AWS Simple Queue Service (SQS)

Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) is a fully managed service provided by AWS for message queuing. It is highly useful in microservices, distributed systems, and serverless applications as it decouples them by acting as a middle ware . Amazon SQS moves data between distributed application components and helps you decouple these components. This decoupling helps to keep safe the data in case consumer is down.

Producers are who send messages to SQS, which then SQS stores. Consumers have to come to SQS and keep checking for the messages, it is called Polling. If consumer finds data there in SQS it downloads it or Consume it. Consumer processes the data. The processing includes download, use and then delete the data from SQS

Distributed queues

There are three main parts in a distributed messaging system: the components of your distributed system, your queue (distributed on Amazon SQS servers), and the messages in the queue.

In the following scenario, your system has several (components that send messages to the queue) and (components that receive messages from the queue). The queue (which holds messages A through E) redundantly stores the messages across multiple Amazon SQS servers.

AWS SQS Architecture

Message lifecycle

The following scenario describes the lifecycle of an Amazon SQS message in a queue, from creation to deletion.

A producer (component 1) sends message A to a queue, and the message is distributed across the Amazon SQS servers redundantly.

When a consumer (component 2) is ready to process messages, it consumes messages from the queue, and message A is returned. While message A is being processed, it remains in the queue and isn’t returned to subsequent receive requests for the duration of the visibility timeout.

Immediately after a message is received, it remains in the queue. To prevent other consumers from processing the message again, Amazon SQS sets a , a period of time during which Amazon SQS prevents other consumers from receiving and processing the message. The default visibility timeout for a message is 30 seconds. The minimum is 0 seconds. The maximum is 12 hours.

The consumer (component 2) deletes message A from the queue to prevent the message from being received and processed again when the visibility timeout expires.

AWS SQS offers two types of queues, Standard queue and FIFO queue.

Standard queue

Amazon SQS offers as the default queue type. Standard queues support a nearly unlimited number of API calls per second, per API action (SendMessage, ReceiveMessage, or DeleteMessage). Standard queues support at-least-once message delivery. However, occasionally (because of the highly distributed architecture that allows nearly unlimited throughput), more than one copy of a message might be delivered out of order. Standard queues provide best-effort ordering which ensures that messages are generally delivered in the same order as they're sent.

We can use standard message queues in many scenarios, as long as your application can process messages that arrive more than once and out of order, for example:

  • Decouple live user requests from intensive background work — Let users upload media while resizing or encoding it.
  • Allocate tasks to multiple worker nodes — Process a high number of credit card validation requests.
  • Batch messages for future processing — Schedule multiple entries to be added to a database.

FIFO queue

queues are designed to enhance messaging between applications when the order of operations and events is critical, or where duplicates can’t be tolerated. Examples of situations where you might use FIFO queues include the following:

  • To make sure that user-entered commands are run in the right order.
  • To display the correct product price by sending price modifications in the right order.
  • To prevent a student from enrolling in a course before registering for an account.

FIFO queues also provide exactly-once processing but have a limited number of transactions per second (TPS):

  • If you use batching, FIFO queues support up to 3,000 transactions per second, per API method (SendMessageBatch, ReceiveMessage, or DeleteMessageBatch). The 3000 transactions represent 300 API calls, each with a batch of 10 messages.
  • Without batching, FIFO queues support up to 300 API calls per second, per API method (SendMessage, ReceiveMessage, or DeleteMessage).

Benefits of using Amazon SQS

  • Security: You control who can send messages to and receive messages from an Amazon SQS queue.
  • Server-side encryption (SSE): lets you transmit sensitive data by protecting the contents of messages in queues using keys managed in AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS).
  • Durability: For the safety of your messages, Amazon SQS stores them on multiple servers. Standard queues support at-least-once message delivery, and FIFO queues support exactly-once message processing.
  • Availability: Amazon SQS uses redundant infrastructure to provide highly-concurrent access to messages and high availability for producing and consuming messages.
  • Scalability: Amazon SQS can process each buffered request independently, scaling transparently to handle any load increases or spikes without any provisioning instructions.
  • Reliability: Amazon SQS locks your messages during processing, so that multiple producers can send and multiple consumers can receive messages at the same time.
  • Customization: Your queues don’t have to be exactly alike — for example, you can set a default delay on a queue. You can store the contents of messages larger than 256 KB using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) or Amazon DynamoDB, with Amazon SQS holding a pointer to the Amazon S3 object, or you can split a large message into smaller messages.

redBus Case Study

redBus is an Indian travel agency that specializes in bus travel throughout India by selling bus tickets throughout the country. Tickets are purchased through the company’s Website or through the Web services of its agents and partners. The company also offers software, on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis, which gives bus operators the option of handling their own ticketing and managing their own inventories. To date, the company says they have sold over 30 million bus tickets and has more than 1750 bus operators using the software to manage their operations.

The company previously ran its operations from a traditional data center by purchasing and renting its systems and infrastructure. In addition to the expense, several logistical problems evolved from this arrangement. The biggest problem was that the infrastructure could not effectively handle processing fluctuations, which had a negative impact on productivity. Additionally, the procurement of servers or upgrading the server configuration was an extremely time-consuming endeavor. Over time, redBus realized that a better solution was imperative — a solution that offered scalability to handle the company’s processing fluctuations. redBus looked to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for a solution.

Benefits

Since migrating to AWS, redBus has seen measurable improvements in the bottom line. Padmaraju says, “By scaling up and down dynamically based on the load, we maintain performance as well as minimize cost. With the time savings that the IT and development staffs obtain from the AWS solution, AWS gives us an overall cost benefit of about 30–40%.” He adds, “By hosting at [the AWS Asia Pacific (Singapore) region], redBus.in gained significantly in terms of website performance by way of reduced latency (about 4x). This is a great advantage when the customers are from India.”

Of the many excellent characteristics of AWS, perhaps the most significant to redBus is the ability to “instantly replicate the whole setup on demand for testing by creating and destroying instances on demand for experimentation, thereby reducing the time to market.” Less time to market translates to increased profitability and success.

The travel agency anticipates expanding the AWS solution to include Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) and Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) for monitoring, alerts, and intercommunication.

“Amazon SQS is an especially good solution for enabling messaging between external applications and our applications,” says Padmaraju.

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