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Journey 6: Versioning Our System

Preparing for the next stop: upgrading and migrating

"Variety is the very spice of life." William Cowper

The top-level goal for this stage in the journey is to learn about how to upgrade a system that includes bounded contexts that implement the CQRS pattern and event sourcing. The user stories that the team implemented in this stage of the journey involve both changes to the code and changes to the data: some existing data schemas changed and new data schemas were added. In addition to upgrading the system and migrating the data, the team planned to do the upgrade and migration with no down time for the live system running in Microsoft Azure.

Working definitions for this chapter

This chapter uses a number of terms, which we will define next. For more detail, and possible alternative definitions, see Chapter 4, "A CQRS and ES Deep Dive" in the Reference Guide.

Command. A command is a request for the system to perform an action that changes the state of the system. Commands are imperatives; for example, MakeSeatReservation. In this bounded context, commands originate from either the user interface (UI) as a result of a user initiating a request, or from a process manager when the process manager is directing an aggregate to perform an action.

A single recipient processes a command. A command bus transports commands that command handlers then dispatch to aggregates. Sending a command is an asynchronous operation with no return value.

Event. An event, such as OrderConfirmed, describes something that has happened in the system, typically as a result of a command. Aggregates in the domain model raise events. Events can also come from other bounded contexts.

Multiple subscribers can handle a specific event. Aggregates publish events to an event bus; handlers register for specific types of events on the event bus and then deliver the events to the subscriber. In the orders and registrations bounded context, the subscribers are a process manager and the read model generators.

Idempotency. Idempotency is a characteristic of an operation that means the operation can be applied multiple times without changing the result. For example, the operation "set the value x to ten" is idempotent, while the operation "add one to the value of x" is not. In a messaging environment, a message is idempotent if it can be delivered multiple times without changing the result: either because of the nature of the message itself, or because of the way the system handles the message.

User stories

The team implemented the following user stories during this phase of the project.

No down time upgrade

The goal for the V2 release is to perform the upgrade, including any necessary data migration, without any down time for the system. If this is not feasible with the current implementation, then the down time should be minimized, and the system should be modified to support zero down-time upgrades in the future (starting with the V3 release).

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifBeth Says:
Beth Ensuring that we can perform upgrades with no down time is crucial to our credibility in the marketplace.

Display remaining seat quantities

Currently, when a registrant creates an order, there is no indication of the number of seats remaining for each seat type. The UI should display this information when the registrant is selecting seats for purchase.

Handle zero-cost seats

Currently, when a registrant selects seats that have no cost, the UI flow still takes the registrant to the payments page even though there is nothing to pay. The system should detect when there is nothing to pay and adjust the flow to take the registrant directly to the confirmation page for the order.

Architecture

The application is designed to deploy to Azure. At this stage in the journey, the application consists of web roles that contain the ASP.NET MVC web applications and a worker role that contains the message handlers and domain objects. The application uses Azure SQL Database (SQL Database) instances for data storage, both on the write side and the read side. The application uses the Azure Service Bus to provide its messaging infrastructure. Figure 1 shows this high-level architecture.

Follow link to expand image

Figure 1

The top-level architecture in the V2 release

While you are exploring and testing the solution, you can run it locally, either using the Azure compute emulator or by running the MVC web application directly and running a console application that hosts the handlers and domain objects. When you run the application locally, you can use a local SQL Server Express database instead of SQL Database, and use a simple messaging infrastructure implemented in a SQL Server Express database.

For more information about the options for running the application, see Appendix 1, "Release Notes."

Patterns and concepts

During this stage of the journey, most of the key challenges addressed by the team related to how best to perform the migration from V1 to V2. This section describes some of those challenges.

Handling changes to events definitions

When the team examined the requirements for the V2 release, it became clear that we would need to change some of the events used in the Orders and Registrations bounded context to accommodate some of the new features: the RegistrationProcessManager would change and the system would provide a better user experience when the order had a zero cost.

The Orders and Registrations bounded context uses event sourcing, so after the migration to V2, the event store will contain the old events but will start saving the new events. When the system events are replayed, the system must operate correctly when it processes both the old and new sets of events.

The team considered two approaches to handle this type of change in the system.

Mapping/filtering event messages in the infrastructure

Mapping and filtering event messages in the infrastructure is one approach. This option handles old event messages and message formats by dealing with them somewhere in the infrastructure before they reach the domain. You can filter out old messages that are no longer relevant and use mapping to transform old-format messages to a new format. This approach is initially the more complex approach because it requires changes in the infrastructure, but it has the advantage of keeping the domain pure because the domain only needs to understand the current set of events.

Handling multiple message versions in the aggregates

Handling multiple message versions in the aggregates is another alternative; in this approach all the message types (both old and new) are passed through to the domain where each aggregate must be able to handle both the old and new messages. This may be an appropriate strategy in the short term, but it will eventually cause the domain model to become polluted with legacy event handlers.

The team selected this option for the V2 release because it involved the minimum number of code changes.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifJana Says:
Jana Dealing with both old and new events in the aggregates now does not prevent you from later employing the first option: using a mapping/filtering mechanism in the infrastructure.

Honoring message idempotency

One of the key issues to address in the V2 release is to make the system more robust. In the V1 release, in some scenarios it is possible that some messages might be processed more than once, resulting in incorrect or inconsistent data in the system.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifJana Says:
Jana Message idempotency is important in any system that uses messaging, not just in systems that implement the CQRS pattern or use event sourcing.

