Migration Guide 2.5.x to 2.6.x

It is now recommended to use ByteStringByteString.emptyByteString() instead of ByteStringByteString.empty() when using Java because ByteStringByteString.empty() is no longer available as a static method in the artifacts built for Scala 2.13.

Scala 2.11 no longer supported

If you are still using Scala 2.11 then you must upgrade to 2.12 or 2.13

Removed features that were deprecated

akka-camel removed

After being deprecated in 2.5.0, the akka-camel module has been removed in 2.6. As an alternative we recommend Alpakka.

This is of course not a drop-in replacement. If there is community interest we are open to setting up akka-camel as a separate community-maintained repository.

akka-agent removed

After being deprecated in 2.5.0, the akka-agent module has been removed in 2.6. If there is interest it may be moved to a separate, community-maintained repository.

akka-contrib removed

The akka-contrib module was deprecated in 2.5 and has been removed in 2.6. To migrate, take the components you are using from Akka 2.5 and include them in your own project or library under your own package name.

Actor DSL removed

Actor DSL is a rarely used feature and has been deprecated since 2.5.0. Use plain system.actorOf instead of the DSL to create Actors if you have been using it.

Timing operator removed

akka.stream.extra.Timing has been removed. If you need it you can now find it in akka.stream.contrib.Timed from Akka Stream Contrib.

actorFor removed

actorFor has been deprecated since 2.2. Use ActorSelection instead.

Netty UDP removed

Classic remoting over UDP has been deprecated since 2.5.0 and now has been removed. To continue to use UDP configure Artery UDP or migrate to Artery TCP. A full cluster restart is required to change to Artery.

Untyped actor removed

UntypedActor has been depcated since 2.5.0. Use AbstractActor instead.

UntypedPersistentActor removed

Use AbstractPersistentActor instead.

UntypedPersistentActorWithAtLeastOnceDelivery removed

Use AbstractPersistentActorWithAtLeastOnceDeliveryAbstractPersistentActorWithAtLeastOnceDelivery instead.

Various removed methods

  • Logging.getLogger(UntypedActor) Untyped actor has been removed, use AbstractActor instead.
  • LoggingReceive.create(Receive, ActorContext) use AbstractActor.Receive instead.
  • ActorMaterialzierSettings.withAutoFusing disabling fusing is no longer possible.

JavaTestKit removed

The JavaTestKit has been deprecated since 2.5.0. Use akka.testkit.javadsl.TestKit instead.

Deprecated features


akka.actor.TypedActor has been deprecated as of 2.6 in favor of the akka.actor.typed API which should be used instead.

There are several reasons for phasing out the old TypedActor. The primary reason is they use transparent remoting which is not our recommended way of implementing and interacting with actors. Transparent remoting is when you try to make remote method invocations look like local calls. In contrast we believe in location transparency with explicit messaging between actors (same type of messaging for both local and remote actors). They also have limited functionality compared to ordinary actors, and worse performance.

To summarize the fallacy of transparent remoting: * Was used in CORBA, RMI, and DCOM, and all of them failed. Those problems were noted by Waldo et al already in 1994 * Partial failure is a major problem. Remote calls introduce uncertainty whether the function was invoked or not. Typically handled by using timeouts but the client can’t always know the result of the call. * Latency of calls over a network are several order of magnitudes longer than latency of local calls, which can be more than surprising if encoded as an innocent looking local method call. * Remote invocations have much lower throughput due to the need of serializing the data and you can’t just pass huge datasets in the same way.

Therefore explicit message passing is preferred. It looks different from local method calls (actorRef ! messageactorRef.tell(message)) and there is no misconception that sending a message will result in it being processed instantaneously. The goal of location transparency is to unify message passing for both local and remote interactions, versus attempting to make remote interactions look like local method calls.

Warnings about TypedActor have been mentioned in documentation for many years.

Default remoting is now Artery TCP

Artery TCP is now the default remoting implementation. Classic remoting has been deprecated and will be removed in 2.7.0.

