Sidekiq limited capacity worker

It is possible to limit the number of concurrent running jobs for a worker class by using the LimitedCapacity::Worker concern.

The worker must implement three methods:

  • perform_work: The concern implements the usual perform method and calls perform_work if there’s any available capacity.
  • remaining_work_count: Number of jobs that have work to perform.
  • max_running_jobs: Maximum number of jobs allowed to run concurrently.
class MyDummyWorker
  include ApplicationWorker
  include LimitedCapacity::Worker

  def perform_work(*args)

  def remaining_work_count(*args)

  def max_running_jobs

To queue this worker, use MyDummyWorker.perform_with_capacity(*args). The *args passed to this worker are passed to the perform_work method. Due to the way this job throttles and requeues itself, it is expected that you always provide the same *args in every usage. In practice, this type of worker is often not used with arguments and must instead consume a workload stored elsewhere (like in PostgreSQL). This design also means it is unsuitable to take a normal Sidekiq workload with arguments and make it a LimitedCapacity::Worker. Instead, to use this, you might need to re-architect your queue to be stored elsewhere.

A common use case for this kind of worker is one that runs periodically consuming a separate queue of work to be done (like from PostgreSQL). In that case, you need an additional cron worker to start the worker periodically. For example, in the following scheduler:

class ScheduleMyDummyCronWorker
  include ApplicationWorker
  include CronjobQueue

  def perform

How many jobs are running?

It runs max_running_jobs at almost all times.

The cron worker checks the remaining capacity on each execution and it schedules at most max_running_jobs jobs. Those jobs on completion re-enqueue themselves immediately, but not on failure. The cron worker is in charge of replacing those failed jobs.

Handling errors and idempotence

This concern disables Sidekiq retries, logs the errors, and sends the job to the dead queue. This is done to have only one source that produces jobs and because the retry would occupy a slot with a job to perform in the distant future.

We let the cron worker enqueue new jobs, this could be seen as our retry and back off mechanism because the job might fail again if executed immediately. This means that for every failed job, we run at a lower capacity until the cron worker fills the capacity again. If it is important for the worker not to get a backlog, exceptions must be handled in #perform_work and the job should not raise.

The jobs are deduplicated using the :none strategy, but the worker is not marked as idempotent!.


This concern exposes three Prometheus metrics of gauge type with the worker class name as label:

  • limited_capacity_worker_running_jobs
  • limited_capacity_worker_max_running_jobs
  • limited_capacity_worker_remaining_work_count


If limited capacity worker doesn’t fit your architecture, there’s also a concurrency limit attribute that can be used to restrict concurrency of a Sidekiq worker.