In some scenarios, it would be possible to design idempotent messages; for example, by using a message that says "set the seat quota to 500" rather than a message that says "add 100 to the seat quota." You could safely process the first message multiple times, but not the second.

However, it is not always possible to use idempotent messages, so the team decided to use the de-duplication feature of the Azure Service Bus to ensure that it delivers messages only once. The team made some changes to the infrastructure to ensure that Azure Service Bus can detect duplicate messages, and configured Azure Service Bus to perform duplicate message detection.

To understand how Contoso implemented this, see the section "De-duplicating command messages" below. Additionally, we needed to consider how the message handlers in the system retrieve messages from queues and topics. The current approach uses the Azure Service Bus peek/lock mechanism. This is a three-stage process:

  1. The handler retrieves a message from the queue or topic and leaves a locked copy of the message there. Other clients cannot see or access locked messages.
  2. The handler processes the message.
  3. The handler deletes the locked message from the queue. If a locked message is not unlocked or deleted after a fixed time, the message is unlocked and made available so that it can be retrieved again.

If step 3 fails for some reason, this means that the system can process the message more than once.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifJana Says:
Jana The team plans to address this issue in the next stage of the journey. See Chapter 7, "Adding Resilience and Optimizing Performance" for more information.

Avoid processing events multiple times

In V1, in certain scenarios it was possible for the system to process an event multiple times if an error occurred while the event was being processed. To avoid this scenario, the team modified the architecture so that every event handler has its own subscription to an Azure topic. Figure 2 shows the two different models.

Follow link to expand image

Figure 2

Using one subscription per event handler

In V1, the following behavior could occur:

  1. The EventProcessor instance receives an OrderPlaced event from the all subscription in the service bus.
  2. The EventProcessor instance has two registered handlers, the RegistrationProcessManagerRouter and OrderViewModelGenerator handler classes, so it invokes the Handle method on each of them.
  3. The Handle method in the OrderViewModelGenerator class executes successfully.
  4. The Handle method in the RegistrationProcessManagerRouter class throws an exception.
  5. The EventProcessor instance catches the exception and abandons the event message. The message is automatically put back into the subscription.
  6. The EventProcessor instance receives the OrderPlaced event from the all subscription for a second time.
  7. It invokes the two Handle methods, causing the RegistrationProcessManagerRouter class to retry the message and the OrderViewModelGenerator class to process the message a second time.
  8. Every time the RegistrationProcessManagerRouter class throws an exception, the OrderViewModelGenerator class processes the event.

In the V2 model, if a handler class throws an exception, the EventProcessor instance puts the event message back on the subscription associated with that handler class. The retry logic now only causes the EventProcessor instance to retry the handler that raised the exception, so no other handlers reprocess the message.

Persisting integration events

One of the concerns raised with the V1 release centered around the way the system persists the integration events that are sent from the Conference Management bounded context to the Orders and Registrations bounded context. These events include information about conference creation and publishing, and details of seat types and quota changes.

In the V1 release, the ConferenceViewModelGenerator class in the Orders and Registrations bounded context handles these events by updating its view model and sending commands to the SeatsAvailability aggregate to tell it to change its seat quota values.

This approach means that the Orders and Registrations bounded context is not storing any history, which could cause problems. For example, other views look up seat type descriptions from this projection, which contains only the latest value of the seat type description. As a result, replaying a set of events elsewhere may regenerate another read-model projection that contains incorrect seat type descriptions.

The team considered the following five options to rectify the situation:

  • Save all of the events in the originating bounded context (the Conference Management bounded context) and use a shared event store that the Orders and Registrations bounded context can access to replay these events. The receiving bounded context could replay the event stream up to a point in time when it needed to see what the seat type description was previously.
  • Save all of the events as soon as they arrive in the receiving bounded context (the Orders and Registrations bounded context).
  • Let the command handler in the view-model generator save the events, selecting only those that it needs.
  • Let the command handler in the view-model generator save different events, in effect using event sourcing for this view model.
  • Store all command and event messages from all bounded contexts in a message log.

The first option is not always viable. In this particular case it would work because the same team is implementing both bounded contexts and the infrastructure, making it easy to use a shared event store.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifGary Says:
Gary Although from a purist's perspective the first option breaks the strict isolation between bounded contexts, in some scenarios it may be an acceptable and pragmatic solution.

A possible risk with the third option is that the set of events that are needed may change in the future. If we don't save events now, they are lost for good.

Although the fifth option stores all the commands and events, some of which you might never need to refer to again, it does provide a complete log of everything that happens in the system. This could be useful for troubleshooting, and also helps you to meet requirements that have not yet been identified. The team chose this option over option two because it offers a more general-purpose mechanism that may have future benefits.

The purpose of persisting the events is to enable them to be played back when the Orders and Registrations bounded context needs the information about current seat quotas in order to calculate the number of remaining seats. To calculate these numbers consistently, you must always play the events back in the same order. There are several choices for this ordering:

  • The order in which the events were sent by the Conference Management bounded context.
  • The order in which the events were received by the Orders and Registrations bounded context.
  • The order in which the events were processed by the Orders and Registrations bounded context.

Most of the time these orderings will be the same. There is no correct order; you just need to choose one to be consistent. Therefore, the choice is determined by simplicity. In this case, the simplest approach is to persist the events in the order that the handler in the Orders and Registrations bounded context receives them (the second option).

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifMarkus Says:
Markus This choice does not typically arise with event sourcing. Each aggregate creates events in a fixed order, and that is the order that the system uses to persist the events. In this scenario, the integration events are not created by a single aggregate.

