_n1:61613?maximumConnections=1000&wireFormat.maxFrameSize=104857600 | org.apache.activemq.transport.TransportServerThreadSupport | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,553 | INFO  | Connector stomp started | org.apache.activemq.broker.TransportConnector | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,556 | INFO  | Listening for connections at: mqtt://mq_n1:1883?maximumConnections=1000&wireFormat.maxFrameSize=104857600 | org.apache.activemq.transport.TransportServerThreadSupport | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,561 | INFO  | Connector mqtt started | org.apache.activemq.broker.TransportConnector | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,650 | WARN  | [email protected]@11841b15{/,null,STARTING} has uncovered http methods for path: / | org.eclipse.jetty.security.SecurityHandler | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,710 | INFO  | Listening for connections at ws://mq_n1:61614?maximumConnections=1000&wireFormat.maxFrameSize=104857600 | org.apache.activemq.transport.ws.WSTransportServer | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,712 | INFO  | Connector ws started | org.apache.activemq.broker.TransportConnector | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,712 | INFO  | Apache ActiveMQ 5.15.6 (mq_n1, ID:mq_n1-36925-1564306478360-0:1) started | org.apache.activemq.broker.BrokerService | main
2019-07-28 11:34:38,714 | INFO  | For help or more information please see: http://activemq.apache.org | org.apache.activemq.broker.BrokerService | main
2019-07-28 11:34:39,118 | INFO  | No Spring WebApplicationInitializer types detected on classpath | /admin | main
2019-07-28 11:34:39,373 | INFO  | ActiveMQ WebConsole available at http://0.0.0.0:8161/ | org.apache.activemq.web.WebConsoleStarter | main
2019-07-28 11:34:39,373 | INFO  | ActiveMQ Jolokia REST API available at http://0.0.0.0:8161/api/jolokia/ | org.apache.activemq.web.WebConsoleStarter | main
2019-07-28 11:34:39,402 | INFO  | Initializing Spring FrameworkServlet 'dispatcher' | /admin | main
2019-07-28 11:34:39,532 | INFO  | No Spring WebApplicationInitializer types detected on classpath | /api | main
2019-07-28 11:34:39,563 | INFO  | jolokia-agent: Using policy access restrictor classpath:/jolokia-access.xml | /api | main
[[email protected]_n1 ~]$

 

Then starting a Slave will only display the information on the node2 logs that there is already a Master running and therefore the Slave is just waiting and it’s not listening for now:

[[email protected]_n2 ~]$ cat $ACTIVEMQ_DATA/activemq.log
2019-07-28 11:35:53,258 | INFO  | Refreshing [email protected]: startup date [Sun Jul 28 11:35:53 CEST 2019]; root of context hierarchy | org.apache.activemq.xbean.XBeanBrokerFactory$1 | main
2019-07-28 11:35:53,986 | INFO  | Using Persistence Adapter: KahaDBPersistenceAdapter[/shared/file/system/activemq/kahadb] | org.apache.activemq.broker.BrokerService | main
2019-07-28 11:35:53,999 | INFO  | Database /shared/file/system/activemq/kahadb/lock is locked by another server. This broker is now in slave mode waiting a lock to be acquired | org.apache.activemq.store.SharedFileLocker | main
[[email protected]_n2 ~]$

 

Finally stopping the Master will automatically transform the Slave into a new Master, without any human interaction. From the node2 logs:

