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Streams

Streams are 'message stores', each stream defines how messages are stored and what the limits (duration, size, interest) of the retention are. Streams consume normal NATS subjects, any message published on those subjects will be captured in the defined storage system. You can do a normal publish to the subject for unacknowledged delivery, though it's better to use the JetStream publish calls instead as the JetStream server will reply with an acknowledgement that it was successfully stored.
Orders
In the diagram above we show the concept of storing all ORDERS.* in the Stream even though there are many types of order related messages. We'll show how you can selectively consume subsets of messages later. Relatively speaking the Stream is the most resource consuming component so being able to combine related data in this manner is important to consider.
Streams can consume many subjects. Here we have ORDERS.* but we could also consume SHIPPING.state into the same Stream should that make sense (not shown here).
Streams support various retention policies which define when messages in the stream can be automatically deleted, such as when stream limits are hit (like max count, size or age) - if the discard policy is set to 'discard old' - or also more novel options that apply on top of the limits such as 'interest' (automatically deleted after all consumers have received acknowledgement of the delivery of the message to client applications) and 'working queue' (where a message is automatically deleted from the stream when the consumer receives acknowledgement of its consumption from the client application).
Streams support deduplication using a Nats-Msg-Id header and a sliding window within which to track duplicate messages. See the Message Deduplication section.
For examples on how to configure streams with your preferred NATS client, see NATS by Example.

Configuration

Below are the set of stream configuration options that can be defined. The Version column indicates the version of the server the option was introduced. The Editable column indicates the option can be edited after the stream created. See client-specific examples here.
Field
Description
Version
Editable
Name
Names cannot contain whitespace, ., *, >, path separators (forward or backwards slash), and non-printable characters.
2.2.0
No
Storage
The storage type for stream data.
2.2.0
No
Subjects
A list of subjects to bind. Wildcards are supported. Cannot be set for mirror streams.
2.2.0
Yes
Replicas
How many replicas to keep for each message in a clustered JetStream, maximum 5
2.2.0
Yes
MaxAge
Maximum age of any message in the Stream, expressed in nanoseconds.
2.2.0
Yes
MaxBytes
How many bytes the Stream may contain. Adheres to Discard Policy, removing oldest or refusing new messages if the Stream exceeds this size
2.2.0
Yes
MaxMsgs
How many messages may be in a Stream. Adheres to Discard Policy, removing oldest or refusing new messages if the Stream exceeds this number of messages
2.2.0
Yes
MaxMsgSize
The largest message that will be accepted by the Stream
2.2.0
Yes
MaxConsumers
How many Consumers can be defined for a given Stream, -1 for unlimited
2.2.0
No
NoAck
Disables acknowledging messages that are received by the Stream
2.2.0
Yes
Retention
Declares the retention policy for the stream.
2.2.0
No
Discard
The behavior of discarding messages when any streams' limits have been reached.
2.2.0
Yes
Duplicate Window
The window within which to track duplicate messages, expressed in nanoseconds.
2.2.0
Yes
Placement
Used to declare where the stream should be placed via tags and/or an explicit cluster name.
2.2.0
Yes
Mirror
If set, indicates this stream is a mirror of another stream.
2.2.0
No (if defined)
Sources
If defined, declares one or more streams this stream will source messages from.
2.2.0
Yes
MaxMsgsPerSubject
Limits how many messages in the stream to retain per subject.
2.3.0
Yes
Description
A verbose description of the stream.
2.3.3
Yes
Sealed
Sealed streams do not allow messages to be deleted via limits or API, sealed streams can not be unsealed via configuration update. Can only be set on already created streams via the Update API.
2.6.2
Yes (once)
DenyDelete
Restricts the ability to delete messages from a stream via the API.
2.6.2
No
DenyPurge
Restricts the ability to purge messages from a stream via the API.
2.6.2
No
Allows the use of the Nats-Rollup header to replace all contents of a stream, or subject in a stream, with a single new message.
2.6.2
Yes
RePublish
If set, messages stored to the stream will be immediately republished to the configured subject.
2.8.3
Yes
AllowDirect
If true, and the stream has more than one replica, each replica will respond to direct get requests for individual messages, not only the leader.
2.9.0
Yes
MirrorDirect
If true, and the stream is a mirror, the mirror will participate in a serving direct get requests for individual messages from origin stream.
2.9.0
Yes
DiscardNewPerSubject
If true, applies discard new semantics on a per subject basis. Requires DiscardPolicy to be DiscardNew and the MaxMsgsPerSubject to be set.
2.9.0
Yes
Metadata
A set of application-defined key-value pairs for associating metadata on the stream.
2.10.0
Yes
Compression
If file-based and a compression algorithm is specified, the stream data will be compressed on disk. Valid options are nothing (empty string) or s2 for Snappy compression.
2.10.0
Yes
FirstSeq
If specified, a new stream will be created with it's initial sequence set to this value.
2.10.0
No
Applies a subject transform (to matching messages) before storing the message.
2.10.0
Yes