There is a similar issue with saving timestamps for these events. Timestamps may be useful in the future if there is a requirement to look at the number of remaining seats at a particular time. The choice here is whether you should create a timestamp when the event is created in the Conference Management bounded context or when it is received by the Orders and Registrations bounded context. It's possible that the Orders and Registrations bounded context is offline for some reason when the Conference Management bounded context creates an event; therefore, the team decided to create the timestamp when the Conference Management bounded context publishes the event.

Message ordering

The acceptance tests that the team created and ran to verify the V1 release highlighted a potential issue with message ordering: the acceptance tests that exercised the Conference Management bounded context sent a sequence of commands to the Orders and Registrations bounded context that sometimes arrived out of order.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifMarkus Says:
Markus This effect was not noticed when a human user tested this part of the system because the time delay between the times that the commands were sent was much greater, making it less likely that the messages would arrive out of order.

The team considered two alternatives for ensuring that messages arrive in the correct order.

  • The first option is to use message sessions, a feature of the Azure Service Bus. If you use message sessions, this guarantees that messages within a session are delivered in the same order that they were sent.
  • The second alternative is to modify the handlers within the application to detect out-of-order messages through the use of sequence numbers or timestamps added to the messages when they are sent. If the receiving handler detects an out-of-order message, it rejects the message and puts it back onto the queue or topic to be processed later, after it has processed the messages that were sent before the rejected message.

The preferred solution in this case is to use Azure Service Bus message sessions because this requires fewer changes to the existing code. Both approaches would introduce some additional latency into the message delivery, but the team does not anticipate that this will have a significant effect on the performance of the system.

Implementation details

This section describes some of the significant features of the implementation of the Orders and Registrations bounded context. You may find it useful to have a copy of the code so you can follow along. You can download a copy from the Download center, or check the evolution of the code in the repository on GitHub: https://github.com/mspnp/cqrs-journey-code. You can download the code from the V2 release from the Tags page on GitHub.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifNote:
Do not expect the code samples to exactly match the code in the reference implementation. This chapter describes a step in the CQRS journey; the implementation may well change as we learn more and refactor the code.

Adding support for zero-cost orders

There were three specific goals in making this change, all of which are related. We wanted to:

  • Modify the RegistrationProcessManager class and related aggregates to handle orders with a zero cost.
  • Modify the navigation in the UI to skip the payment step when the total cost of the order is zero.
  • Ensure that the system functions correctly after the upgrade to V2 with the old events as well as the new.

Changes to the RegistrationProcessManager class

Previously, the RegistrationProcessManager class sent a ConfirmOrderPayment command after it received notification from the UI that the registrant had completed the payment. Now, if there is a zero-cost order, the UI sends a ConfirmOrder command directly to the Order aggregate. If the order requires a payment, the RegistrationProcessManager class sends a ConfirmOrder command to the Order aggregate after it receives notification of a successful payment from the UI.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifJana Says:
Jana Notice that the name of the command has changed from ConfirmOrderPayment to ConfirmOrder. This reflects the fact that the order doesn't need to know anything about the payment; all it needs to know is that the order is confirmed. Similarly, there is a new OrderConfirmed event that is now used in place of the old OrderPaymentConfirmed event.

When the Order aggregate receives the ConfirmOrder command, it raises an OrderConfirmed event. In addition to being persisted, this event is also handled by the following objects:

  • The OrderViewModelGenerator class, where it updates the state of the order in the read model.
  • The SeatAssignments aggregate, where it initializes a new SeatAssignments instance.
  • The RegistrationProcessManager class, where it triggers a command to commit the seat reservation.

Changes to the UI

The main change in the UI is in the RegistrationController MVC controller class in the SpecifyRegistrantAndPaymentDetails action. Previously, this action method returned an InitiateRegistrationWithThirdPartyProcessorPayment action result; now, if the new IsFreeOfCharge property of the Order object is true, it returns a CompleteRegistrationWithoutPayment action result. Otherwise, it returns a CompleteRegistrationWithThirdPartyProcessorPayment action result.

[HttpPost]
public ActionResult SpecifyRegistrantAndPaymentDetails(AssignRegistrantDetails command, string paymentType, int orderVersion)
{
    ...

    var pricedOrder = this.orderDao.FindPricedOrder(orderId);
    if (pricedOrder.IsFreeOfCharge)
    {
        return CompleteRegistrationWithoutPayment(command, orderId);
    }

    switch (paymentType)
    {
        case ThirdPartyProcessorPayment:

            return CompleteRegistrationWithThirdPartyProcessorPayment(command, pricedOrder, orderVersion);

        case InvoicePayment:
            break;

        default:
            break;
    }

    ...
}

The CompleteRegistrationWithThirdPartyProcessorPayment redirects the user to the ThirdPartyProcessorPayment action and the CompleteRegistrationWithoutPayment method redirects the user directly to the ThankYou action.

Data migration

The Conference Management bounded context stores order information from the Orders and Registrations bounded context in the PricedOrders table in its Azure SQL Database instance. Previously, the Conference Management bounded context received the OrderPaymentConfirmed event; now it receives the OrderConfirmed event that contains an additional IsFreeOfCharge property. This becomes a new column in the database.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifMarkus Says:
Markus We didn't need to modify the existing data in this table during the migration because the default value for a Boolean is false. All of the existing entries were created before the system supported zero-cost orders.

During the migration, any in-flight ConfirmOrderPayment commands could be lost because they are no longer handled by the Order aggregate. You should verify that none of these commands are currently on the command bus.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifPoe Says:
Poe We need to plan carefully how to deploy the V2 release so that we can be sure that all the existing, in-flight ConfirmOrderPayment commands are processed by a worker role instance running the V1 release.

