Apache ActiveMQ Messaging Service


Apache ActiveMQ is an open-source message broker written in Java, which supports a variety of cross-language clients and protocols. Originating in the early 2000s, ActiveMQ has matured into one of the most popular and versatile messaging systems available. Based on the Java Message Service (JMS) specification, ActiveMQ serves as a key middleware component in many enterprise architectures, facilitating communication between different parts of a system without them having to be tightly integrated.

Intro to ActiveMQ

ActiveMQ was initially created in 2004 by LogicBlaze, a company later acquired by IONA Technologies and then by Progress Software. It became part of the Apache Software Foundation in 2007. Since then, ActiveMQ has undergone numerous updates, optimizations, and improvements, reinforcing its place in the pantheon of reliable message brokers.

Apache ActiveMQ is a robust message broker that enables asynchronous communication between distributed system components, eliminating the need for them to be tightly integrated. By employing the Java Message Service (JMS) specification, ActiveMQ provides a platform for both point-to-point and publish-subscribe messaging patterns. The system ensures message delivery and data integrity with features like persistent storage and supports multiple transport protocols, including OpenWire, MQTT, AMQP, and STOMP. Through its versatile architecture, ActiveMQ plays a crucial role in ensuring decoupled, reliable, and scalable messaging within enterprise applications.

ActiveMQ Quick Facts

  1. Language & Platform: ActiveMQ is written in Java, making it platform-independent. This allows it to run on any machine with a Java Runtime Environment (JRE).
  2. Protocols Supported: ActiveMQ supports various transport protocols, including OpenWire (its native protocol), MQTT, AMQP, REST, and STOMP, making it versatile in handling different communication needs.
  3. High Scalability: ActiveMQ can support thousands of concurrent clients and processes without significant performance degradation. Its clustering and distributed deployments offer robust scalability options.
  4. Persistence: By leveraging databases like KahaDB (default) and JDBC, ActiveMQ provides persistent storage capabilities, ensuring that messages aren’t lost during system failures.
  5. Integration and Extensions: With over 100,000 deployments worldwide, ActiveMQ easily integrates with several enterprise systems and platforms, further extended through projects like Apache Camel, enabling complex routing and mediation rules.

Technical Overview of ActiveMQ

ActiveMQ serves the primary purpose of sending messages from a producer to a consumer. The essential technical components include:

  1. Producers and Consumers: Producers create messages and send them, while consumers receive and process them.
  2. Destinations: These can be either queues (for point-to-point communication) or topics (for publish-subscribe scenarios).
  3. Broker: The central server or set of servers that manage the sending and receiving of messages.
  4. Persistence: ActiveMQ can persistently store messages using various storage mechanisms, ensuring no data loss in case of failures.
  5. Protocols: Supports a variety of transport protocols, including OpenWire, MQTT, AMQP, and STOMP.
  6. Clustering and High Availability: Supports network connectors, enabling the linking of brokers in a network and ensuring high availability and fault tolerance.

Alternatives to ActiveMQ

There are several other tools that could be used in place of ActiveMQ. The chart below compares ActiveMQ to three of its closest alternatives: RabbitMQ, Apache Kafka, and Mosquitto.

Getting Started with ActiveMQ


  • A system with Java installed.
  • Download the latest ActiveMQ binary from the official Apache website.


1: Installation: After downloading, extract the ActiveMQ binary to a suitable directory.

2: Starting the Broker: Navigate to the ActiveMQ directory and run the following command:

For Windows:

bin\activemq start

For Linux/Unix:

./bin/activemq start

3: Admin Console: By default, ActiveMQ provides an admin console accessible via a web browser at http://localhost:8161/admin (username: admin, password: admin).

4: Sending and Receiving Messages: You can use the Java JMS API to produce and consume messages. Start by setting up your Maven project with the necessary ActiveMQ dependencies and then use the ConnectionFactory, Session, MessageProducer, and MessageConsumer classes to create a basic messaging application.

5: Stopping the Broker:

For Windows:

bin\activemq stop

For Linux/Unix:

./bin/activemq stop

Apache ActiveMQ stands as a testament to the power of open-source solutions in meeting enterprise messaging needs. Its rich set of features, combined with its adherence to the JMS specification, makes it a go-to choice for many organizations looking to decouple their system components and enable seamless, reliable communication between them. The getting started guide provides an initial footing, but the full potential of ActiveMQ can be realized through deeper exploration and integration into robust applications.

Similar Posts