Spring Cloud Bus links nodes of a distributed system with a lightweight message broker. This can then be used to broadcast state changes (e.g. configuration changes) or other management instructions. A key idea is that the Bus is like a distributed Actuator for a Spring Boot application that is scaled out, but it can also be used as a communication channel between apps. The only implementation currently is with an AMQP broker as the transport, but the same basic feature set (and some more depending on the transport) is on the roadmap for other transports.

Quick Start

Spring Cloud Bus works by adding Spring Boot autconfiguration if it detects itself on the classpath. All you need to do to enable the bus is to add spring-cloud-starter-bus-amqp to your dependency management and Spring Cloud takes care of the rest. Make sure RabbitMQ is available and configured to provide a ConnectionFactory: running on localhost you shouldn’t have to do anything, but if you are running remotely use Spring Cloud Connectors, or Spring Boot conventions to define the broker credentials, e.g.

application.yml
spring:
  rabbitmq:
    host: mybroker.com
    port: 5672
    username: user
    password: secret

The bus currently supports sending messages to all nodes listening or all nodes for a particular service (as defined by Eureka). More selector criteria will be added in the future (ie. only service X nodes in data center Y, etc…​). The http endpoints are under the /bus/* actuator namespace. There are currently two implemented. The first, /bus/env, sends key/values pairs to update each nodes Spring Environment. The second, /bus/refresh, will reload each application’s configuration, just as if they had all been pinged on their /refresh endpoint.

Addressing an Instance

The HTTP endpoints accept a "destination" parameter, e.g. "/bus/refresh?destination=customers:9000", where the destination is an ApplicationContext ID. If the ID is owned by an instance on the Bus then it will process the message and all other instances will ignore it. Spring Boot sets the ID for you in the ContextIdApplicationContextInitializer to a combination of the spring.application.name, active profiles and server.port by default.

Addressing all instances of a service

The "destination" parameter is used in a Spring PathMatcher (with the path separator as a colon :) to determine if an instance will process the message. Using the example from above, "/bus/refresh?destination=customers:**" will target all instances of the "customers" service regardless of the profiles and ports set as the ApplicationContext ID.

Application Context ID must be unique

The bus tries to eliminate processing an event twice, once from the original ApplicationEvent and once from the queue. To do this, it checks the sending application context id againts the current application context id. If multiple instances of a service have the same application context id, events will not be processed. Running on a local machine, each service will be on a different port and that will be part of the application context id. Cloud Foundry supplies an index to differentiate. To ensure that the application context id is the unique, set spring.application.index to something unique for each instance of a service. For example, in lattice, set spring.application.index=${INSTANCE_INDEX} in application.properties (or bootstrap.properties if using configserver).

Customizing the AMQP ConnectionFactory

If you are using AMQP there needs to be a ConnectionFactory (from Spring Rabbit) in the application context. If there is a single ConnectionFactory it will be used, or if there is a one qualified as @BusConnectionFactory it will be preferred over others, otherwise the @Primary one will be used. If there are multiple unqualified connection factories there will be an error.

Note that Spring Boot (as of 1.2.2) creates a ConnectionFactory that is not @Primary, so if you want to use one connection factory for the bus and another for business messages, you need to create both, and annotate them @BusConnectionFactory and @Primary respectively.