[[email protected]_n2 ~]$ cat $ACTIVEMQ_DATA/activemq.log
2019-07-28 11:35:53,258 | INFO  | Refreshing [email protected]: startup date [Sun Jul 28 11:35:53 CEST 2019]; root of context hierarchy | org.apache.activemq.xbean.XBeanBrokerFactory$1 | main
2019-07-28 11:35:53,986 | INFO  | Using Persistence Adapter: KahaDBPersistenceAdapter[/shared/file/system/activemq/kahadb] | org.apache.activemq.broker.BrokerService | main
2019-07-28 11:35:53,999 | INFO  | Database /shared/file/system/activemq/kahadb/lock is locked by another server. This broker is now in slave mode waiting a lock to be acquired | org.apache.activemq.store.SharedFileLocker | main
  # The ActiveMQ Master on node1 has been stopped here (11:37:10)
2019-07-28 11:37:11,166 | INFO  | KahaDB is version 6 | org.apache.activemq.store.kahadb.MessageDatabase | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,187 | INFO  | PListStore:[/opt/activemq/data/mq_n2/tmp_storage] started | org.apache.activemq.store.kahadb.plist.PListStoreImpl | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,316 | INFO  | Apache ActiveMQ 5.15.6 (mq_n2, ID:mq_n2-41827-1564306631196-0:1) is starting | org.apache.activemq.broker.BrokerService | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,370 | INFO  | Listening for connections at: tcp://mq_n2:61616?maximumConnections=1000&wireFormat.maxFrameSize=104857600 | org.apache.activemq.transport.TransportServerThreadSupport | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,372 | INFO  | Connector openwire started | org.apache.activemq.broker.TransportConnector | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,379 | INFO  | Listening for connections at: amqp://mq_n2:5672?maximumConnections=1000&wireFormat.maxFrameSize=104857600 | org.apache.activemq.transport.TransportServerThreadSupport | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,381 | INFO  | Connector amqp started | org.apache.activemq.broker.TransportConnector | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,386 | INFO  | Listening for connections at: stomp://mq_n2:61613?maximumConnections=1000&wireFormat.maxFrameSize=104857600 | org.apache.activemq.transport.TransportServerThreadSupport | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,387 | INFO  | Connector stomp started | org.apache.activemq.broker.TransportConnector | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,390 | INFO  | Listening for connections at: mqtt://mq_n2:1883?maximumConnections=1000&wireFormat.maxFrameSize=104857600 | org.apache.activemq.transport.TransportServerThreadSupport | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,391 | INFO  | Connector mqtt started | org.apache.activemq.broker.TransportConnector | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,485 | WARN  | [email protected]@2cfbeac4{/,null,STARTING} has uncovered http methods for path: / | org.eclipse.jetty.security.SecurityHandler | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,547 | INFO  | Listening for connections at ws://mq_n2:61614?maximumConnections=1000&wireFormat.maxFrameSize=104857600 | org.apache.activemq.transport.ws.WSTransportServer | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,548 | INFO  | Connector ws started | org.apache.activemq.broker.TransportConnector | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,556 | INFO  | Apache ActiveMQ 5.15.6 (mq_n2, ID:mq_n2-41827-1564306631196-0:1) started | org.apache.activemq.broker.BrokerService | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,558 | INFO  | For help or more information please see: http://activemq.apache.org | org.apache.activemq.broker.BrokerService | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,045 | INFO  | No Spring WebApplicationInitializer types detected on classpath | /admin | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,448 | INFO  | ActiveMQ WebConsole available at http://0.0.0.0:8161/ | org.apache.activemq.web.WebConsoleStarter | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,448 | INFO  | ActiveMQ Jolokia REST API available at http://0.0.0.0:8161/api/jolokia/ | org.apache.activemq.web.WebConsoleStarter | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,478 | INFO  | Initializing Spring FrameworkServlet 'dispatcher' | /admin | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,627 | INFO  | No Spring WebApplicationInitializer types detected on classpath | /api | main
2019-07-28 11:37:11,664 | INFO  | jolokia-agent: Using policy access restrictor classpath:/jolokia-access.xml | /api | main
[[email protected]_n2 ~]$

 

You can of course customize ActiveMQ as per your requirements, remove some connectors, setup SSL, aso… But that’s not really the purpose of this blog.

 

 

Other posts of this series on Alfresco HA/Clustering:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Morgan Patou
Morgan Patou

Senior Consultant & Technology Leader ECM