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AZMQ is a Python 3 asyncio-native implementation of ZMTP (the protocol behind ZMQ).


None of the existing Python ZMQ implementation currently implements a fully functional asyncio-compatible version that works well on all platforms. This is especially true on Windows for which the few existing implementations are seriously limited in performance or functionality, and some require the use of a specific event-loop, which prevents using the default, standard ones.

AZMQ's goal is to lift those restrictions and to work the same on all platforms that Python 3.5 supports by providing a pure asyncio-native implementation. Windows is no second-class citizen when it comes to AZMQ.


Here is a short example of AZMQ's usage:

import asyncio
import sys

from azmq import (

async def run():
    async with Context() as context:
        req = context.socket(REQ)
        rep = context.socket(REP)


        await req.send_multipart([b'hello'])
        msg = await rep.recv_multipart()
        assert msg == [b'hello']
        await rep.send_multipart([b'world'])
        msg = await req.recv_multipart()
        assert msg == [b'world']

if __name__ == '__main__':
    if sys.platform == 'win32':
        loop = asyncio.ProactorEventLoop()
        loop = asyncio.SelectorEventLoop()




AZMQ implements the following things:

  • All socket types:

    • REQ
    • REP
    • DEALER
    • ROUTER
    • PUB
    • XPUB
    • SUB
    • XSUB
    • PUSH
    • PULL
    • PAIR
  • Those transports:

    • TCP client
    • TCP server
    • Inproc
    • IPC sockets (UNIX sockets and named pipes)
  • Those mechanisms:

    • NULL
    • PLAIN
    • CURVE
    • ZAP

It is worth noting that, for once, IPC sockets are implemented on all platforms, including Windows. This is done through named pipes and is very convenient for portability.

Both TCP and IPC transports (on UNIX) are compatible with the legacy zmq implementation.

Please refer to the documentation for details.

Current state and goals

The API tries to be close to the one of pyzmq, but not too close. Here is an non-exhaustive list of some differences in the APIs:

  • AZMQ methods never take a timeout parameter. In the asyncio world, you just use asyncio.wait_for() for that purpose. All asynchronous methods are cancellable at anytime.
  • There is no Poller class. The asyncio event-loop already gives you everything you need in terms of "polling" several ZMQ sockets at the same time. Actually, it's better because you are not limited to ZMQ sockets.


AZMQ's first release has been tested on all major platforms and benchmarked, following the recommendations at

Performance tests show that AZMQ is (unsurprisingly) slower than pyzmq for this specific benchmark. It's hard to compete with a very-well optimized C implementation, especially when it comes to networking. Also, and very importantly, AZMQ is by design single-threaded (asyncio) while pyzmq can use threads to parallelize work, thus furthering even more the difference.

AZMQ is capable of sending thousands of messages/second while it's C counterpart can do much, much more. The main bottleneck seems to be the event-loop overhead, as the same throughput is computed for various transports (TCP/localhost, IPC, TCP/LAN, ...) and this throughput varies mainly from one computer to another.

That being said, not every application requires top-notch performance and the ability to send millions of messages/second. As the bottleneck is the event-loop/CPU, you can always scale-up by starting multiple processes (is there any other effective way to scale-up in Python anyway ?).

In the worst case where you actually need that kind of performance in some parts of your system, ZMQ high-interoperability makes it easy to use any ZMQ implementation that suits your needs. You can then use AZMQ and its friendly user-interface everywhere else you want to: it'll just work nicely.

If you want to replicate, analyse the benchmark results, you may find the code and instructions in the benchmark folder.


Just do:

pip install azmq

This will install AZMQ without CURVE support.

If you want CURVE support, you may install one of the two variants:

pip install azmq[csodium]


pip install azmq[pysodium]

To enable curve support. The former is preferred as it comes with an embedded, ready-to-use libsodium library.

Alternatively, libsodium support will be automatically enabled if you install one of csodium or pysodium in the virtual environment.


An asyncio-native implementation of ZMTP.







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