Building RabbitMQ with plugins on AWS EC2

Realtime Messaging Broker & MQTT

Guide on building latest RabbitMQ 3.4.1 on Ubuntu Server 14.04.


  • AWS cloud account and basic experience launching EC2 instances
  • basics of make, Ubuntu Linux, ssh, hg.

Installing and configuring RabbitMQ

The first step is to find appropriate 14.04 Ubuntu Server Releases which at the moment is for US EAST (N.Virginia) datacenter:

  • ubuntu/images/ebs-ssd/ubuntu-trusty-14.04-amd64-server-20140927 - ami-98aa1cf0 (64 bit)

A. Launch the instance and connect via SSH replacing “ip” with instance ip address, default username is “ubuntu”

ssh -i key.pem ubuntu@ip

u should see something like

Welcome to Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.13.0-36-generic x86_64)

B. Set instance hostname because RabbitMQ stores its state in Mnesia database locally in files and database name is connected to hostname.

sudo su
echo '' > /etc/hostname
echo '' >> /etc/hosts
apt-get update

C. Default RabbitMQ for Ubuntu Server 12.04 and 14.04 is rabbitmq-server-3.2.4, but its outdated as latest stable is rabbitmq-server-3.4.1.

To install latest version use the official repository and generally follow build-server instructions.

After instance reboots ssh to it as root again.

sudo su
echo 'deb testing main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list
apt-key add rabbitmq-signing-key-public.asc
apt-get update
apt-get install rabbitmq-server -y

# should see something like
#... testing/main rabbitmq-server all 3.4.1-1 [4,059 kB]
# Additionnaly for plugin development and compiling server from sources install dependencies

apt-get install mercurial -y
apt-get install make -y
apt-get install xsltproc -y
apt-get install python-setuptools -y ; easy_install simplejson;

D. Additionnal requirements not clearly mentioned by official documentation are erlang-dev, erlang-src, zip.

#rlc -o ebin -I include -Wall -v +debug_info   -DINSTR_MOD=gm -pa ebin src/rabbit_ssl.erl
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:21: can't find include lib "public_key/include/public_key.hrl"
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:98: undefined macro 'id-at-commonName'
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:146: undefined macro 'id-at-surname'
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:50: record 'OTPCertificate' undefined
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:53: variable 'Issuer' is unbound
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:58: record 'OTPCertificate' undefined
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:61: variable 'Subject' is unbound
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:66: record 'OTPCertificate' undefined
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:69: variable 'Subject' is unbound
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:74: record 'OTPCertificate' undefined
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:77: variable 'Start' is unbound
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:78: variable 'End' is unbound
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:84: function peer_cert_auth_name/2 undefined
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:123: variable 'V' is unbound
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:123: record 'AttributeTypeAndValue' undefined
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:125: variable 'T' is unbound
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:140: function format_rdn/1 undefined
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:105: Warning: function auth_config_sane/0 is unused
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:174: Warning: function escape_rdn_value/1 is unused
#src/rabbit_ssl.erl:177: Warning: function escape_rdn_value/2 is unused

apt-get install erlang-dev erlang-src -y

#/bin/sh: 1: zip: not found

apt-get install zip -y

E. Relogin as normal user ‘ubuntu’ (quit sudo) and clone the RabbitMQ public umbrella mercurial repository and switch to stable branch

hg clone umbrella
cd umbrella
hg co rabbitmq_v3_4_1
make co
make BRANCH=rabbitmq_v3_4_1 up_c

At this stage u should have 3.4.1 branch checked out with all dependencies and all build requirements installed.

Modifying plugin

Example plugin we are going to modify is MQTT Adapter. A powerful adapter enabling MQTT Protocol connectivity wich powers industry leading services already, i.e. in realtime messengers and telemetry apps (internet of things).

An example modifications to MQTT plugin are:

  • disabling the QoS1 publish & consume (at least once delivery) to prevent any state handling by broker (stateless broker) and thus increasing performance
  • disabling the Last Will and Testament (LWT) also to prevent creating any server state or business logic

Last Will and Testament (LWT): Clients can provide a LWT message during connection that will only be published if the client disconnects unexpectedly, e.g. due to a network failure.

Lets make small change to MQTT plugin, disabling the LWT (below are Erlang sources of MQTT plugin) by just commenting one line and compiling

cd rabbitmq-mqtt
vim src/rabbit_mqtt_processor.erl

--- a/src/rabbit_mqtt_processor.erl    
+++ b/src/rabbit_mqtt_processor.erl    
@@ -91,7 +91,7 @@
                                 rabbit_mqtt_reader:start_keepalive(self(), Keepalive),
-                                   PState #proc_state{ will_msg   = make_will_msg(Var),
+                                   PState #proc_state{ %% will_msg   = make_will_msg(Var),
                                                        clean_sess = CleanSess,
                                                        channels   = {Ch, undefined},
                                                        connection = Conn,

after editing, make a symlink to rabbitmq plugins folder in our home folder

cd ~; ln -s /usr/lib/rabbitmq/lib/rabbitmq_server-3.4.1/plugins/ .
#so plugins will point to rabbitmq
plugins -> /usr/lib/rabbitmq/lib/rabbitmq_server-3.4.1/plugins/

