What is a queue?
Award Force uses a queuing system for tasks like exports, sending notifications and broadcasts, and updating judging panels. Queue services are commonly used for large/scalable applications such as Award Force — by moving certain demanding tasks to a background processing queue, we keep the interface fast so you are able to continue doing other things while processing happens behind the scenes.
We have three different queue priorities (high, medium and low) depending on the type of task. All the queues are auto-scaling, so if they see a lot of activity (e.g. from multiple large programs/activities running concurrently), additional queue servers are started within a couple of minutes.
Exports and downloads use the low priority queue while email notifications use the high priority queue. Most other jobs, like leaderboard recalculations and updates to panels use our medium priority queue. For live judging events, with many entries and many judges, and panels being reorganised "on the fly", this can result in many judging assignments being regenerated/updated. For events like live judging that require more than the standard medium queue we have a VIP queue.
The VIP queue
For live judging there is time pressure to keep things moving quickly and the medium priority queue may not be fast enough to keep up with the changes associated with consecutive judging rounds. The VIP queue has a dedicated server that does the heavy lifting of score set synch allowing those tasks to jump the regular queue.
How much does it cost?
The VIP queue requires a dedicated server and this comes at a cost.