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The MCP is the core of the Archivematica system. It controls the various micro-services in the Archivematica system. Configuration and processing information are held in the database. The user monitors and controls the MCP via the dashboard . The MCP maintains a log of all completed work. To edit basic MCP Configuration, see MCP Basic Configuration.

Microservices are run in chains. On startup, Archivematica checks all the watched directories it is aware of. For each file in those directories, it creates a Job Chain and an associated unit (SIP, DIP or Transfer). The Job Chain runs until completion, which usually puts the Transfer/SIP in another directory, to start another chain.

The MCP uses the gearman. The MCP Clients are relatively "dumb". They are gearman worker implementations, that inform the gearman server what tasks they can perform, and wait for the server to assign them a task.

The Archivematica system relies on client and server having access to the same directory, to process the commands. On a distributed system, this is done through the shared directory.

All files for the MCPServer are found in src/MCPServer/lib/, and all files for the MCPClient are found in src/MCPClient/lib/.

MCP Server

The MCP has watched directories, which are linked to Job Chains. Each Job Chain is designed to carry out a function. The function is broken down into managable pieces, which are called Job Chain Links. Each of these links performs a task.


  • looks at all watched directories in WatchedDirectories
    • table WatchedDirectories, file src/MCPServer/lib/
  • for each file in each directory, create unit (SIP, DIP, Transfer) and job chain
    • functions watchDirectories, createUnitAndJobChainThreaded, createUnitAndJobChain
  • See below for how a job chain works

Tasks Workflow/Job Chains

  • looks up its first link in MicroServiceChains.startingLink and starts it
  • find its task in MicroServiceChainLinks.currentTask
  • continues and looks up what type of task it is in TasksConfigs.taskType, instantiates a LinkTaskManager*.py class based on that and passes class-specific info from TasksConfigs.taskTypePKReference
  • Most LinkTaskManager*.py looks up configuration for task in StandardTasksConfigs using TasksConfigs.taskTypePKReference, replaces all the "%FOO%" parameters, creates the actual task and hands it to Gearman to run
    • Unit (,, and know stuff about the unit, including all possible "%FOO%" parameters that are valid for that unit, and what to replace them with
    • Other LinkTaskManager*.py use TasksConfigs.taskTypePKReference as a foreign key to another table, do not use it at all. See #TaskTypes section and #Database Reference for more information
  • Gearman runs the tasks, and collects the exit code, stdout and stderr, and calls back to LinkTaskManager*.py.taskCompletedCallBackFunction, which calls
  • looks in MicroServiceChainLinksExitCodes for the pairing of MicroServiceChainLink and exitCode, to find nextMicroServiceChainLink
    • If nothing is found, use MicroServiceChainLinks.defaultNextChainLink
  • gets the UUID of the next MicroServiceChainLinks, and starts the next jobChainLink (see above)

Task Types



When a client starts, it connects to the specified gearman server and provides a list of modules they support. When the MCP informs the gearman server of a Task that the client supports and the gearman server assigns the job to the client, the client will process the Job, and return the results to the gearman server, which in turn will return them to the MCP.

Database Reference

Database Schema Diagram

The MCP Modules are configured in the database, with the following schema. (Generated using mysql workbench sudo apt-get install mysql-workbench)

MCP configuration database schema.png


  • Intent: Entry point into chains
  • Knows: Description to display (if the user has to choose it), starting chain link
  • Referenced by: MicroServiceChainChoice, WatchedDirectories,
  • startingLink is foreign key to MicroServiceChainLinks
  • configuration for 'get user choice to proceed with'


  • Intent: The task, when/how to do it, and where to go next. Often referenced
  • Knows: currentTask, default/failed next link
  • Referenced by: Jobs, MicroServiceChainChoice, MicroServiceChainLinks (itself), MicroServiceChainLinksExitCodes, MicroServiceChains, MicroServiceChoiceReplacementDic, SIPs, Transfers
  • currentTask is foreign key to TasksConfigs