Now as we compiled the plugin, replace the original plugin with our own:

ubuntu@rmq1:~/umbrella/rabbitmq-mqtt$ ls -l dist/
total 876
-rw-rw-r-- 1 ubuntu ubuntu 260608 Nov 21 10:27 amqp_client-0.0.0.ez
-rw-rw-r-- 1 ubuntu ubuntu 562928 Nov 21 10:27 rabbit_common-0.0.0.ez
-rw-rw-r-- 1 ubuntu ubuntu  65559 Nov 21 10:27 rabbitmq_mqtt-0.0.0.ez

# our modified compiled plugin lies in dist folder

#stop the server before making changes to plugin files
sudo su
/etc/init.d/rabbitmq-server stop

#overwrite the original plugin with our compiled version
root@rmq1:/home/ubuntu# cp umbrella/rabbitmq-mqtt/dist/rabbitmq_mqtt-0.0.0.ez plugins/rabbitmq_mqtt-3.4.1.ez

RabbitMQ plugins and configuration for low-end EC2 instance

Now lets properly configure rabbitmq with config that would run on low performance EC2 instance:

  • configure 100Mb lower limit on free disk space
  • allow server to use 85% of available system memory
  • disable access logging and optimize network settings

create a file at /etc/rabbitmq/rabbitmq.config with following contents

sudo su
touch /etc/rabbitmq/rabbitmq.config

 %% see
 {rabbit, [ {disk_free_limit, 100000000},
            {vm_memory_high_watermark, 0.85},
            {heartbeat, 30},
            {collect_statistics, 'none'},
            {log_levels, [{connection, none}]},
            {tcp_listeners, [5672]},
            {tcp_listen_options, [binary, {packet,    raw},
                                          %{reuseaddr, true},
                                          {backlog,   128},
                                          {nodelay,   true},
                                          {delay_send, false},
                                          {keepalive,  false},
                                          {recbuf,     1024},
                                          {sndbuf,     1024}
            {auth_backends, [rabbit_auth_backend_internal]}

            %% {tcp_listeners, []}, %%no tcp, must declare empty value otherwise default 5672 will be running
            %% {ssl_listeners, [5672]},
            %% {ssl_options, [{cacertfile, "/etc/rabbitmq/ca.crt"},
            %%                {certfile,   "/etc/rabbitmq/server.crt"},
            %%                {keyfile,    "/etc/rabbitmq/server.key"},
            %%                {verify,     verify_none},
            %% %%verify_none = no exchange takes place from the client to the server
            %%                {fail_if_no_peer_cert,false}
            %% %%prepared to accept clients which don't have a certificate to send us
            %% ]}
 ] },

  {rabbitmq_management, [{listener, [{port, 15672}

            %%                      {ssl, false},
            %%                      {ssl_opts,    [{cacertfile, "/etc/rabbitmq/ca.crt"},
            %%                                     {certfile,   "/etc/rabbitmq/server.crt"},
            %%                                     {keyfile,    "/etc/rabbitmq/server.key"},
            %%                                     {verify,     verify_none},
            %% %%verify_none = no exchange takes place from the client to the server
            %%                                     {fail_if_no_peer_cert,false}
            %% %%prepared to accept clients which don't have a certificate to send us
            %%                                    ]}                             
 ] },

 {rabbitmq_mqtt, [{allow_anonymous,  false},
                  {vhost,            <<"/vhost1">>},
                  {exchange,         <<"exchange1">>},
                  {subscription_ttl, 90000},
                  {prefetch,         0},
                  {ssl_listeners,    []},
                  {tcp_listeners,    [1883]},
                  {tcp_listen_options, [binary,
                                       {packet,    raw},
                                       {reuseaddr, true},
                                       {backlog,   128},
                                       {nodelay,   true}]}
 ] }


Enable MQTT and management plugins then restart the server.

echo '[rabbitmq_management,rabbitmq_mqtt].' >  /etc/rabbitmq/enabled_plugins;
/etc/init.d/rabbitmq-server start

# check the logs for successful start report
root@rmq1:/home/ubuntu# tail /var/log/rabbitmq/rabbit\@rmq1.log

Server startup complete; 7 plugins started.
 * rabbitmq_management
 * rabbitmq_web_dispatch
 * webmachine
 * mochiweb
 * rabbitmq_management_agent
 * rabbitmq_mqtt
 * amqp_client

# ...

Our modified MQTT plugin successfuly started together with the Management Plugin started and should be available at local port 15672.

otherwise check the /var/log/rabbitmq/startup_err for startup error logs

RabbitMQ vhost, exchange, users setup

We declared the MQTT plugin to be bound to to “/vhost1” and exchange=”exchange1” but never created them, so MQTT connections will not work. To define those entities we need a tool rabbitmqadmin from the management plugin.

#first get the rabbitmqadmin

cd ~
wget http://localhost:15672/cli/rabbitmqadmin
chmod +x rabbitmqadmin

./rabbitmqadmin declare exchange name=exchange1 type=topic durable=true
#exchange declared

sudo rabbitmqctl add_vhost vhost1
#Creating vhost "vhost1" ...

Additionnaly put some basic security measures redefining the default “guest” user:

sudo rabbitmqctl add_user user1 pass1
#Creating user "user1" ...

sudo rabbitmqctl set_permissions -p vhost1 user1 ".*" ".*" ".*"
#Setting permissions for user "user1" in vhost "vhost1" ...

#Optionaly make user1 an administrator that can access the Management UI
#by setting tags for user "user1" to [administrator] ...
sudo rabbitmqctl set_user_tags user1 administrator

#Delete the default user
sudo rabbitmqctl delete_user guest

#Deleting user "guest" ...


Launch the server with modified MQTT plugin and optimized settings.

/etc/init.d/rabbitmq-server restart