The system persists the state of RegistrationProcessManager class instances to a SQL Database table. There are no changes to the schema of this table. The only change you will see after the migration is an additional value in the StateValue column. This reflects the additional PaymentConfirmationReceived value in the ProcessState enumeration in the RegistrationProcessManager class, as shown in the following code sample:

public enum ProcessState
{
    NotStarted = 0,
    AwaitingReservationConfirmation = 1,
    ReservationConfirmationReceived = 2,
    PaymentConfirmationReceived = 3,
}

In the V1 release, the events that the event sourcing system persisted for the Order aggregate included the OrderPaymentConfirmed event. Therefore, the event store contains instances of this event type. In the V2 release, the OrderPaymentConfirmed event is replaced with the OrderConfirmed event.

The team decided for the V2 release not to introduce mapping and filtering events at the infrastructure level when events are deserialized. This means that the handlers must understand both the old and new events when the system replays these events from the event store. The following code sample shows this in the SeatAssignmentsHandler class:

static SeatAssignmentsHandler()
{
    Mapper.CreateMap<OrderPaymentConfirmed, OrderConfirmed>();
}

public SeatAssignmentsHandler(IEventSourcedRepository<Order> ordersRepo, IEventSourcedRepository<SeatAssignments> assignmentsRepo)
{
    this.ordersRepo = ordersRepo;
    this.assignmentsRepo = assignmentsRepo;
}

public void Handle(OrderPaymentConfirmed @event)
{
    this.Handle(Mapper.Map<OrderConfirmed>(@event));
}

public void Handle(OrderConfirmed @event)
{
    var order = this.ordersRepo.Get(@event.SourceId);
    var assignments = order.CreateSeatAssignments();
    assignmentsRepo.Save(assignments);
}

You can also see the same technique in use in the OrderViewModelGenerator class.

The approach is slightly different in the Order class because this is one of the events that is persisted to the event store. The following code sample shows part of the protected constructor in the Order class:

protected Order(Guid id)
    : base(id)
{
    ...
    base.Handles<OrderPaymentConfirmed>(e => this.OnOrderConfirmed(Mapper.Map<OrderConfirmed>(e)));
    base.Handles<OrderConfirmed>(this.OnOrderConfirmed);
    ...
}
JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifJana Says:
Jana Handling the old events in this way was straightforward for this scenario because the only change needed was to the name of the event. It would be more complicated if the properties of the event changed as well. In the future, Contoso will consider doing the mapping in the infrastructure to avoid polluting the domain model with legacy events.

Displaying remaining seats in the UI

There were three specific goals in making this change, all of which are related. We wanted to

  • Modify the system to include information about the number of remaining seats of each seat type in the conference read model.
  • Modify the UI to display the number of remaining seats of each seat type.
  • Ensure that the system functions correctly after the upgrade to V2.

Adding information about remaining seat quantities to the read model

The information that the system needs to be able to display the number of remaining seats comes from two places.

  • The Conference Management bounded context raises the SeatCreated and SeatUpdated events whenever the business customer creates new seat types or modifies seat quotas.
  • The SeatsAvailability aggregate in the Orders and Registrations bounded context raises the SeatsReserved, SeatsReservationCancelled, and AvailableSeatsChanged events while a registrant is creating an order.
JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifNote:
The ConferenceViewModelGenerator class does not use the SeatCreated and SeatUpdated events.

The ConferenceViewModelGenerator class in the Orders and Registrations bounded context now handles these events and uses them to calculate and store the information about seat type quantities in the read model. The following code sample shows the relevant handlers in the ConferenceViewModelGenerator class:

public void Handle(AvailableSeatsChanged @event)
{
    this.UpdateAvailableQuantity(@event, @event.Seats);
}

public void Handle(SeatsReserved @event)
{
    this.UpdateAvailableQuantity(@event, @event.AvailableSeatsChanged);
}

public void Handle(SeatsReservationCancelled @event)
{
    this.UpdateAvailableQuantity(@event, @event.AvailableSeatsChanged);
}

private void UpdateAvailableQuantity(IVersionedEvent @event, IEnumerable<SeatQuantity> seats)
{
    using (var repository = this.contextFactory.Invoke())
    {
        var dto = repository.Set<Conference>().Include(x => x.Seats).FirstOrDefault(x => x.Id == @event.SourceId);
        if (dto != null)
        {
            if (@event.Version > dto.SeatsAvailabilityVersion)
            {
                foreach (var seat in seats)
                {
                    var seatDto = dto.Seats.FirstOrDefault(x => x.Id == seat.SeatType);
                    if (seatDto != null)
                    {
                        seatDto.AvailableQuantity += seat.Quantity;
                    }
                    else
                    {
                        Trace.TraceError("Failed to locate Seat Type read model being updated with id {0}.", seat.SeatType);
                    }
                }

                dto.SeatsAvailabilityVersion = @event.Version;

                repository.Save(dto);
            }
            else
            {
                Trace.TraceWarning ...
            }
        }
        else
        {
            Trace.TraceError ...
        }
    }
}

The UpdateAvailableQuantity method compares the version on the event to current version of the read model to detect possible duplicate messages.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifMarkus Says:
Markus This check only detects duplicate messages, not out-of-sequence messages.

