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Orchestrator provides a websocket interface through which the frontend can receive real-time updates. This includes:

  • The process overview pages
  • The process detail page
  • Engine status


To function properly in a scalable architecture, the websocket implementation consists of multiple layers.

The main component is the WebSocketManager (WSM) which has the following responsibilities:

  1. Keep track of connected frontend clients
  2. Forward messages to all frontend clients
  3. Provide an interface to pass messages from a backend process (workflow/task)

In a setup with multiple isolated Orchestrator instances the WSM is initialized multiple times as well, therefore clients can be connected to any arbitrary WSM instance. Letting a backend process broadcast messages to all clients thus requires a message broker, for which we use Redis Pub/Sub.

There are 2 WSM implementations: a MemoryWebsocketManager for development/testing, and a BroadcastWebsocketManager that connects to Redis. We'll continue to discuss the latter.

  • BroadcastWebsocketManager.broadcast_data() is called by backend processes, and publishes messages to a channel in Redis [1]
  • BroadcastWebsocketManager.sender() starts in a loop for each connected client, subscribes to a channel in Redis, and forwards messages into the websocket connection

[1] When using EXECUTOR="threadpool" this function is not called directly, refer to the ProcessDataBroadcastThread section

Roughly speaking a message travels through these components:

  -> BroadcastWebsocketManager.broadcast_data()
  -> Redis channel
  -> BroadcastWebsocketManager.sender()
  -> Websocket connection
  -> Frontend client


Note: this section is only relevant when the orchestrator is configured with EXECUTOR="threadpool".

Backend processes are executed in a threadpool and therefore access the same WSM instance. This caused asyncio RuntimeErrors as the async Redis Pub/Sub implementation is not thread-safe.

To solve this there is a dedicated ProcessDataBroadcastThread (attached to and managed by the OrchestratorCore app) to perform the actual broadcast_data() call.

The API endpoints which start/resume/abort a process, call api_broadcast_process_data(request) to acquire a function that can be used to submit process updates into a threading.Queue on which ProcessDataBroadcastThread listens.