by fabfuel

Python "Circuit Breaker" implementation

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This is a Python implementation of the "Circuit Breaker" Pattern ( Inspired by Michael T. Nygard's highly recommendable book Release It! (


The project is available on PyPI. Simply run::

$ pip install circuitbreaker


This is the simplest example. Just decorate a function with the

from circuitbreaker import circuit

@circuit def external_call(): ...

This decorator sets up a circuit breaker with the default settings. The circuit breaker:

  • monitors the function execution and counts failures
  • resets the failure count after every successful execution (while it is closed)
  • opens and prevents further executions after 5 subsequent failures
  • switches to half-open and allows one test-execution after 30 seconds recovery timeout
  • closes if the test-execution succeeded
  • considers all raised exceptions (based on class
    ) as an expected failure
  • is named "external_call" - the name of the function it decorates

What does failure mean?

A failure is a raised exception, which was not caught during the function call. By default, the circuit breaker listens for all exceptions based on the class

. That means, that all exceptions raised during the function call are considered as an "expected failure" and will increase the failure count.

Get specific about the expected failure

It is important, to be as specific as possible, when defining the expected exception. The main purpose of a circuit breaker is to protect your distributed system from a cascading failure. That means, you probably want to open the circuit breaker only, if the integration point on the other end is unavailable. So e.g. if there is an

or a request

If you are e.g. using the requests library ( for making HTTP calls, its

class would be a great choice for the

All recognized exceptions will be re-raised anyway, but the goal is, to let the circuit breaker only recognize those exceptions which are related to the communication to your integration point.

When it comes to monitoring (see Monitoring_), it may lead to falsy conclusions, if a circuit breaker opened, due to a local

, etc.


The following configuration options can be adjusted via decorator parameters. For example::

from circuitbreaker import circuit

@circuit(failure_threshold=10, expected_exception=ConnectionError) def external_call(): ...

failure threshold

By default, the circuit breaker opens after 5 subsequent failures. You can adjust this value with the


recovery timeout

By default, the circuit breaker stays open for 30 seconds to allow the integration point to recover. You can adjust this value with the


expected exception

By default, the circuit breaker listens for all exceptions which are based on the

class. You can adjust this with the
parameter. It can be either an exception class or a tuple of exception classes.


By default, the circuit breaker name is the name of the function it decorates. You can adjust the name with parameter


Advanced Usage

If you apply circuit breakers to a couple of functions and you always set specific options other than the default values, you can extend the

class and create your own circuit breaker subclass instead::
from circuitbreaker import CircuitBreaker

class MyCircuitBreaker(CircuitBreaker): FAILURE_THRESHOLD = 10 RECOVERY_TIMEOUT = 60 EXPECTED_EXCEPTION = RequestException

Now you have two options to apply your circuit breaker to a function. As an Object directly::

def external_call():

Please note, that the circuit breaker class has to be initialized, you have to use a class instance as decorator (

), not the class itself (

Or via the decorator proxy::

def external_call():

.. _Monitoring:


To keep track of the health of your application and the state of your circuit breakers, every circuit breaker registers itself at the

. You can receive all registered circuit breakers via

To get an aggregated health status, you can ask the Monitor via

. Or you can retrieve the currently open circuits via
and the closed circuits via


  • add unit tests

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