Pause and resume flows

This state machine feature enables you to pause RUNNING flows and flows UNDER OBSERVATION (by the Flow Hospital) without needing to restart the node.

It also allows you to resume (retry) a PAUSED flow or a flow UNDER OBSERVATION.

This gives you more control of the flows running on a node - you can:

  • PAUSE an individual problematic flow, causing the flow to stop until you retry that flow.
  • Stops any other running flows causing downtime.

How to pause and resume flows

You can pause and retry a flow via both the nodes shell and an extensions RPC API.

Pausing and retrying flows from the shell

The following examples show the different ways to use the flow pause and flow retry commands.

To pause a flow with a universally unique identifier F420002B-BA1A-46D1-8C9F-A71AC659924E:

flow pause F420002B-BA1A-46D1-8C9F-A71AC659924E

To pause all flows which are RUNNING or HOSPITALIZED:

flow pauseAll

To pause all HOSPITALIZED flows:

flow pauseAllHospitalized

To retry a flow with a universally unique identifier F420002B-BA1A-46D1-8C9F-A71AC659924E:

flow retry F420002B-BA1A-46D1-8C9F-A71AC659924E

To retry all paused flows:

flow retryAllPaused

To retry all hospitalized flows that are paused:

flow retryAllPausedHospitalized

In all cases, the shell prints a message stating if the operation succeeded or not.

Pausing and retrying flows from RPC

To pause and retry flows from an RPC Client using the extensions RPC Interface (FlowRPC), use the Multi RPC Client - MultiRPCClient.

First instantiate a MultiRPCClient for FlowRPC (this differs from the standard non-extensions RPC interface):

val username = "testuser"
val password = "password"
val rpcHostAndPort = NetworkHostAndPort("localhost", 10006)
val flowClient = MultiRPCClient(rpcHostAndPort,, username, password).start().getOrThrow()

To pause a flow, call pauseFlow:

val status = flowClient.proxy.pauseFlow(

To pause all flows, call pauseAllFlows:

val status = flowClient.proxy.pauseAllFlows()

To pause all hospitalised flows, call pauseAllHospitalizedFlows:

val status = flowClient.proxy.pauseAllHospitalizedFlows()

To retry a flow, call retryFlow:

val status = flowClient.proxy.retryFlow(

To retry all paused flows call retryAllPausedFlows:

val status = flowClient.proxy.retryAllPausedFlows()

To retry all hospitalized flows that are paused call retryAllPausedHospitalized:

val status = flowClient.proxy.retryAllPausedHospitalized()

All these methods will return true if the operation was successful, or false otherwise.

To prevent server-side resource leakage, use flowClient.close() to close flowClient when finished.

Starting the node and pausing all flows

All flows can be paused when the node starts up - you can enable this in one of the following ways:

These flows can then be individually retried via RPC or the node shell.

This option also enables flow draining mode, which stops flows from being started via RPC, the shell, and counterparties.

You can turn flow draining mode off via RPC using the setFlowsDrainingModeEnabled RPC method.

How to disable flow draining via the shell:

run setFlowsDrainingModeEnabled enabled: false

This feature can be useful if the node causes the machine to run out of memory (for example by trying to run too many flows). If this happens then users can restart the node and manually retry a few flows at a time.

Once the problem is resolved, flow draining mode can be disabled, allowing the node to continue running as normal.

Starting a node with the --pause-all-flows command-line option automatically enables flow draining mode but does not modify the node’s configuration file.

How it works

Pausing a flow causes the flow to stop running (this might be after the next suspension). The flow can then be retried - this reloads the flow from the last checkpoint (in the same way as at node startup).

When a flow is PAUSED, a PAUSE event is added to the end of the flows event queue.

  • If the flow is currently suspended, then once the flow processes all the events up to and including the PAUSE event, the fiber running the flow will abort.
  • If the flow is not suspended, the flow will run until the next suspension point before the fiber running the flow aborts.

In both cases the shell and RPC commands return once the PAUSE event has been added to the flows event queue (this might be before the fiber aborts).

Retrying a UNDER OBSERVATION or PAUSED flow causes the state machine to restore the last checkpoint and run from that point on a new fiber. If a session has been initiated between a PAUSED flow and a counterparty flow, then messages sent to the PAUSED flow will be stored and processed if the flow is retried.

Touch points with other Corda Enterprise features

If a flow that is currently PAUSED is killed, then that flow will still be killed in the normal way (including propagating exceptions to counterparties).

PAUSED flows cannot have a status of HOSPITALIZED as they share the same database column. You can make the distinction between flows with these statuses by checking if there is an exception in node_flow_exceptions. If there is one, in the normal bounds of a flow’s lifecycle, then that flow must have previously been HOSPITALIZED before being PAUSED. This information is used to set an in-memory flag so that this information is available when attempting to un-pause a flow.