Modifying the UI to display remaining seat quantities

Now, when the UI queries the conference read model for a list of seat types, the list includes the currently available number of seats. The following code sample shows how the RegistrationController MVC controller uses the AvailableQuantity of the SeatType class:

private OrderViewModel CreateViewModel()
{
    var seatTypes = this.ConferenceDao.GetPublishedSeatTypes(this.ConferenceAlias.Id);
    var viewModel =
        new OrderViewModel
        {
            ConferenceId = this.ConferenceAlias.Id,
            ConferenceCode = this.ConferenceAlias.Code,
            ConferenceName = this.ConferenceAlias.Name,
            Items =
                seatTypes.Select(
                    s =>
                        new OrderItemViewModel
                        {
                            SeatType = s,
                            OrderItem = new DraftOrderItem(s.Id, 0),
                            AvailableQuantityForOrder = s.AvailableQuantity,
                            MaxSelectionQuantity = Math.Min(s.AvailableQuantity, 20)
                        }).ToList(),
        };

    return viewModel;
}

Data migration

The database table that holds the conference read-model data now has a new column to hold the version number that is used to check for duplicate events, and the table that holds the seat type read-model data now has a new column to hold the available quantity of seats.

As part of the data migration, it is necessary to replay all of the events in the event store for each of the SeatsAvailability aggregates in order to correctly calculate the available quantities.

De-duplicating command messages

The system currently uses the Azure Service Bus to transport messages. When the system initializes the Azure Service Bus from the start-up code in the ConferenceProcessor class, it configures the topics to detect duplicate messages, as shown in the following code sample from the ServiceBusConfig class:

private void CreateTopicIfNotExists() 
{     
    var topicDescription =         
        new TopicDescription(this.topic)         
        {             
            RequiresDuplicateDetection = true,
            DuplicateDetectionHistoryTimeWindow = topic.DuplicateDetectionHistoryTimeWindow,         
        };     
    try     
    {         
        this.namespaceManager.CreateTopic(topicDescription);     
    }     
    catch (MessagingEntityAlreadyExistsException) { } 
} 
JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifNote:
You can configure the DuplicateDetectionHistoryTimeWindow in the Settings.xml file
by adding an attribute to the Topic element. The default value is one hour.

However, for the duplicate detection to work, you must ensure that every message has a unique ID. The following code sample shows the MarkSeatsAsReserved command:

public class MarkSeatsAsReserved : ICommand
{
    public MarkSeatsAsReserved()
    {
        this.Id = Guid.NewGuid();
        this.Seats = new List<SeatQuantity>();
    }

    public Guid Id { get; set; }

    public Guid OrderId { get; set; }

    public List<SeatQuantity> Seats { get; set; }

    public DateTime Expiration { get; set; }
}

The BuildMessage method in the CommandBus class uses the command Id to create a unique message Id that the Azure Service Bus can use to detect duplicates:

private BrokeredMessage BuildMessage(Envelope command) 
{ 
    var stream = new MemoryStream(); 
    ...

    var message = new BrokeredMessage(stream, true);
    if (!default(Guid).Equals(command.Body.Id))
    {
        message.MessageId = command.Body.Id.ToString();
    }

...

    return message;
} 

Guaranteeing message ordering

The team decided to use Azure Service Bus Message Sessions to guarantee message ordering in the system.

The system configures the Azure Service Bus topics and subscriptions from the OnStart method in the ConferenceProcessor class. The configuration in the Settings.xml file specifies whether a particular subscription should use sessions. The following code sample from the ServiceBusConfig class shows how the system creates and configures subscriptions.

private void CreateSubscriptionIfNotExists(NamespaceManager namespaceManager, TopicSettings topic, SubscriptionSettings subscription)
{
    var subscriptionDescription =
        new SubscriptionDescription(topic.Path, subscription.Name)
        {
            RequiresSession = subscription.RequiresSession
        };

    try
    {
        namespaceManager.CreateSubscription(subscriptionDescription);
    }
    catch (MessagingEntityAlreadyExistsException) { }
}

The following code sample from the SessionSubscriptionReceiver class shows how to use sessions to receive messages:

private void ReceiveMessages(CancellationToken cancellationToken)
{
    while (!cancellationToken.IsCancellationRequested)
    {
        MessageSession session;
        try
        {
            session = this.receiveRetryPolicy.ExecuteAction<MessageSession>(this.DoAcceptMessageSession);
        }
        catch (Exception e)
        {
            ...
        }

        if (session == null)
        {
            Thread.Sleep(100);
            continue;
        }


        while (!cancellationToken.IsCancellationRequested)
        {
            BrokeredMessage message = null;
            try
            {
                try
                {
                    message = this.receiveRetryPolicy.ExecuteAction(() => session.Receive(TimeSpan.Zero));
                }
                catch (Exception e)
                {
                    ...
                }

                if (message == null)
                {
                    // If we have no more messages for this session, exit and try another.
                    break;
                }

                this.MessageReceived(this, new BrokeredMessageEventArgs(message));
            }
            finally
            {
                if (message != null)
                {
                    message.Dispose();
                }
            }
        }

        this.receiveRetryPolicy.ExecuteAction(() => session.Close());
    }
}

private MessageSession DoAcceptMessageSession()
{
    try
    {
        return this.client.AcceptMessageSession(TimeSpan.FromSeconds(45));
    }
    catch (TimeoutException)
    {
        return null;
    }
}
JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifMarkus Says:
Markus You may find it useful to compare this version of the ReceiveMessages method that uses message sessions with the original version in the SubscriptionReceiver class.

