Getting Started

Sagas Not Found

Component: NServiceBus
NuGet Package: NServiceBus (9-pre)
This page targets a pre-release version. Pre-releases are subject to change and samples are not guaranteed to be fully functional.

The messages which are handled by sagas can either start a new saga (if handled by IAmStartedByMessages<T>) or update an existing saga (if handled by IHandleMessages<T>). If the incoming message in meant to be handled by a saga but is not expected to start a new one, then NServiceBus uses correlation rules to find an existing saga. If no existing saga can be found, all implementations of IHandleSagaNotFound are executed. If no implementation can be found, the message is discarded without additional notification.

public class SagaNotFoundHandler :
    public Task Handle(object message, IMessageProcessingContext context)
        var sagaDisappearedMessage = new SagaDisappearedMessage();
        return context.Reply(sagaDisappearedMessage);

public class SagaDisappearedMessage

Note that in the example above the message will be considered successfully processed and sent to the audit queue even if no saga was found. Throw an exception from the IHandleSagaNotFound implementation to move the message to the error queue.

If there are multiple saga types that handle a given message type and one of them is found while others are not, the IHandleSagaNotFound handlers will not be executed. The IHandleSagaNotFound handlers are executed only if no saga instances are invoked. The following table illustrates when the IHandleSagaNotFound handlers are invoked in cases when a message is mapped to two different saga types, A and B.
Saga A foundSaga B foundNot found handler invoked
In NServiceBus Versions 6 and above, and all integrations that target those versions, all extension points that return Task cannot return a null Task. These APIs must return an instance of a Task, i.e. a pending Task or a CompletedTask, or be marked async. For extension points that return a Task<T>, return the value directly (for async methods) or wrap the value in a Task.FromResult(value).

The ability to provide an implementation for IHandleSagaNotFound is especially useful if compensating actions are needed for messages which arrive after the saga has been marked as complete. This is a common scenario when using timeouts inside the saga.

For example, consider a saga that is used for managing the registration process on the website. After a customer registers, they receive an email with a confirmation link. The system will wait for confirmation for a specific period of time, e.g. 24 hours. If the user doesn't click the link within 24 hours, their data is removed from the system and saga is completed. However, they might decide to click the confirmation link a few days later. In this case, the related saga instance can't be found and an exception will be thrown. By implementing IHandleSagaNotFound it is possible to handle the situation differently, e.g. redirect the user to the registration website and ask them to fill out the form again.

The implementation of IHandleSagaNotFound should be driven by the business requirements for a specific situation. In some cases the message might be ignored; in others, it might be useful to track whenever that situation happens (e.g. by logging or sending another message). In still other cases, it might make sense to perform a custom compensating action.


Saga not found exceptions can occur when:

  1. The saga instance does not exist (yet)
  2. The saga instance has already been removed

It's not always obvious when saga state does or does not exist. Most often the cause is due to race conditions.

Plan for delivery of messages in a different order than they were sent, and for messages to be processed more than once. These situations can occur regularly in a distributed system.

Out-of-order message processing

An example of out-of-order message processing is when the design assumes message A will create the saga and message B updates the saga. If message B is received and processed before message A, the saga doesn't exist yet, and the message will be discarded.


  • Sagas are expected to exist but inspecting the storage shows that the saga data does not exist.


  • Use IAmStartedBy<> instead of IHandleMessages<> for any message type which can originate from outside of the saga. No matter in which order messages are delivered, any message type processed first must create the saga instance.
  • Each message handler that can start the saga might need logic to check the saga state and see if it is time to take the following action.
  • Messages resulting from a saga handler do not need to be mapped using IAmStartedBy<>. I.e., a reply to a request made by a saga instance does not need to create a new instance.


Messages might be processed concurrently which can result in out-of-order processing.


  • Scatter/gather sagas behave unexpectedly and show saga not found exceptions.


  • Reduce processing concurrency to 1 to achieve sequential processing. This works only when a single endpoint instance is active.
  • Use pessimistic locking on the saga persister. This works only if the configured storage persister supports pessimistic locking.


A saga that, at creation, immediately sends one or more request messages and is already receiving response messages while the handler is still running will result in non-correlated response messages. The initialization handler is still running, and the saga state has not persisted yet.

This can happen when:

  • Using immediate dispatch
  • Another IMessageSession is used instead of the IMessageHandlerContext instance or using an alternative protocol


  • Do not deliver messages using immediate dispatch if those messages might be processed by the same saga instance. Always use the provided IMessageHandlerContext instance to dispatch messages.

More-than-once processing

A message can be processed more than once when it was physically sent multiple times. The same might occur because the transport consistency is "at-least-once," resulting in the same message being consumed more than once. More-than-once processing on a handler that completes the saga will now result in a saga not found for every duplicate.


Already completed

A saga not found exception will occur if messages are dispatched after the saga is marked as complete.


  • Use a logical complete state. E.g., do not invoke MarkAsComplete, instead use a bool property in the saga state to keep track of the logical deletion
  • Use saga timeouts to postpone physically removing the saga state and invoke MarkAsComplete at a later time.
  • Do not send messages and invoke MarkAsComplete. Send an additional message to the same saga instance (send local) that will invoke MarkAsComplete.


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