State Backed ensures that there is only ever a single instance of your machien instance running at a given time and guarantees that your instance is always in a consistent state. Processing for a machine instance is coordinated such that there is a single, linearizable history of events and state transitions.
Machine instances will process a single event at a time. Processing will continue until the machine instance "settles" or the 90 second processing timeout elapses. Each event sent by a client or initiated by a reliable timer extends the processing timeout such that the machine instance will continue processing until 90 seconds after the last external event was delivered.
No service that a machine starts or action that it executes as part of a transition will run until the transition has already already been durably written to the datastore. This ensures that you will never see an externaly-visible effect without a corresponding state transition that caused it.
It is possible that a transition is taken that calls for a service or actor to be run but that a timeout or infrastructure error prevents the service or actor from running or completing. If that happens, the next event delivered to the machine will be processed after delivering an error event for each service or actor that should have been run but was not. This ensures consistency.
However, it will never be the case that an action, service or actor runs and
produces some observable effect (e.g. makes a
fetch call, etc.) and no transition
causing the action, service, or actor to run was recorded.
This should match your intuition: if you can see a record of a transition, the effects of the transition happened or failed. The effects may have been attempted and then failed or they may have failed prior to even being attempted.
All timers (e.g.
after transitions or delayed events) are durable and reliable
and execute within a few milliseconds of their intended delivery.
If some error (e.g. a guard or action throwing) prevents the handling of a timer-driven event, it will be retried up to 5 times. After the 5th time, the event will be dropped.