MySQL High Availability


  • Baron Schwartz aka Xaprb dislikes MMM as HA tool
  • Traditional setup: master-slave replication
  • At a specified interval – the heartbeat – the clustering solution will see if your MySQL instance is still running. The default heartbeat is often something like 10 seconds and minimum granularity tends to be one second. Problem: What happens between these seconds the clustering solution is completely unaware of. If you have 5000 trx/sec, you could have fifty-thousand failures before an attempt to fix the error is made.
  • The clustering solution takes small peeks into MySQL from the outside, but other than that MySQL remains a black box. Problem: Say that there are network errors. This causes your transactions to fail, and it also causes replication to fail. So which one failed first? If transactions started failing first, and replication was still working until the end, then you are fine and you can fail over to the other node. But if replication failed first, then you will lose data if you fail over, because not everything was replicated. Your clustering software has no idea, it wasn’t looking when the error happened.
  • Typically the clustering software itself will have some communication going on, which has the benefit that it verifies that the network connection between nodes is ok. This is in itself useful, sure. Problem: But just like above, if the clustering software detects that network has failed, it’s still mostly unaware of the state of MySQL. The failover decision is done blindly.
  • In a typical setup like above, the clustering software is actually just checking whether there is a network connection between the two MySQL nodes. If yes, that makes it happy. Problem: Nobody is really checking whether the application servers can really connect to those MySQL nodes! This is one of the most classic errors to make in software programming: when testing for error conditions, you are not testing the thing you actually want to know the answer to, but testing something else. Kind of like the guy in the joke who was searching for his keys under the lamp where there was light, not where he actually lost the keys.

Henrik Ingo’s favored solution: Galera (synchronous multi-master replication)

  • Thanks to synchronous replication and Galera’s quorum mechanism, no commits are lost anywhere. When the failure happens, it will be detected as part of the replication process. The Galera nodes themselves figure out which node is thrown out of the cluster, and the remaining ones – who “have quorum” – proceed to commit the transaction. Application nodes that connected to the failing node will of course receive errors as their commits fail.
  • There is no need for maintaining master-slave state, virtual ip or to do any failover. The application can connect to any of the Galera nodes and if the transaction succeeds, then it succeeds. If it fails, retry with another node.
  • As a side comment: since the replication is synchronous there is no slave lag as you are familiar from MySQL replication, which can also cause you to lose data. This is not a weakness of clustering frameworks, but a strength of Galera compared to classic MySQL replication that most people out there still are using.

Caveat: This works if you use JDBC (see Oracle blog example)

So in short, when using a Galera cluster, you should use mysql:loadbalance: in front of your JDBC connection string. This allows you to then give a list of MySQL nodes, which are all writeable masters. The JDBC driver will connect to any one of them and commit the transaction. If a node is not available, it will just try another one. (If a transaction was already in progress, it will fail with an exception, you can then retry it and it will just connect to a new node.)

Related links:

MySQL Master HA (MHA) tool – by Yoshinori Matsunobu

SkySQL commercial support for MHA

Three Database Clustering Users – by Josh Berkus



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