To be able to use message sessions when you receive a message, you must ensure that when you send a message you include a session ID. The system uses the source ID from the event as the session ID, as shown in the following code sample from the BuildMessage method in the EventBus class.

var message = new BrokeredMessage(stream, true);
message.SessionId = @event.SourceId.ToString();

In this way, you can guarantee that all of the messages from an individual source will be received in the correct order.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifPoe Says:
Poe In the V2 release, the team changed the way the system creates the Azure Service Bus topics and subscriptions. Previously, the SubscriptionReceiver class created them if they didn't exist already. Now, the system creates them using configuration data when the application starts up. This happens early in the start-up process to avoid the risk of losing messages if one is sent to a topic before the system initializes the subscriptions.

However, sessions can only guarantee to deliver messages in order if the messages are placed on the bus in the correct order. If the system sends messages asynchronously, then you must take special care to ensure that messages are placed on the bus in the correct order. In our system, it is important that the events from each individual aggregate instance arrive in order, but we don't care about the ordering of events from different aggregate instances. Therefore, although the system sends events asynchronously, the EventStoreBusPublisher instance waits for an acknowledgement that the previous event was sent before sending the next one. The following sample from the TopicSender class illustrates this:

public void Send(Func<BrokeredMessage> messageFactory)
{
    var resetEvent = new ManualResetEvent(false);
    Exception exception = null;
    this.retryPolicy.ExecuteAction(
        ac =>
        {
            this.DoBeginSendMessage(messageFactory(), ac);
        },
        ar =>
        {
            this.DoEndSendMessage(ar);
        },
        () => resetEvent.Set(),
        ex =>
        {
            Trace.TraceError("An unrecoverable error occurred while trying to send a message:\r\n{0}", ex);
            exception = ex;
            resetEvent.Set();
        });

    resetEvent.WaitOne();
    if (exception != null)
    {
        throw exception;
    }
}
JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifJana Says:
Jana This code sample shows how the system uses the Transient Fault Handling Application Block to make the asynchronous call reliably.

For additional information about message ordering and Azure Service Bus, see Microsoft Azure Queues and Microsoft Azure Service Bus Queues - Compared and Contrasted.

For information about sending messages asynchronously and ordering, see the blog post Microsoft Azure Service Bus Splitter and Aggregator.

Persisting events from the Conference Management bounded context

The team decided to create a message log of all the commands and events that are sent. This will enable the Orders and Registrations bounded context to query this log for the events from the Conference Management bounded context that it requires to build its read models. This is not event sourcing because we are not using these events to rebuild the state of our aggregates, although we are using similar techniques to capture and persist these integration events.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifGary Says:
Gary This message log ensures that no messages are lost, so that in the future it will be possible to meet additional requirements.

Adding additional metadata to the messages

The system now persists all messages to the message log. To make it easier to query the message log for specific commands or events, the system now adds more metadata to each message. Previously, the only metadata was the event type; now, the event metadata includes the event type, namespace, assembly, and path. The system adds the metadata to the events in the EventBus class and to the commands in the CommandBus class.

Capturing and persisting messages to the message log

The system uses an additional subscription to the conference/commands and conference/events topics in Azure Service Bus to receive copies of every message in the system. It then appends the message to an Azure table storage table. The following code sample shows the entity that the AzureMessageLogWriter class uses to save the message to the table:

public class MessageLogEntity : TableServiceEntity 
{ 
    public string Kind { get; set; }     
    public string CorrelationId { get; set; }     
    public string MessageId { get; set; }     
    public string SourceId { get; set; }     
    public string AssemblyName { get; set; }     
    public string Namespace { get; set; }     
    public string FullName { get; set; }     
    public string TypeName { get; set; }     
    public string SourceType { get; set; }     
    public string CreationDate { get; set; }     
    public string Payload { get; set; } 
} 

The Kind property specifies whether the message is either a command or an event. The MessageId and CorrelationId properties are set by the messaging infrastructure. The remaining properties are set from the message metadata.

The following code sample shows the definition of the partition and row keys for these messages:

PartitionKey = message.EnqueuedTimeUtc.ToString("yyyMM"),
RowKey = message.EnqueuedTimeUtc.Ticks.ToString("D20") + "_" + message.MessageId

Notice how the row key preserves the order in which the messages were originally sent and adds on the message ID to guarantee uniqueness just in case two messages were enqueued at exactly the same time.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifJana Says:
Jana This is different from the event store where the partition key identifies the aggregate instance and the row key identifies the aggregate version number.

Data migration

When Contoso migrates the system from V1 to V2, it will use the message log to rebuild the conference and priced-order read models in the Orders and Registrations bounded context.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifGary Says:
Gary Contoso can use the message log whenever it needs to rebuild the read models that are built from events that are not associated with an aggregate, such as the integration events from the Conference Management bounded context.

The conference read model holds information about conferences and contains information from the ConferenceCreated, ConferenceUpdated, ConferencePublished, ConferenceUnpublished, SeatCreated, and SeatUpdated events that come from the Conference Management bounded context.

The priced-order read model holds information from the SeatCreated and SeatUpdated events that come from the Conference Management bounded context.

However, in V1, these event messages were not persisted, so the read models cannot be repopulated in V2. To work around this problem, the team implemented a data migration utility that uses a best effort approach to generate events that contain the missing data to store in the message log. For example, after the migration to V2, the message log does not contain any ConferenceCreated events, so the migration utility finds this information in the database used by the Conference Management bounded context and creates the missing events. You can see how this is done in the GeneratePastEventLogMessagesForConferenceManagement method in the Migrator class in the MigrationToV2 project.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifMarkus Says:
Markus You can see in this class that Contoso also copies all of the existing event sourced events into the message log.

