Posted by: peteinman | July 23, 2008

Controlling consumers with ALSB 3.0 JMS proxy services

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Over the past few months I have been implementing ALSB 3.0 along-side a WebLogic 8.1 environment which has been running for around 5 years, originally starting on WLS 7.0.

When I went through performance tuning and deployment of MDB’s in WLS8.1, something I paid attention to was consumers on the queue, as the wrong amount could have negative effects on performance. More consumers also means more JMS threads for the JVM to worry about managing.

I ended up with some MDB’s only having a single consumer, and some having 4 or 5. This meant that I could meet the performance expectations without killing the system – or the destination system if the MDB made a call to another part of the infrastructure, say LPD or E-Mail, even SOAP.


Where do you configure consumers in ALSB 3.0?

Learning about how ALSB 3.0 works has been very “on the job” for the past few months. WLS10 was also a new app server to get used to, and it’s quite different to WLS8.1, I simply haven’t had the time to learn WLS10 with everything else that’s going on.

I’ve probably learnt parts of ALSB the hard way – why you really should use the domain configuration wizard when creating an ALSB cluster rather than do it manually for example!!

Anyway, back to consumers.

When you initially create a JMS proxy service and target it to a queue, it will deploy 16 consumers by default. This may be Ok for some applications, but I wanted a way to reduce that and therefore reduce the risk of all 16 consumers going active at once.

What I was hoping to find was an equivalent to the <max-beans-in-pool> deployment descriptor setting or an equivalent somewhere, but after extensive searching I didn’t find anything.

I found references to work managers, which talked about setting thresholds on max threads etc, but to me, coming from a WLS 8.1 environment, thread pools were something you used to assign a web app or other process to, so that you didn’t run out of threads in the default thread pool. They weren’t used for restricting consumers on a JMS queue. They could be I suppose, but then you’d end up with pending requests on the thread pool as you would have more consumers than available threads which isn’t ideal.

After some more reading and actually trying it out, it seems that work managers really are the way to go with controlling consumers on JMS proxy services.

Creating a work manager.

Basically, what you do – on the ALSB environment, using the WebLogic console create a work manager. When asked – a standard work manager will do.

Once you’ve gone through all the screens, you can then select the work manager, and then add a “Maximum Threads Constraint”.

Now, you need to edit the proxy service in ALSB, and assign a dispatch-policy, which is the work manager you created above, and all being well, this should appear in the drop-down list. If it doesn’t, something has gone wrong when it was created.

That’s all there is too it, you now have a reduced number of consumers on the JMS destination.

There is a very nice article here OSB and Thread Pools together with documentation here OSB and Thread Pools Documentation which explains this, and also includes nicer diagrams than mine!

Hope this post is remotely useful!


  1. Dude!

    REMOTELY HELPFUL! You must be joking! This is totally what I was looking for!


  2. Hi Pete,

    the article is good. I am currently working on ALSB3.0, developing a small sample application on JMS with CorrelationID pattern..

    I am new to ALSB and finding difficulties in configuring the JMS in alsb..

    My Project Set up is as follows(using ALSB 2.6.1).
    1>One Proxy Service with transport as HTTP.
    2>The Proxy service is calling another Business Service.
    3>The Business Service has a service call out mechanism that calls another business service which has a transport layer as JMS.
    So here the business service is posting Request Message into the JMS queue.
    I want at the same time it(The Business Service) should listen to another queue and from there it should read Response Message and forward back to the caller proxy service.

    If you can post me an example it would be great
    thanks a lot .

    • I’ve never used this type of business service before, but just looking (I used ALSB3) in workspace studio, when you configure a business service, you get the option to specify the request and response formats.

      One of the subsequent screens for the biz service asks “Is Response Required” This is when you enter all the JMS details about the response JMS queue that you’re expecting a response to be written to.

      That’s about all I know about this kind of business service I’m afraid, hope it helps.

      Another blog I find useful is this one

      I’ve not done much ALSB work for a while, but will be getting back into it soon!


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