Chapter 8. Transactional Topologies

With Storm, you can guarantee message processing by using an ack and fail strategy, as mentioned earlier in the book. But what happens if tuples are replayed? How do you make sure you won’t overcount?

Transactional Topologies is a new feature, included in Storm 0.7.0, that enables messaging semantics to ensure you replay tuples in a secure way and process them only once. Without support for transactional topologies, you wouldn’t be able to count in a fully accurate, scalable, and fault-tolerant way.


Transactional Topologies are an abstraction built on top of standard Storm spouts and bolts.

The Design

In a transactional topology, Storm uses a mix of parallel and sequential tuple processing. The spout generates batches of tuples that are processed by the bolts in parallel. Some of those bolts are known as committers, and they commit processed batches in a strictly ordered fashion. This means that if you have two batches with five tuples each, both tuples will be processed in parallel by the bolts, but the committer bolts won’t commit the second tuple until the first tuple is committed successfully.


When dealing with transactional topologies, it is important to be able to replay batch of tuples from the source, and sometimes even several times. So make sure your source of data—the one that your spout will be connected to—has the ability to do that.

This can be described as two different steps, or phases:

The processing phase

A fully parallel phase, ...

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