Migrating from classic remoting to Artery

Artery has the same functionality as classic remoting and you should normally only have to change the configuration to switch. To switch a full cluster restart is required and any overrides for classic remoting need to be ported to Artery configuration.

Artery defaults to TCP (see selected transport) which is a good start when migrating from classic remoting.

The protocol part in the Akka Address, for example "akka.tcp://[email protected]:2552/user/actorName" has changed from akka.tcp to akka. If you have configured or hardcoded any such addresses you have to change them to "akka://[email protected]:25520/user/actorName". akka is used also when TLS is enabled. One typical place where such address is used is in the seed-nodes configuration.

The default port is 25520 instead of 2552 to avoid connections between Artery and classic remoting due to misconfiguration. You can run Artery on 2552 if you prefer that (e.g. existing firewall rules) and then you have to configure the port with:

akka.remote.artery.canonical.port = 2552

The configuration for Artery is different, so you might have to revisit any custom configuration. See the full reference configuration for Artery and reference configuration for classic remoting.

Configuration that is likely required to be ported:

  • akka.remote.netty.tcp.hostname => akka.remote.artery.canonical.hostname
  • akka.remote.netty.tcp.port=> akka.remote.artery.canonical.port

One thing to be aware of is that rolling update from classic remoting to Artery is not supported since the protocol is completely different. It will require a full cluster shutdown and new startup.

If using SSL then tcp-tls needs to be enabled and setup. See Artery docs for SSL for how to do this.

Migration from 2.5.x Artery to 2.6.x Artery

The following defaults have changed:

  • akka.remote.artery.transport default has changed from aeron-udp to tcp

The following properties have moved. If you don’t adjust these from their defaults no changes are required:

For Aeron-UDP:

  • akka.remote.artery.log-aeron-counters to akka.remote.artery.advanced.aeron.log-aeron-counters
  • akka.remote.artery.advanced.embedded-media-driver to akka.remote.artery.advanced.aeron.embedded-media-driver
  • akka.remote.artery.advanced.aeron-dir to akka.remote.artery.advanced.aeron.aeron-dir
  • akka.remote.artery.advanced.delete-aeron-dir to akka.remote.artery.advanced.aeron.aeron-delete-dir
  • akka.remote.artery.advanced.idle-cpu-level to akka.remote.artery.advanced.aeron.idle-cpu-level
  • akka.remote.artery.advanced.give-up-message-after to akka.remote.artery.advanced.aeron.give-up-message-after
  • akka.remote.artery.advanced.client-liveness-timeout to akka.remote.artery.advanced.aeron.client-liveness-timeout
  • akka.remote.artery.advanced.image-liveless-timeout to akka.remote.artery.advanced.aeron.image-liveness-timeout
  • akka.remote.artery.advanced.driver-timeout to akka.remote.artery.advanced.aeron.driver-timeout

For TCP:

  • akka.remote.artery.advanced.connection-timeout to akka.remote.artery.advanced.tcp.connection-timeout

Remaining with Classic remoting (not recommended)

Classic remoting is deprecated but can be used in 2.6. Explicitly disable Artery by setting property akka.remote.artery.enabled to false. Further, any configuration under akka.remote that is specific to classic remoting needs to be moved to akka.remote.classic. To see which configuration options are specific to classic search for them in: akka-remote/reference.conf

Configuration and behavior changes

The following documents configuration changes and behavior changes where no action is required. In some cases the old behavior can be restored via configuration.


Remoting dependencies have been made optional

Classic remoting depends on Netty and Artery UDP depends on Aeron. These are now both optional dependencies that need to be explicitly added. See classic remoting or artery remoting for instructions.

Remote watch and deployment have been disabled without Cluster use

By default, these remoting features are disabled when not using Akka Cluster:

  • Remote Deployment: falls back to creating a local actor
  • Remote Watch: ignores the watch and unwatch request, and Terminated will not be delivered when the remote actor is stopped or if a remote node crashes

When used with Cluster, all previous behavior is the same except a remote watch of an actor is no longer possible before a node joins a cluster, only after.

