Here is a general guideline of how I setup a rabbitmq cluster to properly scale horizontally. Even if the need is to scale one specific queue this will work.

To scale a specific queue I used the rabbitmq_consistent_hash_exchange plugin, it sends tasks based on a hash, to make it round robin I decided to use a uuid for each task to make it so. For more information check out the documentation.

By solving the issue of a queue horizontal scaling, we can move on to setting up a cluster in rabbit. My main concerns where:

Here is how to do it via the rabbitmqadmin

sudo rabbitmqadmin declare exchange -V rabbit name=<exchange-name> type=x-consistent-hash -u <user> -p <pwd>
for i in $(seq 4); do sudo rabbitmqadmin declare queue -V rabbit name=<queue-name>.$i  -u <user> -p <pwd>; done
for i in $(seq 4); do sudo rabbitmqadmin declare binding -V rabbit source=<exchange-name> destination=<queue-name>.$i routing_key="1" -u <user> -p <pwd>; done

This is required to be able to connection between nodes. It needs to be setup at /var/lib/rabbitmq/.erlang.cookie and to all users that may want to use the cli.

Load balancer behind cluster

To be able to handle traffic to each node, a load balancer is necessary behind the cluster. A HA proxy or an aws ELB is more than enough for the task.

Scalable queue Mirroring

If we mirror on all queues, we are not scaling quite well, to scale it up I setup impair nodes (3, 5, 7…) and add mirroring to 2 nodes, this way we can actually scale the system without touching all nodes for mirror queues. To setup this, we add a policy:

rabbitmqctl set_policy ha-two "^two\." '{"ha-mode":"exactly","ha-params":2,"ha-sync-mode":"automatic"}'

Queue balancing between nodes

There is a plugin to balance nodes automatically, but this is not my aim right now since it shouldn’t be required while everything is stable. To move them manually I can simply add a policy

rabbitmqctl set_policy --apply-to queues --priority 100 my-queue '^my-queue$' '{"ha-mode":"nodes", "ha-params":["rabbit@new-master-node"]}' 
# wait for queues to migrate
rabbitmqctl clear_policy my-queue

Node discovery

Each node needs to be able to contact other nodes, this may sound obvious but some work is needed. There are plugins to handle it like the AWS plugin but I like best the DNS discovery option. By using the RABBITMQ_USE_LONGNAME=true at the rabbitmq-env.conf file so all nodes will be called rabbit@<fullhostname> and if the hostname resolves it will detect the other nodes without issues.