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Subscribers receive messages from an RT stream using one of the following interfaces:

  • q interface - the Stream Processor, Storage Manager, and Data Access Processes use this interface in kdb Insights Enterprise.
  • C interface

These interfaces monitor the replicated merged log files, using file-system events, respond to their changes and surface those changes to the subscriber.


The subscriber needs to implement a message callback which provides the deserialized q messages and a position that can be used for restarting the subscriber from this point.

Pause and Resume

The subscriber can also decide to pause and resume the delivery of incoming new messages. While the subscriber is paused the subscriber's local log files still continue to grow so that on resume the delivery of messages can be resumed without the loss of any messages.


The q interface provides an efficient way to filter messages that are generic lists with one or two leading symbols, e.g (upd;trade;data).

The filtering function uses limited IO before deciding if the message satisfies the filtering criteria. The whole message payload is not loaded into memory from disk and it is not fully deserialized.

The filter will only deliver the messages to the subscriber that satisfies the criteria.

Garbage collection of subscriber stream log files

Adopt the RT garbage collection policy

The RT Archiver manages the garbage collection of all merged stream logs inside RT based on a configurable policy.

These archival options can be defined as part of the kdb Insights Configuration.

By default the subscribers will adopt the garbage collection policy used by RT (opt-in). When log files are truncated in RT they are also truncated on all subscribers.

Subscriber opt-out

There are use cases where a subscriber may want to opt-out of the default behavior and independently manage the garbage collection of their local log files.

This decouples the subscriber from RT's global garbage collection policy. Therefore the subscriber must truncate their own local log files as messages are consumed and no longer need to be replayed (say on a restart).

Limited to q subscribers

At present only q subscribers can opt out. See here for details.

Lead subscriber

Another use case is where one of the subscribers can observe when messages have been persisted downstream either to a storage tier or another durable messaging system. After this has occurred those messages are no longer required to be replayed to it or other subscribers.


This needs to be done as a deliberate design decision where one of the subscribers can be configured as the lead.

In this scenario that lead subscriber will drive the truncation of merged logs both in RT and the other subscribers. Note this would work alongside the RT Archiver, which is still required to ensure RT itself doesn't run out of disk space should the lead subscriber fail. However, an early truncation decision by the lead subscriber will take precedence over the RT Archiver policy.