The RegenerateViewModels method in the Migrator class shown below rebuilds the read models. It retrieves all the events from the message log by invoking the Query method, and then uses the ConferenceViewModelGenerator and PricedOrderViewModelUpdater classes to handle the messages.

internal void RegenerateViewModels(AzureEventLogReader logReader, string dbConnectionString)
{
    var commandBus = new NullCommandBus();

    Database.SetInitializer<ConferenceRegistrationDbContext>(null);

    var handlers = new List<IEventHandler>();
    handlers.Add(new ConferenceViewModelGenerator(() => new ConferenceRegistrationDbContext(dbConnectionString), commandBus));
    handlers.Add(new PricedOrderViewModelUpdater(() => new ConferenceRegistrationDbContext(dbConnectionString)));

    using (var context = new ConferenceRegistrationMigrationDbContext(dbConnectionString))
    {
        context.UpdateTables();
    }

    try
    {
        var dispatcher = new MessageDispatcher(handlers);
        var events = logReader.Query(new QueryCriteria { });

        dispatcher.DispatchMessages(events);
    }
    catch
    {
        using (var context = new ConferenceRegistrationMigrationDbContext(dbConnectionString))
        {
            context.RollbackTablesMigration();
        }

        throw;
    }
}
JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifJana Says:
Jana The query may not be fast because it will retrieve entities from multiple partitions.

Notice how this method uses a NullCommandBus instance to swallow any commands from the ConferenceViewModelGenerator instance because we are only rebuilding the read model here.

Previously, the PricedOrderViewModelGenerator used the ConferenceDao class to obtain information about seats; now, it is autonomous and handles the SeatCreated and SeatUpdated events directly to maintain this information. As part of the migration, this information must be added to the read model. In the previous code sample, the PricedOrderViewModelUpdater class only handles the SeatCreated and SeatUpdated events and adds the missing information to the priced-order read model.

Migrating from V1 to V2

Migrating from V1 to V2 requires you to update the deployed application code and migrate the data. You should always rehearse the migration in a test environment before performing it in your production environment. These are the required steps:

  1. Deploy the V2 release to your Azure staging environment. The V2 release has a MaintenanceMode property that is initially set to true. In this mode, the application displays a message to the user stating that the site is currently undergoing maintenance and the worker role does not process messages.
  2. When you are ready, swap the V2 release (still in maintenance mode) into your Azure production environment.
  3. Leave the V1 release (now running in the staging environment) to run for a few minutes to ensure that all in-flight messages complete their processing.
  4. Run the migration program to migrate the data (see below).
  5. After the data migration completes successfully, change the MaintenanceMode property of each role type to false.
  6. The V2 release is now live in Azure.
JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifJana Says:
Jana The team considered using a separate application to display a message to users during the upgrade process telling them that the site is undergoing maintenance. However, using the MaintenanceMode property in the V2 release provides a simpler process, and adds a potentially useful new feature to the application.


JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifPoe Says:
Poe Because of the changes to the event store, it is not possible to perform a no down-time upgrade from V1 to V2. However, the changes that the team has made will ensure that the migration from V2 to V3 will be possible with no down time.


JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifMarkus Says:
Markus The team applied various optimizations to the migration utility, such as batching the operations, in order to minimize the amount of down time.

The following sections summarize the data migration from V1 to V2. Some of these steps were discussed previously in relation to a specific change or enhancement to the application.

One of the changes the team introduced for V2 is to keep a copy of all command and event messages in a message log in order to future-proof the application by capturing everything that might be used in the future. The migration process takes this new feature into account.

Because the migration process copies large amounts of data around, you should run it in an Azure worker role in order to minimize the cost. The migration utility is a console application, so you can use Azure and Remote Desktop Services. For information about how to run an application inside an Azure role instance, see Using Remote Desktop with Microsoft Azure Roles.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifPoe Says:
Poe In some organizations, the security policy will not allow you to use Remote Desktop Services with Azure in a production environment. However, you only need the worker role that hosts the Remote Desktop session for the duration of the migration; you can delete it after the migration is complete. You could also run your migration code as a worker role instead of as a console application and ensure that it logs the status of the migration for you to verify.

Generating past log messages for the Conference Management bounded context

Part of the migration process is to recreate, where possible, the messages that the V1 release discarded after processing and then add them to the message log. In the V1 release, all of the integration events sent from the Conference Management bounded context to the Orders and Registrations bounded context were lost in this way. The system cannot recreate all of the lost events, but it can create events that represent the state of system at the time of the migration.

For more information, see the section "Persisting events from the Conference Management bounded context" earlier in this chapter.

Migrating the event sourcing events

In the V2 release, the event store stores additional metadata for each event in order to facilitate querying for events. The migration process copies all of the events from the existing event store to a new event store with the new schema.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifJana Says:
Jana The original events are not updated in any way and are treated as being immutable.

At the same time, the system adds a copy of all of these events to the message log that was introduced in the V2 release.

For more information, see the MigrateEventSourcedAndGeneratePastEventLogs in the Migrator class in the MigrationToV2 project.

Rebuilding the read models

The V2 release includes several changes to the definitions of the read models in the Orders and Registrations bounded context. The MigrationToV2 project rebuilds the Conference read model and Priced-order read model in the Orders and Registrations bounded context.

For more information, see the section "Persisting events from the Conference Management bounded context" earlier in this chapter.

Impact on testing

During this stage of the journey, the test team continued to expand the set of acceptance tests. They also created a set of tests to verify the data migration process.

