The Unreliable Internet
When you need reliable messaging and how to use it
By: Michael Galpin
Sep. 3, 2008 04:50 AM
The Internet’s a dangerous place for a message. Component failures, network connection issues, and other problems can prevent a message from being delivered. Fortunately, there’s WS-ReliableMessaging, which makes sure messages get through. This article explains how to use reliable messaging, why you should use it, and how to use it with WSO2’s Web Services Application Server (WSO2 WSAS) 2.1.
What Is Reliable Messaging?
You can’t ignore the unreliable nature of the Internet when building systems that rely on the exchange of data and messages with other systems. You have to deal with this unreliability. That’s where reliable messaging comes in.
When Do You Need It?
What happens if you don’t get the acknowledgment? Clearly you have to pick some amount of time to wait and then retry if you don’t get the acknowledgment. Now what happens if the other server was just slow, so your message actually went through, but you sent it again? What if your message is a transaction of some sort? Sending it twice could cause serious problems. You could build logic into your application to deal with this, but wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to?
The WS-ReliableMessaging (WSRM) Protocol
Both sides have to understand and implement complementary components of a unified strategy. If you control both sides of a conversation, you can implement any unified strategy that you want. However, there are probably a lot of situations where you control only one side of a conversation. That’s when a standardized solution is needed. It’s the only way to ensure interoperability. It’s the interoperability from standardized solutions that have made Web Service protocols such as SOAP so successful. WSRM is in the same vein.
Numerous infrastructure vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle have standardized WSRM. This let’s you use it for either side of a conversation and have confidence that the other side will be able to understand and communicate with you effectively and efficiently. It also means that a lot of people have reviewed the approach to make sure it works properly.
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