Tuesday, October 23, 2012

ZeroMQ - 0MQ

Had heard the name "ZeroMQ" a couple of times, but now I dove a bit deeper into it.  First learning point: it is ØMQ rather than zeromq.  Second finding: ØMQ is not Message Oriented Middleware like WebSphereMQ, all the JMS implementations or MSMQ.  ØMQ is rather a library for building all sorts of distributed applications.  Contrary to MOM, it is fully distributed and does not rely on a central broker.

Messaging for Many ApplicationsDidn't experiment with ØMQ, but browsed the ØMQ guide.  The guide goes quite rapidly in depth.  Must confess that I did not fully succeed in grasping ØMQ.  I found the zeromq API - the manpages - to be more comprehensible.  There's also a complete book in the works at O"Reilly.

ØMQ is written in C++ and the examples in the docs are C oriented.  Fine with me, brought me back 10 or 12 years: remember well implementing a "Generic Service Layer" with Netweave, in C at Rabobank.  The Netweave NWDS API was largely based on callbacks and therefore also asynchronous.

Another no-broker messaging solution I've workd with is Tibco RendezVous.  Tibco is also a high speed messaging solution.  Differences between ØMQ and Tibco: RV focuses exclusively on pub/sub and supports persistent messages by stored messages in transit in its ledger file.

ØMQ is largely driven by Pieter Hintjens of iMatix, iMatix acquired ØMQ and in particular the brand from ØMQ's developer Martin Sústrik (company FastMQ).  iMatix and Pieter Hintjens developed AMQP for JPMorgen but turned away from it in favor of ØMQ.  There's an interview with Pieter Hintjens available on FLOSS Weekly.  And as his name already suggested, Pieter Hintjens is indeed from Belgium.

Beginning of 2012, there was a split in the ØMQ world: Martin Sustrik and Martin Lucina created their own company again - Crossroads I/O - and created a fork of zeromq.  We'll need to watch how things evolve in zeromq land.

Note: while learning about ØMQ, I also saw a lot of criticism on AMQP.  Another topic to explore in the future: how is the AMQP protocol doing?  And what are its strengths and weaknesses?  Is is really too complex?

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