Delayed Queues

Delay queues can postpone the delivery of new messages in a queue for a specific number of seconds. Which is useful for an auditing observer process the auditor would be guaranteed to see messages before they were claimed, and could even edit messages if needed.

Problem description

Now one of the big function gaps of Zaqar is the delayed queue. Currently, all the message posted to the queue will be visible immediately. That’s enough for most of the user cases. However, for some user case, user want the message to be unavailable to end users for a specific period of time.

Proposed change

Generally, a new attribute of queue named _default_message_delay. If the attribute value greater than 0, then queue is a delayed queue, otherwise, it’s a normal queue.

All messages sent to the delayed queue can not be immediately claimed and must wait for a delay. The delay can be set or update as a metadata when the queue is created.

Then, when user get or claim messages on a delayed queue, Zaqar will take delay as a query condition, which is as below:

Message Create + Delay < Current Time

Basically, there are 3 scenarios:

  1. Normal message sent to delayed queue

    If a normal message without delay attribute sent to a delayed queue, then the message will use the queue’s default delay _default_message_delay.

  2. Message with attribute delay sent to delayed queue

    If message with delay attribute sent to a delayed queue, then Zaqar will use the message’s delay seconds value instead of the delayed queue’s delay seconds value.

  3. Message sent to normal queue

    A normal queue is a queue with the _default_message_delay value of 0. Whether the message is a normal message or a message with a delay attribute, it will not have a delay feature when it is sent to the normal queue. Zaqar does not perform conditional filtering on the delay attribute when get/claim messages. This means the delay feature does not affect the performance of normal queue.

Specific implementation steps:

  1. Add a new attribute _default_message_delay for all queue’s metadata.
The attribute _default_message_delay default value is 0 means it is a normal queue. Its ranges from 0 to max_message_delay seconds, the max_message_delay is configurable and the default value is 900 seconds (15 mins).
  1. Add a new attribute just for message’s request body: delay.
When post messages to queue, user can add delay like ttl. The message’s delay time has a higher priority than queues. If message ttl < delay, the message will never be claimed, because it is in a delay period and the message’s ttl has expired, so the message will be deleted by backend.
  1. Add a new field d in message backend.

The field d is a delay expires timestamp. It can be saved to the backend storage. When the timestamp is less than or equal to the current time, the delay expires.


  1. Make sure the message can not be claimed until the delay is expired.
  2. If the queue is a normal queue means the ‘delayed queues’ feature wasn’t being used, it is necessary to ensure that it is close to zero overhead.
  3. Support for mongo, redis and swift.


This may introduce a little bit performance impact, because this needs another new condition for current messages query. But it will not affect the normal queue too much.


There is no good option for this feature. User have to wait enough seconds to get / claim messages against Zaqar.



Primary assignee:
cdyangzhenyu <>


Target Milestone for completion:
Queens Q-2

Work Items

  1. Add mongodb support.
  2. Add redis support.
  3. Add swift support.
  4. Add release note for this feature.
  5. Update API reference.
  6. Add user/developer document for this feature.
  7. Change unit, functional and tempest tests accordingly.



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