[rabbitmq-discuss] Exactly Once Delivery

Alexis Richardson alexis at rabbitmq.com
Sat Aug 7 22:32:49 BST 2010

On Sat, Aug 7, 2010 at 10:25 PM, Matthew Sackman <matthew at rabbitmq.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 07, 2010 at 08:46:50PM +0100, Matthias Radestock wrote:
>> I believe Matthew was simply trying to point out that many of the
>> supposed guarantees of messaging systems are a lot softer than most
>> people think.
> Well, in my mind, if you "guarantee" something, then you can offer a
> proof in some branch of maths that the property you are guaranteeing can
> never be violated except in the circumstances you qualify the statement
> with.
> That is why, as far as I'm concerned, no messaging system, regardless of
> whether it's implemented in a computer or not, can ever guarantee
> exactly once semantics: I can prove (or rather, other people have
> proven) that provided any individual message can be lost, you can either
> achieve "at least once" semantics or "at most once" semantics.

AFAICT, the normal way this plays out is that people seek to provide
>=1 semantics for publisher-broker, and <=1 semantics for
broker-consumer.  Which for most people is 'good enough'.

> Quantum mechanics may offer a way to avoid messages ever being lost, but
> I suspect that's probably not going to be sorted out in time for
> RabbitMQ 3.0.

This would be renamed QbitMQ.  Delivery would be determined by opening
a box.  No bunnies would be harmed in this experiment.

>> In reality a "guarantee" is little more than an
>> increase in the probability that the right thing will happen.
> Indeed. And importantly, under different circumstances, that probability
> can vary wildly. Once you start combining different systems, and the
> error rates compound, the probability that the whole thing works end to
> end can end up looking very shaky. I suspect the insurance industry will
> do well here.
>> > What has not been touched on in this little discussion so far is
>> > the question of transactions. .. Updating DBs from queues and
>> > posting the results of those updates to queues should be atomic; and
>> > if I want my debit/credit to happen once rather than many times or
>> > not at all, then a combination of transactions and guaranteed
>> > delivery becomes very attractive both to the designer and the
>> > developers. Yes, ACID comes to mind here...and it is indeed what I
>> > am referring to.
> Distributed transactions rely on 2-phase or 3-phase commit or some
> variant thereof (eg there's an improved 3-phase build on paxos). Whilst
> the protocols themselves are sound, my understanding is (and please
> correct me if I'm wrong) that they all rely on, once everyone's agreed
> there is no problem committing the transaction, no participant will
> renege on that promise. But of course, no participant can actually
> guarantee that. Thus distributed transactions can never guarantee ACID.
> All you can get is increasing probability that the outcome will be
> atomic, consistent and isolated. But you can never guarantee it.
> Matthew
> _______________________________________________
> rabbitmq-discuss mailing list
> rabbitmq-discuss at lists.rabbitmq.com
> https://lists.rabbitmq.com/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/rabbitmq-discuss

More information about the rabbitmq-discuss mailing list