StorageType

The storage types include:
  • File (default) - Uses file-based storage for stream data.
  • Memory - Uses memory-based storage for stream data.

Subjects

Note: a stream configured as a mirror cannot be configured with a set of subjects. A mirror implicitly sources a subset of the origin stream (optionally with a filter), but does not subscribe to additional subjects.
If no explicit subject is specified, the default subject will be the same name as the stream. Multiple subjects can be specified and edited over time. Note, if messages are stored by a stream on a subject that is subsequently removed from the stream config, consumers will still observe those messages if their subject filter overlaps.

RetentionPolicy

The retention options include:
  • LimitsPolicy (default) - Retention based on the various limits that are set including: MaxMsgs, MaxBytes, MaxAge, and MaxMsgsPerSubject. If any of these limits are set, whichever limit is hit first will cause the automatic deletion of the respective message(s). See a full code example.
  • InterestPolicy - Retention based on the consumer interest in the stream and messages. The base case is that there are zero consumers defined for a stream. If messages are published to the stream, they will be immediately deleted so there is no interest. This implies that consumers need to be bound to the stream ahead of messages being published to the stream. Once a given message is ack'ed by all consumers, the message is deleted. See a full code example.
  • WorkQueuePolicy - Retention with the typical behavior of a FIFO queue. Each message can be consumed only once. This is enforced by only allowing one consumer to be created for a work-queue stream. Once a given message is ack'ed, it will be deleted from the stream. See a full code example.
If the InterestPolicy or WorkQueuePolicy is chosen for a stream, note that any limits, if defined, will still be enforced. For example, given a work-queue stream, if MaxMsgs are set and the default discard policy of old, messages will be automatically deleted even if the consumer did not receive them.
WorkQueuePolicy streams will only delete messages enforced by limits or when a message has been successfully Ack'd by it's consumer. Messages that have attempted redelivery and have reached MaxDelivery attempts for the consumer will remain in the stream and must be manually deleted via the JetStream API.

DiscardPolicy

The discard behavior applies only for streams that have at least one limit defined. The options include:
  • DiscardOld (default) - This policy will delete the oldest messages in order to maintain the limit. For example, if MaxAge is set to one minute, the server will automatically delete messages older than one minute with this policy.
  • DiscardNew - This policy will reject new messages from being appended to the stream if it would exceed one of the limits. An extension to this policy is DiscardNewPerSubject which will apply this policy on a per-subject basis within the stream.