  • aka "the weird table"
  • Intent: Starting point to find configs for a link
  • Knows: taskType, taskTypePKReference (aka class specific information), Job description presented to user
  • Referenced by: MicroServiceChainLinks
  • taskType is a foreign key to TaskTypes
  • taskTypePKReference is semantically a foreign key to another table (determined by taskType) (often StandardTasksConfigs)
  • taskType determines what table to look at, taskTypePKReference is semantically foreign key to a row in the specificed table


  • Intent: Define all the ways tasks can be run/generic what they do, eg. run once, run once for each file, give user choices etc
  • Knows: N/A
  • Referenced by: TasksConfigs
  • Each TaskType is associated with a linkTaskManager* class
  • More detail


  • Intent: Show which ChainLink to execute next
  • Knows: chainLink associated with it, an exit code, where to go with that
  • Referenced by: None
  • microServiceChainLink is a foreign key to MicroServiceChainLinks
  • nextMicroServiceChainLink is also a foreign key to MicroServiceChainLinks
  • Usually there's only one exit code defined for a MicroServiceChainLinks (usually completed successfully), but can also be used to branch workflow depending on result (exit code) of a task.



  • Intent: Knows what directories to watch, and what to do when something happens
  • Knows: watched path, what to do, expected type=unit (eg. SIP, DIP, transfer)
  • Referenced by: None
  • chain is a foreign key to MicroServiceChains
  • expectedType is a foreign key to WatchedDirectoriesExpectedTypes


  • Intent: Configuration for taskType 'get user choice to proceed with', selection of a chain to process
  • Knows: Chain Link that the choice comes from, chain to go to if selected
  • Referenced by: None
  • choiceAvailableAtLink is a foreign key to MicroServiceChainLinks
  • chainAvailable is a foreign key to MicroServiceChains
  • configuration for 'get user choice to proceed with' (


  • Intent: Configuration for taskType 'get replacement dic from user choice'
  • Knows: Chain Link that the choice comes from, text to display, and a dict of {replacement_string : code_thing }
  • Referenced by: None
  • choiceAvailableAtLink is a foreign key to MicroServiceChainLinks
  • configuration for 'get replacement dic from user choice' (


  • Intent: Configuration for taskType 'linkTaskManagerSetUnitVariable'
  • Knows: Variable name, value to set for variable (either variableValue or microServiceChainLink)
  • Referenced by: None
  • microServiceChainLink is a foreign key to MicroServiceChainLinks
  • configuration for 'linkTaskManagerSetUnitVariable' (


  • Intent: Configuration for taskType 'linkTaskManagerUnitVariableLinkPull'
  • Knows: Variable name, default MicroServiceChainLink to go to if no variable found
  • Referenced by: None
  • defaultMicroServiceChainLink is a foreign key to MicroServiceChainLinks
  • configuration for 'linkTaskManagerUnitVariableLinkPull' (


  • Intent: Configuration for taskType 'Split Job into many links based on file ID'
  • Knows: Normalization chain to run, folder to run on
  • Referenced by: None
  • execute is a foreign key to MicroServiceChains
  • configuration for 'Split Job into many links based on file ID' (

TasksConfigsAssignMagicLink - Deprecated

  • Intent: Configuration for taskType 'assign magic link'
  • Knows: MicroServiceChainLink to run next time Load Magic Link is called for that unit.
  • Referenced by: None
  • execute is a foreign key to MicroServiceChainLinks
  • configuration for 'assign magic link' ('linkTaskManagerAssignMagicLink'.py)

Old FPR Database Reference

WARNING This is not accurate in Archivematica 1.0 or greater - file identification and normalization rules have been moved to the new FPR schema.