To optionally enable them without Cluster, if you understand the consequences, set

akka.remote.use-unsafe-remote-features-without-cluster = on`.

When used without Cluster

  • An initial warning is logged on startup of RemoteActorRefProvider
  • A warning will be logged on remote watch attempts, which you can suppress by setting

    akka.remote.warn-unsafe-watch-without-cluster = off

Schedule periodically with fixed-delay vs. fixed-rate

The Scheduler.schedule method has been deprecated in favor of selecting scheduleWithFixedDelay or scheduleAtFixedRate.

The Scheduler documentation describes the difference between fixed-delay and fixed-rate scheduling. If you are uncertain of which one to use you should pick startTimerWithFixedDelay.

The deprecated schedule method had the same semantics as scheduleAtFixedRate, but since that can result in bursts of scheduled tasks or messages after long garbage collection pauses and in worst case cause undesired load on the system scheduleWithFixedDelay is often preferred.

For the same reason the following methods have also been deprecated:

  • TimerScheduler.startPeriodicTimer, replaced by startTimerWithFixedDelay or startTimerAtFixedRate
  • FSM.setTimer, replaced by startSingleTimer, startTimerWithFixedDelay or startTimerAtFixedRate
  • PersistentFSM.setTimer, replaced by startSingleTimer, startTimerWithFixedDelay or startTimerAtFixedRate

Internal dispatcher introduced

To protect the Akka internals against starvation when user code blocks the default dispatcher (for example by accidental use of blocking APIs from actors) a new internal dispatcher has been added. All of Akka’s internal, non-blocking actors now run on the internal dispatcher by default.

The dispatcher can be configured through akka.actor.internal-dispatcher.

For maximum performance, you might want to use a single shared dispatcher for all non-blocking, asynchronous actors, user actors and Akka internal actors. In that case, can configure the akka.actor.internal-dispatcher with a string value of akka.actor.default-dispatcher. This reinstantiates the behavior from previous Akka versions but also removes the isolation between user and Akka internals. So, use at your own risk!

Several use-dispatcher configuration settings that previously accepted an empty value to fall back to the default dispatcher has now gotten an explicit value of akka.actor.internal-dispatcher and no longer accept an empty string as value. If such an empty value is used in your application.conf the same result is achieved by simply removing that entry completely and having the default apply.

For more details about configuring dispatchers, see the Dispatchers

Default dispatcher size

Previously the factor for the default dispatcher was set a bit high (3.0) to give some extra threads in case of accidental blocking and protect a bit against starving the internal actors. Since the internal actors are now on a separate dispatcher the default dispatcher has been adjusted down to 1.0 which means the number of threads will be one per core, but at least 8 and at most 64. This can be tuned using the individual settings in akka.actor.default-dispatcher.fork-join-executor.

Cluster sharding

waiting-for-state-timeout reduced to 2s

This has been reduced to speed up ShardCoordinator initialization in smaller clusters. The read from ddata is a ReadMajority, for small clusters (< majority-min-cap) every node needs to respond so is more likely to timeout if there are nodes restarting e.g. when there is a rolling re-deploy happening.

Passivate idle entity

The configuration akka.cluster.sharding.passivate-idle-entity-after is now enabled by default. Sharding will passivate entities when they have not received any messages after this duration. To disable passivation you can use configuration:

akka.cluster.sharding.passivate-idle-entity-after = off

It is always disabled if Remembering Entities is enabled.

CoordinatedShutdown is run from ActorSystem.terminate

No migration is needed but it is mentioned here because it is a change in behavior.

When ActorSystem.terminate() is called, CoordinatedShutdown will be run in Akka 2.6.x, which wasn’t the case in 2.5.x. For example, if using Akka Cluster this means that member will attempt to leave the cluster gracefully.

If this is not desired behavior, for example in tests, you can disable this feature with the following configuration and then it will behave as in Akka 2.5.x:

akka.coordinated-shutdown.run-by-actor-system-terminate = off

Akka now uses Fork Join Pool from JDK

Previously, Akka contained a shaded copy of the ForkJoinPool. In benchmarks, we could not find significant benefits of keeping our own copy, so from Akka 2.6 on, the default FJP from the JDK will be used. The Akka FJP copy was removed.

