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The competing consumers pattern, shown in Figure 9.3, enables multiple consumers to pull messages from the same queue, with the guarantee that each message is consumed once only. This pattern can be used to replace serial message processing with concurrent message processing (bringing a corresponding reduction in response latency).

The following components demonstrate the competing consumers pattern:

The purpose of the SEDA component is to simplify concurrent processing by breaking the computation into stages. A SEDA endpoint essentially encapsulates an in-memory blocking queue (implemented by java.util.concurrent.BlockingQueue). Therefore, you can use a SEDA endpoint to break a route into stages, where each stage might use multiple threads. For example, you can define a SEDA route consisting of two stages, as follows:

// Stage 1: Read messages from file system.

// Stage 2: Perform concurrent processing (3 threads).

Where the first stage contains a single thread that consumes message from a file endpoint, file://var/messages, and routes them to a SEDA endpoint, seda:fanout. The second stage contains three threads: a thread that routes exchanges to cxf:bean:replica01, a thread that routes exchanges to cxf:bean:replica02, and a thread that routes exchanges to cxf:bean:replica03. These three threads compete to take exchange instances from the SEDA endpoint, which is implemented using a blocking queue. Because the blocking queue uses locking to prevent more than one thread from accessing the queue at a time, you are guaranteed that each exchange instance can only be consumed once.

For a discussion of the differences between a SEDA endpoint and a thread pool created by thread(), see SEDA in Apache Camel Documentation.

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