  • Intent: Map a tool and its output to a FileID (file format)
  • Knows: Tool, tool version, tool output, what FileID that corresponds to
  • Referenced By: None
  • fileID is a foreign key to FileIDs


  • Intent: Describe a file format
  • Knows: valid for preservation or access, description, how the file was identified
  • Referenced By: CommandRelationships, FileIDsBySingleID, FilesIdentifiedIDs
  • fileIDType is a foreign key to FileIDTypes


  • Intent: Stores a list of all the ways/tools a file can be identified by
  • Knows: All the ways a file can be identified
  • Referenced By: FileIDs
  • Small, ~13 entries


  • Intent: Mapping between File and File ID
  • Knows: File, FileID
  • Referenced By: None
  • fileUUID is a foreign key to Files
  • fileID is a foreign key to FileIDs


  • Intent: Information about a file
  • Knows: UUID, original and current location, SIP or Transfer UUID, etc
  • Referenced By: FilesIDs, FilesIdentifiedIDs


  • aka "Format Policy Rule"
  • Intent: Map between file ID, command classification and command
  • Knows: fileID, commandClassification, Command, statistics on success/failure
  • Referenced By: None
  • Effectively has a three part primary key - fileID, commandClassification and command
  • fileID is a foreign key to FileIDs
  • commandClassification is a foreign key to CommandClassifications
  • command is a foreign key to Commands


  • Intent: Information about the command
  • Knows: command itself, verification and event detail commands, output location and format
  • Referenced By:
  • commandType is a foreign key to CommandTypes
  • eventDetailCommand and verificationCommand are foreign keys to Commands (itself)


  • Intent: Type of command being run
  • Knows: All possible types of commands
  • Referenced By: CommandRelationships
  • Small, ~3 entries (bashScript, pythonScript, command [line])


  • Intent: Classification (access, preservation etc) of the command being run
  • Knows: All possible classifications
  • Referenced By:
  • Small, ~4 entries - thumbnail, access, preservation, extraction
    • access: 3141bc6f-7f77-4809-9244-116b235e7330
    • preservation: 3d1b570f-f500-4b3c-bbbc-4c58aad05c27
    • thumbnail: 27c2969b-b6a0-441d-888d-85292b692064


  • Intent: Default action for a given classification
  • Knows: command classification, chain link to run
  • Referenced By:
  • forClassification is a foreign key to CommandClassifications
  • MicroserviceChainLink is a foreign key to MicroserviceChainLinks


See Debugging tips Debugging the MCP can be a difficult task. Logs can be large, and are placed in the /tmp/ directory, so they are automatically removed upon reboot.

Parsing Logs

Here are some commands to help parse logs:

grep "DEBUG type=\"archivematicaMCP\"" -v /tmp/archivematicaMCPServer* -h > /tmp/archivematicaOutput.txt 

Removes the periodic debug message prints.

grep "Traceback (most recent call last):" /tmp/archivematicaOutput.txt  -n
grep -i EXCEPTION /tmp/archivematicaMCPServer-* -n

-n will prepend the line number

sed -n '302092,+50'p /tmp/archivematicaMCPServer-*

prints 50 lines from the file, including line number 302092. This is useful to look at sections of the log that have exceptions, which can be found with the command above.

debugging tools

In extreme cases, you can setup your dev enviroment, so you log in as the archivematica user, and use eclipse with pyDev in debug mode, to run the MCP.

what clients are connected

python -c '
import gearman
admin = gearman.admin_client.GearmanAdminClient(host_list=[""])
for client in admin. get_workers():
    if client["client_id"] != "-": #exclude server task connections
        print client["client_id"], client["ip"]

for stat in admin.get_status():
    if stat["running"] != 0 or stat["queued"] != 0:
        print stat

Waching activity

tail /tmp/archivematicaMCP* -f
watch mysql -u root MCP --execute "\"SELECT * FROM Tasks WHERE endTime = 0;\""

Turning on printing all sql queries

sudo nano /usr/lib/archivematica/archivematicaCommon/
edit lines 34 and 73
"printSQL = False" -> printSQL = True
" print printSQL" -> " print sql"

This will cause archivematica to print ALL of it's queries issues to the database.