Logging of dead letters

When the number of dead letters have reached configured akka.log-dead-letters value it didn’t log more dead letters in Akka 2.5. In Akka 2.6 the count is reset after configured akka.log-dead-letters-suspend-duration.

akka.log-dead-letters-during-shutdown default configuration changed from on to off.

Cluster failure detection

Default number of nodes that each node is observing for failure detection has increased from 5 to 9. The reason is to have better coverage and unreachability information for downing decisions.

Configuration property:

akka.cluster.monitored-by-nr-of-members = 9


expectNoMessage() without timeout parameter is now using a new configuration property akka.test.expect-no-message-default (short timeout) instead of remainingOrDefault (long timeout).

Source incompatibilities


The materialized value for StreamRefs.sinkRef and StreamRefs.sourceRef is no longer wrapped in Future/CompletionStage. It can be sent as reply to sender() immediately without using the pipe pattern.

StreamRefs was marked as may change.

Akka Typed

Receptionist has moved

The receptionist had a name clash with the default Cluster Client Receptionist at /system/receptionist and will now instead either run under /system/localReceptionist or /system/clusterReceptionist.

The path change means that the receptionist information will not be disseminated between 2.5 and 2.6 nodes during a rolling update from 2.5 to 2.6 if you use Akka Typed. When all old nodes have been shutdown it will work properly again.

Cluster Receptionist using own Distributed Data

In 2.5 the Cluster Receptionist was using the shared Distributed Data extension but that could result in undesired configuration changes if the application was also using that and changed for example the role configuration.

In 2.6 the Cluster Receptionist is using it’s own independent instance of Distributed Data.

This means that the receptionist information will not be disseminated between 2.5 and 2.6 nodes during a rolling update from 2.5 to 2.6 if you use Akka Typed. When all old nodes have been shutdown it will work properly again.

Akka Typed API changes

Akka Typed APIs are still marked as may change and a few changes were made before finalizing the APIs. Compared to Akka 2.5.x the source incompatible changes are:

  • Behaviors.intercept now takes a factory function for the interceptor.
  • Factory method Entity.ofPersistentEntity is renamed to Entity.ofEventSourcedEntity in the Java API for Akka Cluster Sharding Typed.
  • New abstract class EventSourcedEntityWithEnforcedReplies in Java API for Akka Cluster Sharding Typed and corresponding factory method Entity.ofEventSourcedEntityWithEnforcedReplies to ease the creation of EventSourcedBehavior with enforced replies.
  • New method EventSourcedEntity.withEnforcedReplies added to Scala API to ease the creation of EventSourcedBehavior with enforced replies.
  • ActorSystem.scheduler previously gave access to the untyped akka.actor.Scheduler but now returns a typed specific akka.actor.typed.Scheduler. Additionally schedule method has been replaced by scheduleWithFixedDelay and scheduleAtFixedRate. Actors that needs to schedule tasks should prefer Behaviors.withTimers.
  • TimerScheduler.startPeriodicTimer, replaced by startTimerWithFixedDelay or startTimerAtFixedRate
  • Routers.pool now take a factory function rather than a Behavior to protect against accidentally sharing same behavior instance and state across routees.
  • The request parameter in Distributed Data commands was removed, in favor of using ask.
  • Removed Behavior.same, Behavior.unhandled, Behavior.stopped, Behavior.empty, and Behavior.ignore since they were redundant with corresponding scaladsl.Behaviors.xjavadsl.Behaviors.x.
  • ActorContext parameter removed in javadsl.ReceiveBuilder for the functional style in Java. Use Behaviors.setup to retrieve ActorContext, and use an enclosing class to hold initialization parameters and ActorContext.
  • Java EntityRefEntityRef ask timeout now takes a java.time.Duration rather than a TimeoutTimeout

Akka Typed Stream API changes

  • ActorSource.actorRef relying on PartialFunction has been replaced in the Java API with a variant more suitable to be called by Java.
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