Skip to main content

Controlling resource usage with Barriers, Resource Constraints, and Queue steps

Harness has a number of ways to control deployments and resource usage to protect resources and their capacity limits. This topic describes their differences and provides best practices.

Control Option Definitions

The following options help you control how deployments use your resources.


Barriers synchronize stages/step groups of a pipeline that are executed in parallel. Barriers ensure that one stage/step group does not proceed until another stage/step group has reached a specific point.

See Synchronize parallel stages and step groups using Barriers.

Barriers scope

Barriers are scoped to the Pipeline.

You can only use the same Barrier within the same pipeline. If you add a Barrier Name from one pipeline into the Barrier step in another pipeline, it will not work.

Resource Constraints

Resource Constraints protect resource capacity limits by preventing simultaneous deployments to the same service + infrastructure combination. The service + infrastructure combination acts as a fixed key.

Resource Constraints are added to every Stage by default, but it can be disabled in a stage's Infrastructure settings by enabling the Allow simultaneous deployments on the same infrastructure option.

For more information, go to pipeline Resource Constraints.

The automatic Resource Constraints setting does not apply to Custom stages. Resource Constraints apply to a combination of service + infrastructure, and Custom stages have no services or infrastructures. You can use Barriers and Queue steps in any stage types.

Queue steps

Queue steps synchronize pipeline executions, queuing pipelines using a custom key.

Multiple deployments are queued so that one deployment completes before other deployments with the same key can proceed.

For more information, go to control resource usage with Queue steps.

Queue step scope

Queue step are scoped to your entire Harness account.

If there are Queue steps with the same resource key in pipelines in projects A and B and the pipeline in project A is running, the pipeline in project B will be queued until the pipeline in project A is completed.

Best practices

Here are some best practices to help you decide which resource control option to use:

  • Barriers: use when you want to coordinate the timing of different components’ deployments with stages/step groups executed in parallel in the same pipeline.
    For example, your pipeline executes stages A and B in parallel, but you want a database migration in Stage A to complete before a deployment in stage B. You place a Barrier step after the migration in stage A and before the deployment step in stage B.
  • Resource Constraints: use when you want to prevent simultaneous deployments to the same service + infrastructure combination. This feature is enabled by default.
  • Queue steps: use when you want to control the sequence of multiple pipeline executions. This can be used on different pipelines or even multiple executions of the same pipeline.