Placement

Refers to the placement of the stream assets (data) within a NATS deployment, be it a single cluster or a supercluster. A given stream, including all replicas (not mirrors), are bound to a single cluster. So when creating or moving a stream, a cluster will be chosen to host the assets.
Without declaring explicit placement for a stream, by default, the stream will be created within the cluster that the client is connected to assuming it has sufficient storage available.
By declaring stream placement, where these assets are located can be controlled explicitly. This is generally useful to co-locate with the most active clients (publishers or consumers) or may be required for data soveriegnty reasons.
Placement is supported in all client SDKs as well as the CLI. For example, adding a stream via the the CLI to place a stream in a specific cluster looks like this:
nats stream add --cluster aws-us-east1-c1
For this to work, all servers in a given cluster must define the name field within the cluster server configuration block.
cluster {
name: aws-us-east1-c1
# etc..
}
If you have multiple clusters that form a supercluster, then each is required to have a different name.
Another placement option are tags. Each server can have its own set of tags, defined in configuration, typically describing properties of geography, hosting provider, sizing tiers, etc. In addition, tags are often used in conjunction with the jetstream.unique_tag config option to ensure that replicas must be placed on servers having different values for the tag.
For example, a server A, B, and C in the above cluster might all the same configuration except for the availability zone they are deployed to.
// Server A
server_tags: ["cloud:aws", "region:us-east1", "az:a"]
jetstream: {
unique_tag: "az:"
}
// Server B
server_tags: ["cloud:aws", "region:us-east1", "az:b"]
jetstream: {
unique_tag: "az:"
}
// Server C
server_tags: ["cloud:aws", "region:us-east1", "az:c"]
jetstream: {
unique_tag: "az:"
}
Now we can create a stream by using tags, for example indicating we want a stream in us-east1.
nats stream add --tag region:us-east1
If we had a second cluster in Google Cloud with the same region tag, the stream could be placed in either the AWS or GCP cluster. However, the unique_tag constraint ensures each replica will be placed in a different AZ in the cluster that was selected implicitly by the placement tags.
Although less common, note that both the cluster and tags can be used for placement. This would be used if a single cluster contains servers have different properties.

Mirror

When a stream is configured as a mirror, it will automatically and asynchronously replicate messages from the origin stream. There are several options when declaring the mirror configuration.
  • Name - Name of the origin stream to source messages from.
  • StartSeq - An optional start sequence of the origin stream to start mirroring from.
  • StartTime - An optional message start time to start mirroring from. Any messages that are equal to or greater than the start time will be included.
  • FilterSubject - An optional filter subject which will include only messages that match the subject, typically including a wildcard. Note, this cannot be used with SubjectTransforms.
  • SubjectTransforms - An optional set of subject transforms to apply when sourcing messages from the origin stream. Note, in this context, the Source will act as a filter on the origin stream and the Destination can optionally be provided to apply a transform. Since multiple subject transforms can be used, disjoint subjects can be sourced from the origin stream while maintaining the order of the messages. Note, this cannot be used with FilterSubject.
  • Domain - An optional JetStream domain of where the origin stream exists. This is commonly used in a hub cluster and leafnode topology.
A mirror stream can have its own retention policy, replication, and storage type. Although messages cannot be published to a mirror directly by clients, messages can be deleted on-demand (beyond the retention policy), and consumers can similarly bind to the mirror.

Sources

A stream defining Sources is a generalization of the Mirror and allows for sourcing data from one or more streams concurrently. Essentially these streams are aggregated into a single interleaved stream.
It is possible to source from the same stream more than once even with overlapping subject filters thereby allowing you to duplicate messages being sourced, but remember that the order of messages between sources is not guaranteed to be preserved.
One functional difference from a mirror is that a stream with sources defined can also be published to. That is, it can define a set of subjects for which clients can publish messages to directly.
The fields per source stream are the same as defined in mirror above.

AllowRollup

If enabled, the AllowRollup stream option allows for a published message having a Nats-Rollup header indicating all prior messages should be purged. The scope of the purge is defined by the header value, either all or sub.
The Nats-Rollup: all header will purge all prior messages in the stream. Whereas the sub value will purge all prior messages for a given subject.
A common use case for rollup is for state snapshots, where the message being published has accumulated all the necessary state from the prior messages, relative to the stream or a particular subject.

RePublish

If enabled, the RePublish stream option will result in the server re-publishing messages received into a stream automatically and immediately after a succesful write, to a distinct destination subject.
For high scale needs where, currently, a dedicated consumer may add too much overhead, clients can establish a core NATS subscription to the destination subject and receive messages that were appended to the stream in real-time.
The fields for configuring republish include:
  • Source - An optional subject pattern which is a subset of the subjects bound to the stream. It defaults to all messages in the stream, e.g. >.
  • Destination - The destination subject messages will be re-published to. The source and destination must be a valid subject mapping.
  • HeadersOnly - If true, the message data will not be included in the re-published message, only an additional header Nats-Msg-Size indicating the size of the message in bytes.
For each message that is republished, a set of headers are automatically added.

SubjectTransform

If configured, the SubjectTransform will perform a subject transform to matching subjects of messages received by the stream and transform the subject, before storing it in the stream. The transform configuration specifies a Source and Destination field, following the rules of subject transform.