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A simple alternative to the Amazon SQS Daemon ("sqsd") used on AWS Beanstalk worker tier instances.

AWS Beanstalk provides a simple to use Worker Environment Tier
(more info) that greatly streamlines the deployment of passive worker microservices for background or async processing.

(diagram by AWS - available here)

As the included diagram portrays, in a common workflow, the worker instance will consume messages sent to a specified Amazon SQS from another service (e.g.: a web server or another worker). These messages will be received by the worker via POST requests. This eliminates the necessity of configuring a worker as an always-on service, as well as having to add code for reading and consuming messages from an AWS SQS queue. In other words, the worker is implemented as a standard RESTful API/Service that will react to a message sent to it at an specific endpoint via a POST request. This is an awesome approach by Amazon to microservices and reactive design.

The conversion of the SQS message to a POST request is executed by what AWS calls the "SQS Daemon" or "Sqsd". This is a simple daemon they pre-install in the worker tier instances that is constantly monitoring an specific AWS SQS queue (provided by configuration) for new messages. When new messages arrive, it constructs a POST request and sends it to a specific endpoint (also provided via configuration). If the endpoint consumes it without errors and returns a 2** HTTP Code in its response, the "Sqsd" deletes the message from the queue to signal that its consumption was successful.

However, even though this approach is extremely powerful, Amazon does not provide the code of this daemon as open source. Therefore, we have reproduced its behavior by creating our own version of the "Sqsd" free for everyone to use. Moreover, we have provided lots of customization and configuration properties so that it can be molded to your specific use cases.

But even more important! We have "dockerized" it so that you can use it as a Docker container along your worker (even link it to it). This makes this microserviced worker approach even more powerful as it can be easily pre-configured and pre-packaged to be deployed automatically along your services using your favorite Docker orchestration frameworks or even the recently announced Amazon EC2 Container Service.

Following are detailed instructions of configuration and usage with and without Docker. Any changes, suggestions or Forks are welcome!

Technologies / Environments Used

  • Groovy 2.3.7+
  • Java JDK 7+
  • AWS Java SDK 1.11.1



There are 2 ways to configure the sqsd's properties: Environment Variables or a configuration file. You must set one of the two options.

IMPORTANT: In order for sqsd to work, you have to have configured the AWS Authentication Keys on you environment either as ENV VARS or using any of the other methods that AWS provides. For ways to do this, go here.

Using Configuration File

Custom properties are loaded from config/sqsd-config.groovy.

Using Environment Variables

Environment Variables and defaults are loaded from config/sqsd-default-config.groovy.

Property Default Required Description
SQS_QUEUE_REGION_NAME us-east-1 no The region name of the AWS SQS queue
SQSD_QUEUE_URL - if SQSD_QUEUE_NAME not specified Your queue URL. You can instead use the queue name but this takes precedence over queue name.
SQSD_QUEUE_NAME - if SQSD_QUEUE_URL not specified Your queue name.
SQSD_MAX_MESSAGES_PER_REQUEST 10 (max: 10) no Max number of messages to retrieve per request.
SQSD_RUN_DAEMONIZED 0 no Whether to continue running with empty queue (0 is no, 1 is yes)
SQSD_SLEEP_SECONDS 0 no Number of seconds to wait after polling empty queue when daemonized
SQSD_WAIT_TIME_SECONDS 20 (max: 20) no Long polling wait time when querying the queue.
SQSD_WORKER_HTTP_HOST yes Host address to your service.
SQSD_WORKER_HTTP_PATH / yes Your service endpoint/path where to POST the messages.
SQSD_WORKER_HTTP_REQUEST_CONTENT_TYPE application/json yes Message MIME Type.

Running / Executing

Using Groovy CLI

This script has been tested with Groovy 2.3.7+:

groovy sqsd.groovy

*Remember to specify the required properties using either environment variables or by editing the config/sqsd-config.groovy!

*On the first run, the script will download some dependencies so it may hang for a while, just be patient!

Using Docker (with service/worker hosted outside this container)

Use this run configuration when your worker is running in another container or in a remote server.

cd /your/sqsd/local/path
docker build -t someImageName .
docker run -e SQSD_WORKER_HTTP_HOST=http://someRemoteHost -e SQSD_WORKER_HTTP_PATH=someRemotePath someImageName

*Remember that if you are running your worker on your Docker host's instance, you cannot use localhost as the worker host path since the localhost in this case will be the container's address, not your host's.


  • 1.1.0 (current)
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