SpecFlow revisited

Previously, the set of SpecFlow tests were implemented in two ways: either simulating user interaction by automating a web browser, or by operating directly on the MVC controllers. Both approaches had their advantages and disadvantages, which are discussed in Chapter 4, "Extending and Enhancing the Orders and Registrations Bounded Contexts."

After discussing these tests with another expert, the team also implemented a third approach. From the perspective of the domain-driven design (DDD) approach, the UI is not part of the domain model, and the focus of the core team should be on understanding the domain with the help of the domain expert and implementing the business logic in the domain. The UI is just the mechanical part added to enable users to interact with the domain. Therefore acceptance testing should include verifying that the domain model functions in the way that the domain expert expects. Therefore the team created a set of acceptance tests using SpecFlow that are designed to exercise the domain without the distraction of the UI parts of the system.

The following code sample shows the SelfRegistrationEndToEndWithDomain.feature file in the Features\Domain\Registration folder in the Conference.AcceptanceTests Visual Studio solution. Notice how the When and Then clauses use commands and events.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifGary Says:
Gary Typically, you would expect the When clauses to send commands and the Then clauses to see events or exceptions if your domain model uses just aggregates. However, in this example, the domain-model includes a process manager that responds to events by sending commands. The test is checking that all of the expected commands are sent and all of the expected events are raised.

Feature: Self Registrant end to end scenario for making a Registration for a Conference site with Domain Commands and Events
    In order to register for a conference
    As an Attendee
    I want to be able to register for the conference, pay for the Registration Order and associate myself with the paid Order automatically


Scenario: Make a reservation with the selected Order Items
Given the list of the available Order Items for the CQRS summit 2012 conference
    | seat type                 | rate | quota |
    | General admission         | $199 | 100   |
    | CQRS Workshop             | $500 | 100   |
    | Additional cocktail party | $50  | 100   |
And the selected Order Items
    | seat type                 | quantity |
    | General admission         | 1        |
    | Additional cocktail party | 1        |
When the Registrant proceeds to make the Reservation
    # command:RegisterToConference
Then the command to register the selected Order Items is received 
    # event: OrderPlaced
And the event for Order placed is emitted
    # command: MakeSeatReservation
And the command for reserving the selected Seats is received
    # event: SeatsReserved
And the event for reserving the selected Seats is emitted
    # command: MarkSeatsAsReserved
And the command for marking the selected Seats as reserved is received
    # event: OrderReservationCompleted 
And the event for completing the Order reservation is emitted
    # event: OrderTotalsCalculated
And the event for calculating the total of $249 is emitted

The following code sample shows some of the step implementations for the feature file. The steps use the command bus to send the commands.

[When(@"the Registrant proceed to make the Reservation")]
public void WhenTheRegistrantProceedToMakeTheReservation()
{
    registerToConference = ScenarioContext.Current.Get<RegisterToConference>();
    var conferenceAlias = ScenarioContext.Current.Get<ConferenceAlias>();

    registerToConference.ConferenceId = conferenceAlias.Id;
    orderId = registerToConference.OrderId;
    this.commandBus.Send(registerToConference);

    // Wait for event processing
    Thread.Sleep(Constants.WaitTimeout);
}

[Then(@"the command to register the selected Order Items is received")]
public void ThenTheCommandToRegisterTheSelectedOrderItemsIsReceived()
{
    var orderRepo = EventSourceHelper.GetRepository<Registration.Order>();
    Registration.Order order = orderRepo.Find(orderId);

    Assert.NotNull(order);
    Assert.Equal(orderId, order.Id);
}

[Then(@"the event for Order placed is emitted")]
public void ThenTheEventForOrderPlacedIsEmitted()
{
    var orderPlaced = MessageLogHelper.GetEvents<OrderPlaced>(orderId).SingleOrDefault();

    Assert.NotNull(orderPlaced);
    Assert.True(orderPlaced.Seats.All(
        os => registerToConference.Seats.Count(cs => cs.SeatType == os.SeatType && cs.Quantity == os.Quantity) == 1));
}

Discovering a bug during the migration

When the test team ran the tests on the system after the migration, we discovered that the number of seat types in the Orders and Registrations bounded context was different from the number prior to the migration. The investigation revealed the following cause.

The Conference Management bounded context allows a business customer to delete a seat type if the conference has never been published, but does not raise an integration event to report this fact to the Orders and Registrations bounded context. Therefore, the Orders and Registrations bounded context receives an event from the Conference Management bounded context when a business customer creates a new seat type, but not when a business customer deletes a seat type.

Part of the migration process creates a set of integration events to replace those that the V1 release discarded after processing. It creates these events by reading the database used by the Conference Management bounded context. This process did not create integration events for the deleted seat types.

In summary, in the V1 release, deleted seat types incorrectly appeared in the read models in the Orders and Registrations bounded context. After the migration to the V2 release, these deleted seat types did not appear in the read models in the Orders and Registrations bounded context.

JJ591565.note(en-us,PandP.10).gifPoe Says:
Poe Testing the migration process not only verifies that the migration runs as expected, but potentially reveals bugs in the application itself.

Summary

During this stage of our journey, we versioned our system and completed the V2 pseudo-production release. This new release included some additional functionality and features, such as support for zero-cost orders and more information displayed in the UI.

We also made some changes in the infrastructure. For example, we made more messages idempotent and now persist integration events. The next chapter describes the final stage of our journey as we continue to enhance the infrastructure and harden the system in preparation for our V3 release.

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