Channels are custom resources that define a single event-forwarding and persistence layer. After events have been sent to a channel from an event source or producer, these events can be sent to multiple Knative services or other sinks by using a subscription.

Channel workflow overview

You can create channels by instantiating a supported Channel object, and configure re-delivery attempts by modifying the delivery spec in a Subscription object.

After you create a Channel object, a mutating admission webhook adds a set of spec.channelTemplate properties for the Channel object based on the default channel implementation. For example, for an InMemoryChannel default implementation, the Channel object looks as follows:

apiVersion: messaging.knative.dev/v1
kind: Channel
  name: example-channel
  namespace: default
    apiVersion: messaging.knative.dev/v1
    kind: InMemoryChannel

The channel controller then creates the backing channel instance based on the spec.channelTemplate configuration.

The spec.channelTemplate properties cannot be changed after creation, because they are set by the default channel mechanism rather than by the user.

When this mechanism is used with the preceding example, two objects are created: a generic backing channel and an InMemoryChannel channel. If you are using a different default channel implementation, the InMemoryChannel is replaced with one that is specific to your implementation. For example, with Knative Kafka, the KafkaChannel channel is created.

The backing channel acts as a proxy that copies its subscriptions to the user-created channel object, and sets the user-created channel object status to reflect the status of the backing channel.

Channel implementation types

InMemoryChannel and KafkaChannel channel implementations can be used with OpenShift Serverless for development use.

The following are limitations of InMemoryChannel type channels:

  • No event persistence is available. If a pod goes down, events on that pod are lost.

  • InMemoryChannel channels do not implement event ordering, so two events that are received in the channel at the same time can be delivered to a subscriber in any order.

  • If a subscriber rejects an event, there are no re-delivery attempts by default. You can configure re-delivery attempts by modifying the delivery spec in the Subscription object.