A while ago I was asked by a client to evaluate different open source JMS providers. The ultimate goal was to set up a highly available messaging system that can manage high throughput. Me and my colleagues dug deep in our memories and on the internet to find all of the open source JMS providers. And there are plenty. In the end we looked at the following:

  • ActiveMQ
  • OpenMQ
  • RabbitMQ
  • OpenJMS
  • HornetQ

Besides the requirements of high availability and throughput there were some other requirements:

  • must be JMS 1.1 compliant
  • must be easy to set up and administer
  • vibrant community for support

Because of these reasons we quickly abandoned OpenJMS, which seems to have stopped evolving somewhere in 2006.

RabbitMQ is not JMS compliant, which we really need. OpenMQ was dropped a little later, since in the first performance tests we found that it was noticably slower than ActiveMQ and HornetQ.

In a next phase we did quite extensive load tests on HornetQ and ActiveMQ, which I’ll summarize below.

For our tests we used the following setup:

3 similar machines with 2 quad cores, 8GB of RAM, RHEL 5, Java Hotspot VM 64 bit (1.6.0_21-b06). 2 machines were used for hosting the JMS providers. One machine contains a master, the other a backup instance. The third machine is used for generating load.

The load generation is done using the Sonic test harness. This framework allowed us to generate load on the the JMS providers with different producers and consumers of the JMS queues.

These are some of the results we got (based on size of message, whether messages are persisted, if a transaction is used, number of concurrent producers and receivers):  

  As you can see both JMS providers are about equal when you look at non peristent messaging.BUT when looking at persistent messaging, HornetQ is just amazing. The throughput you get there is just mindblowing. This has without a doubt to do with the Asynchronous IO feature of HornetQ. This is only available on *NIX based systems but it is well worth it when you are looking for a performant open source JMS provider.

There are other sources of comparisons like these, but they were in our opinion either biased or did not give us enough insight for our situation:

Authored by: Jeroen