Qpid Dispatch Router installation on your Linux machine

In the previous article I introduced the Dispatch Router from the Apache Qpid project, its main features, capabilities and the scenarios where it could be useful in order to develop high scalable AMQP based messaging solutions.

The first step for starting to use the router is the installation step and I’ll explain how to do that in this short post. I’ll use some personal Docker files in order to build fully functional images but the you can find the official ones in the router GitHub account here.

Qpid Proton : the dispatch router foundation

This router is based on the Qpid Proton project, a messaging library developed in C, C++ and Java (pure ProtonJ implementation) with bindings for other different languages like Python, PHP and Ruby; in order to work properly, the router needs only the base ProtonC implementation and the Python binding.

First of all, we need the main compiler tools like gcc, cmake and make. The UUID library is needed for unique identifier generation (i.e. container name, message id, …) and the OpenSSL library for encryption and for handling SSL/TLS connections. Furthermore, the last library version leverages on the Cyrus library for the SASL protocol used for supporting different authentication mechanisms on the AMQP protocol.

To simplify the installation process, I wrote two Docker files available here on GitHub both for Fedora and Ubuntu you can use as reference for reproducing the steps on your machine or to generate a Docker image.

Now it’s router time

The Qpid Dispatch Router uses the same tools (like gcc, cmake, make, …) needed for Qpid Proton; if you can compile the messaging library without problems then you are ready to compile and install the router as well.

At time I’m writing this article the official released version is the 0.5 with the 0.6 version under beta. We can use both this versions : in the former case we can download the released package, in the latter we can clone the official GitHub repository and recompile the bits from there having in this way the latest updated code and features under development. The new 0.6 version has gone through major architectural changes to make it highly scalable; furthermore, the router configuration is now more intuitive and easy to understand than the previous versions.

Even in that case I wrote both Docker files for the official released version and for compiling the bits (on both Fedora and Ubuntu of course) in order to have a Docker image and the router up and running in a related container.

Let’s start the router

To check the installation process we can start the router with the simple “qdrouterd” command; it is launched automatically in the case of starting the Docker image.

qdrouterd

Typing that command, the router starts with the default configuration file. We will dig into in the next articles to understand the meaning of all main available configuration options for tuning the router behavior.

In the above output, the main points are :

  • The router instance is named Qpid.Dispatch.Router.A;
  • The router operates in “standalone” mode which means that it doesn’t cooperate with other routers and won’t be used in a routers network;
  • It exposes a management endpoint we can use in order to interact with the router itself and changing its internal configuration. It’s a pure AMQP endpoint on which the available operations are defined by the AMQP management specification (which is in draft, here). For all developers who don’t know it well, you can think that as a sort of RESTful interface with CRUD operations for managing resources but instead of having HTTP as transport protocol, it used AMQP and its semantics;
  • A listener is started on all network available interfaces and listening for connections on the standard AMQP port (5672, so not encrypted);
  • The instance is using 4 threads for handling messages traffic and all other internal operations;

The package tools

Other then the router itself, the project provides a couple of tools useful for showing main running information and for interacting with it.

The “qdstat” tool shows all statistics information, endpoints and router traffic.

qdstat

As we can see from the above picture (-l option is for showing router AMQP links), the router is exposing the $management endpoint and a local temporary endpoint that is used for communicating with the qdstat tool.

Indeed, when we start the tool, it opens an AMQP connection to the router and attaches a link on the management endpoint for sending requests as you can see in the following picture with traffic capture (using Wireshark).

qdstat_management

At same time another link is attached for a temporary local endpoint used for receiving information to show on the console.

qdstat_temp_endpoint

When the tool sends a request to the router through a transfer performative, it specifies the local reply address using the “Reply-To” AMQP property.

The “qdmanage” tool is a general purpose AMQP management tool that we can use to interact with a running router and changing its internal configuration. It’s very useful because even if our router starts with a static configuration written in the related file, we can change it dynamically at runtime to adapt the router behavior to our ongoing use case.

For example we can show all the active connections on the router.

qdmanage

In this case, there are no connections other than the one related to the tool itself which connects to the router via AMQP in order to query and receive the related information.

Conclusion

With this post now we have installed the dispatch router stuff on our machine (or on a Docker image) and checked that it runs properly with the default configuration at least. We peeked the tools available with the installation and all related operations and information provided in order to interact with the router at runtime. Starting from the next article we’ll see how to use the router in different scenarios with an increasing complexity, from a standalone router to a routers network.

 

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