In certain environments is common to see that logs or data being ingested is faster than the ability to flush it to some destinations. The common case is reading from big log files and dispatching the logs to a backend over the network which takes some time to respond, this generate backpressure leading to a high memory consumption in the service.
In order to avoid backpressure, Fluent Bit implements a mechanism in the engine that restrict the amount of data than an input plugin can ingest, this is done through the configuration parameter Mem_Buf_Limit.
This option is disabled by default and can be applied to all input plugins. Let's explain it behavior using the following scenario:
Mem_Buf_Limit is set to 1MB (one megabyte)
input plugin tries to append 700KB
engine route the data to an output plugin
output plugin backend (HTTP Server) is down
engine scheduler will retry the flush after 10 seconds
input plugin tries to append 500KB
At this exact point, the engine will allow to append those 500KB of data into the engine: in total we have 1.2MB. The options works in a permissive mode before to reach the limit, but the limit is exceeded the following actions are taken:
block local buffers for the input plugin (cannot append more data)
notify the input plugin invoking a pause callback
The engine will protect it self and will not append more data coming from the input plugin in question; Note that is the plugin responsibility to keep their state and take some decisions about what to do on that paused state.
After some seconds if the scheduler was able to flush the initial 700KB of data or it gave up after retrying, that amount memory is released and internally the following actions happens:
Upon data buffer release (700KB), the internal counters get updated
Counters now are set at 500KB
Since 500KB is < 1MB it checks the input plugin state
If the plugin is paused, it invokes a resume callback
input plugin can continue appending more data
About pause and resume Callbacks
Each plugin is independent and not all of them implements the pause and resume callbacks. As said, these callbacks are just a notification mechanism for the plugin.
The plugin who implements and keep a good state is the Tail Input plugin. When the pause callback is triggered, it stop their collectors and stop appending data. Upon resume, it re-enable the collectors.