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Configuring AMQ Online for MQTT Messaging

Red Hat AMQ supports the MQTT protocol which makes it a suitable Pubsub technology for powering GraphQL subscriptions at scale. This document provides recommendations for

  • Configuring AMQ Online for MQTT messaging.
  • Connecting to AMQ Online and using it as a pubsub within server applications.


AMQ Online is a mechanism that allows developers to consume the features of Red Hat AMQ within OpenShift.

Red Hat AMQ provides fast, lightweight, and secure messaging for Internet-scale applications. AMQ Broker supports multiple protocols and fast message persistence.

MQTT stands for MQ Telemetry Transport. It is a publish/subscribe, extremely simple and lightweight messaging protocol.


  • OpenShift Cluster
  • AMQ Online is installed in the OpenShift cluster

AMQ Online has a vast number of configuration options which should be considered to suit the specific needs of your application. This section establishes some base guidelines for configuring AMQ Online for MQTT messaging, enabling GraphQL subscriptions.

At a minimum, the following steps must be done to enable MQTT messaging.

  • Create an AddressSpace
  • Create an Address
  • Create a MessagingUser

Create an AddressSpace

A user can request messaging resources by creating an address space. An address space is the first resource you must create. There are two types of address spaces standard and brokered. The brokered address space must be used for MQTT based applications. The following definition can be used to create a brokered address space.

kind: AddressSpace
name: myaddressspace
type: brokered
plan: brokered-single-broker

Create the address space.

oc create -f brokered-address-space.yaml

Get the details of the address space.

oc get <address space name> -o yaml

The output will display information including various connection details for connecting applications.

See Creating address spaces using the command line for more information.

Create an Address

An address is part of an address space and represents a destination for sending and receiving messages. An address is created and used to represent a topic in MQTT terms. For MQTT, a topic address type must be used.

kind: Address
name: myaddressspace.myaddress # must have the format <address space name>.<address name>
address: myaddress
type: topic
plan: brokered-topic

Create the address using the command line.

oc create -f topic-address.yaml

In the implementing subscription resolvers guide, the usage of pubsub.asyncIterator() is described. An address must be created for each topic name passed into pubsub.asyncIterator().

See Creating addresses using the command line for more information.

Create a MessagingUser

A messaging client connects using a MessagingUser. A MessagingUser specifies an authorization policy that controls which addresses may be used and the operations that may be performed on those addresses.

Users are configured as MessagingUser resources. Users can be created, deleted, read, updated, and listed.

kind: MessagingUser
name: myaddressspace.mymessaginguser # must be in the format <address space name>.<username>
username: mymessaginguser
type: password
password: cGFzc3dvcmQ= # must be Base64 encoded. Password is 'password'
- addresses: ["*"]
operations: ["send", "recv"]

Create the messaging user.

oc create -f my-messaging-user.yaml

An application can now connect to an AMQ Online address using this MessagingUser's credentials. For more information see AMQ Online User Model.

Using GraphQL MQTT PubSub with AMQ Online


  • OpenShift cluster
  • AMQ Online is installed in the OpenShift cluster
  • The appropriate AMQ Online resources are available for MQTT Applications (AddressSpace, Address, MessagingUser)

This guide describes how to use @aerogear/graphql-mqtt-subscriptions to connect to an AMQ Online address.

The connection details for an Address Space can be retrieved from the terminal.

oc get addressspace <addressspace> -o yaml

In most cases, there are two options for connecting to an AMQ Online address.

  • Using the service hostname - Allows clients to connect from within the OpenShift cluster.
  • Using the external hostname - Allows clients to connect from outside the OpenShift cluster.

Connecting to an AMQ Online Address Using the Service Hostname

It is recommended that applications running inside OpenShift connect using the service hostname. The service hostname is only accessible within the OpenShift cluster. This ensures messages routed between your application and AMQ Online stay within the OpenShift cluster and never go onto the public internet.

The service hostname can be retrieved using the terminal.

oc get addressspace <addressspace name> -o jsonpath='{.status.endpointStatuses[?("messaging")].serviceHost

Once you have the AMQ address and credentials, open the server/.env file and update the MQTT section accordingly.


Troubleshooting MQTT Connection Issues

The server/src/pubsub.ts contains code that creates connection to MQTT or an in memory pub sub topic.

In this section we are going to see how to log events and fixing configuration issues by modifying the source code in the mentioned file.


The mqtt module emits various events during runtime. It recommended to add listeners for these events for regular operation and for troubleshooting.

client.on('connect', () => {
console.log('client has connected')
client.on('reconnect', () => {
console.log('client has reconnected')
client.on('offline', () => {
console.log('Client has gone offline')
client.on('error', (error) => {
console.log(`an error has occurred ${error}`)

Read the mqtt documentation to learn about all of the events and what causes them.

Configuration Issues

If your application is experiencing connection errors, the most important thing to check is the configuration being passed into mqtt.connect. Because your application may run locally or in OpenShift, it may connect using internal or external hostnames, and it may or may not use TLS, it's very easy to accidentally provide the wrong configuration.

The Node.js mqtt module does not report any errors if parameters such as hostname or port are incorrect. Instead, it will silently fail and allow your application to start without messaging capabilities.

It may be necessary to handle this scenario in your application. The following workaround can be used.

const TIMEOUT = 10 // number of seconds to wait before checking if the client is connected
setTimeout(() => {
if (!client.connected) {
console.log(`client not connected after ${TIMEOUT} seconds`)
// process.exit(1) if you wish
}, TIMEOUT * 1000)

This code can be used to detect if the MQTT client hasn't connected. This can be helpful for detecting potential configuration issues and allows your application to respond to that scenario.