What is a message queue?

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A messaging queue is an asynchronous mode of message transfer between a source and a destination. When a sender sends a message consisting of any value to a receiver, the message is stored in a queue until they are online and connected.  Message queues are a useful feature for applications because they support decoupling, scalability, and reliability in a distributed network.

A queue acts as temporary storage for messages. At one end is a producer who sends/produces the message while at the other end is the consumer who is to receive the message. The message can contain any type of data such as numerical values, acknowledgments, or an error message. The message queue then operates via the first in first out (FIFO) principle.

Applications are built on decoupled microservices i.e., separate, reusable components which have to communicate to make the app work seamlessly. A message queue acts as a communication channel through a pipeline that is failure tolerant, reliable and complements scalability. Message queues and stream processing are both used in event-driven architectures.

Benefits of message queues

With synchronous communication, every user or node in a network must be connected. In the event of a network failure or connection loss, a message can be permanently dropped or will have to be resent. Having an asynchronous mode like message queues is helpful because it creates fault tolerance and will re-deliver messages or packages when the destination node is back online.

Another benefit of message queues is that a sender doesn’t have to wait to ensure successful delivery. Data messages added to a queue are stored and held to be processed later. As a result, adding messages to the queue is completely separate from subscribers wishing to take messages off the queue. 

The message queue model is useful in many real-world applications. In healthcare, it can support a system with a heavy load of user requests with a short response time. Message queue reliability is also ideal for healthcare because it ensures that urgent messages aren’t lost. In E-commerce, message queues have been found to boost processing time by 17%. Message queues not only make E-commerce reliable, but faster and more efficient. 

Summary

Message queues are useful because of their flexibility, fault tolerance, and high reliability. They help decoupling and make it easier to scale the app. Macrometa’s message queues offer geo-regulatory compliance on top of a secure serverless environment that scales automatically. 

Learn more about message queues in our guide on Kafka alternatives.


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