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ActiveMQ is popular. But how does ActiveMQ work? And how can you make it work even better?

Consider this your guide to how ActiveMQ works.

We’ll cover everything you need to know about ActiveMQ. This includes an overview of message brokers, guides to ActiveMQ monitoring, tips for ActiveMQ high availability, and so much more.

Read along or jump to the section that interests you most:

Overview: How Does ActiveMQ Work?

ActiveMQ works by sending messages between disparate applications. 

Definition: ActiveMQ

ActiveMQ is a popular open source messaging service written in Java. It’s a type of message-oriented middleware, made up of Apache ActiveMQ brokers and application clients, called producers and consumers. ActiveMQ isn’t the only open source message broker.

Other Open Source Message Brokers

There are other open source message brokers, including RabbitMQ and Kafka. There are pros and cons to all of these. ActiveMQ is known for being a mature and well-adopted platform with 1,000s of companies already using it. ActiveMQ is also the most feature-rich open source message broker available.

Related Resources

Learn more about open source message brokers and ActiveMQ:

Read Our Guide to Enterprise Messaging

In our Decision Maker's Guide to Enterprise Messaging, our experts walk through two applied examples of system federation and streaming data, and how middleware like ActiveMQ can be used.

Download the Guide

ActiveMQ Is Just One Part Of Your Stack

ActiveMQ is an excellent open source message broker. But ActiveMQ isn’t the only open source technology you can benefit from. Get help building your open source stack by using this interactive tool.

Tips For Using ActiveMQ

ActiveMQ is a deceptively complex piece of software. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of using ActiveMQ.

Disable Dynamic Queue Creation

ActiveMQ creates queues on-demand by default. Destinations are created in the broker any time a client asks to utilize that destination, regardless of whether it already existed. There are some issues with this which can even lead to downtime. Disabling the dynamic ActiveMQ queue can help you avoid the risks.

Ensure High Availability

High availability (HA) is important for ActiveMQ. It’s critical that your brokers stay up and running at all times.

In order to ensure HA, you’ll need to configure your brokers for failover.  If you’re configuring for failover with JDBC persistence, you’ll want to use connection pooling with c3p0 to optimize throughput to your persistence journal. 

Use a Garbage Collector

ActiveMQ creates small, short-lived objects inside the JVM. This can lead to memory fragmentation and other compaction issues. So, you’ll really want to be mindful of Java’s garbage collection when administering ActiveMQ. G1GC is the best current garbage collector option for ActiveMQ.

Monitor ActiveMQ

Monitoring is critical to ensure that ActiveMQ stays healthy. There are tools you can use with ActiveMQ to monitor resource usage, queue depths, and other message behavior. To extend that monitoring further, ActiveMQ comes with a robust set of JMX metrics which can be accessed using a range of common monitoring utilities and platforms.

Improve Performance

The performance of ActiveMQ can vary greatly depending on the data throughput needs of your business, the size of your data payloads, and more. That’s why it’s important to improve performance through regular troubleshooting and performance tuning. Running performance tests and keeping an eye on metrics can help.

Related Resources

Get more in-depth tips for using ActiveMQ:


Open source middleware like ActiveMQ needs to be backed by support in the enterprise. 

That’s because ActiveMQ bridges the gap between different applications, providing a messaging service. If ActiveMQ isn’t set up correctly — or if it fails — it could be catastrophic to your business, cascading problems down to all areas of the infrastructure.

But if you enlist enterprise ActiveMQ support, you can get the best of both worlds:

  • An easy-to-adopt messaging service.
  • Support that makes it easy to get started, so you can innovate faster.

It’s important to find a vendor who has expertise in ActiveMQ — and can support your full stack of open source tools. OpenLogic has experts skilled in ActiveMQ, who understand the interoperability between applications. Our experts can help you set up ActiveMQ correctly. And they can help you resolve issues and make sure your open source stack runs smoothly.

Get Support From OpenLogic

Now that you know how ActiveMQ works, get more out of it with the support of OpenLogic experts. Talk to an ActiveMQ expert today and find out how you can get more out of ActiveMQ.