2.1. Host Types

Before covering the basics of creating different dataservice types, there are some key terms that will be used throughout the setup and installation process that identify different components of the system. these are summarised in Table 2.1, “Key Terminology”.

Table 2.1. Key Terminology

Tungsten Term Traditional Term Description
composite dataservice Multi-Site Cluster A configured Continuent Tungsten service consisting of multiple dataservices, typically at different physical locations.
dataservice Cluster A configured Continuent Tungsten service consisting of dataservers, datasources and connectors.
dataserver Database The database on a host. Datasources include MySQL, PostgreSQL or Oracle.
datasource Host or Node One member of a dataservice and the associated Tungsten components.
staging host - The machine from which Continuent Tungsten is installed and configured. The machine does not need to be the same as any of the existing hosts in the cluster.
staging directory - The directory where the installation files are located and the installer is executed. Further configuration and updates must be performed from this directory.
connector - A connector is a routing service that provides management for connectivity between application services and the underlying dataserver.
Witness host - A witness host is a host that can be contacted using the ping protocol to act as a network check for the other nodes of the cluster. Witness hosts should be on the same network and segment as the other nodes in the dataservice.

2.1.1. Manager Hosts

The manager plays a key role within any dataservice, communicating between the replicator, connector and datasources to understand the current status, and controlling these components to handle failures, maintenance, and service availability.

The primary role of the manager is to monitor each of the services, identify problems, and react to those problems in the most effective way to keep the dataservice active. For example, in the case of a datasource failure, the datasource is temporarily removed from the cluster, the connector is updated to route queries to another available datasource, and the replication is disabled.

These decisions are driven by a rule-based system, which checks current status values, and performs different operations to achieve the correct result and return the dataservice to operational status.

In terms of control and management, the manager is capable of performing backup and restore information, automatically recovering from failure (including re-provisioning from backups), and is also able to individually control the configuration, service startup and shutdown, and overall control of the system.

Within a typical Continuent Tungsten deployment there are multiple managers and these keep in constant contact with each other, and the other services. When a failure occurs, multiple managers are involved in decisions. For example, if a host is no longer visible to one manager, it does not make the decision to disable the service on it's own; only when a majority of managers identify the same result is the decision made. For this reason, there should be an odd number of managers (to prevent deadlock), or managers can be augmented through the use of witness hosts.

One manager is automatically installed for each configured datasource; that is, in a three-node system with a master and two slaves, three managers will be installed.

Checks to determine the availability of hosts are performed by using either the Echo TCP/IP protocol on port 7 (default), or using the system ping protocol to determine whether a host is available. The configuration of the protocol to be used can be made by adjusting the manager properties. For more information, see Section C.2.2.3, “Host Availability Checks”.

2.1.2. Connector (Router) Hosts

Connectors (known as routers within the dataservice) provide a routing mechanism between client applications and the dataservice. The Tungsten Connector component automatically routes database operations to the master or slave, and takes account of the current cluster status as communicated to it by the Tungsten Manager. This functionality solves three primary issues that might normally need to be handled by the client application layer:

  • Datasource role redirection (i.e. master and slave). This includes read/write splitting, and the ability to read data from a slave that is up to date with a corresponding write.

  • Datasource failure (high-availability), including the ability to redirect client requests in the event of a failure or failover. This includes maintenance operations.

  • Dataservice topology changes, for example when expanding the number of datasources within a dataservice

The primary role of the connector is to act as the connection point for applications that can remain open and active, while simultaneously supporting connectivity to the datasources. This allows for changes to the topology and active role of individual datasources without interrupting the client application. Because the operation is through one or more static connectors, the application also does not need to be modified or changed when the number of datasources is expanded or altered.

Depending on the deployment environment and client application requirements, the connector can be installed either on the client application servers, the database servers, or independent hosts. For more information, see Section 6.2, “Clients and Deployment”.

Connectors can also be installed independently on specific hosts. The list of enabled connectors is defined by the --connectors option to tpm. A Continuent Tungsten dataservice can be installed with more connector servers than datasources or managers.

2.1.3. Replicator Hosts

The replicator provides the core replication of information between datasources and, in composite deployment, between dataservices. The replicator operates by extracting data from the 'master' datasource (for example, using the MySQL binary log), and then applies the data to one or more target datasources.

Different deployments use different replicators and configurations, but in a typical Continuent Tungsten deployment a master/slave or multimaster deployment model is used. For Continuent Tungsten deployments there will be one replicator instance installed on each datasource host.

Within the dataservice, the manager controls each replicator service and it able to alter the replicator operation and role, for example by switching between master and slave roles. The replicator also provides information to the manager about the latency of the replication operation, and uses this with the connectors to control client connectivity into the dataservice.

Replication within Continuent Tungsten is supported by Tungsten Replicator™ and this supports a wide range of additional deployment topologies, and heterogeneous deployments including MongoDB, Vertica, and Oracle. Replication to and from a dataservice are supported. For more information on replicating out of an existing dataservice, see:

Replicators are automatically configured according to the datasources and topology specified when the dataservice is created.

2.1.4. Witness Hosts

Continuent Tungsten operates through the rules built into the manager that make decisions about different configuration and status settings for all the services within the cluster. In the event of a communication failure within the system it is vital for the manager, in automatic policy mode, to perform a switch from a failed or unavailable master.

Within the network, the managers communicate with each other, in addition to the connectors and dataservers to determine their availability. The managers compare states and network connectivity. In the event of an issue, managers 'vote' on whether a failover or switch should occur.

The rules are designed to prevent unnecessary switches and failovers. Managers vote, and an odd number of managers helps to ensure that prevent split-brain scenarios when invalid failover decisions have been made.

Two types of witness are supported:

  • Passive Witness — a passive witness is checked by the managers using a network ping to determine if the host is available. The witness host or hosts are used only as check to verify whether a failed host or failed network is the root cause.

  • Active Witness — an active witness is an instance of Tungsten Manager running on a host that is otherwise not part of the dataservice. An active witness has full voting rights within the managers and can therefore make informed decisions about the dataservice state in the event of a failure. Active witnesses can only be a member of one cluster at a time.

All managers are active witnesses, and active witnesses are the recommended solution for deployments where network availability is less certain (i.e. cloud environments), and where you have two-node deployments.

Continuent Tungsten Quorum Requirements

  • There should be at least three managers (including any active witnesses)

  • There should be an odd number of managers and witnesses, to prevent deadlocks.

  • If the dataservice contains only two hosts, at least one active witness must be installed.

  • Dataservices may contain either passive or active witnesses, but not both.

These rules apply for all Continuent Tungsten installations and must be adhered to. Deployment will fail if these conditions are not met.

The rules for witness selection are as follows:

  1. Passive witnesses must be on the same network segment the managers. To prevent issues where a network switch or router failure would cause the managers to falsely identify a network failure, the managers must be able to connect to each other without having to route across networks or network segments.

    Active witnesses can be located beyond or across network segments, but all active witnesses must have clear communication channel to each other, and other managers. Difficulties in contacting other managers and services in the network could cause unwanted failover or shunning of datasources.

For example, consider the following scenario:

  • Master dataserver on hostA, with slave dataservers on hostB and hostC

  • Manager on hostA can see the dataserver on hostA and hostB, but not hostC

  • Manager on hostB can see the dataserver on hostB and hostC, but not hostA

  • Manager on hostC can see the dataserver on hostA, hostB and hostC

  • Manager on hostA, hostB, and hostC can communicate with each other

Figure 2.1. Witness: Active Service

Witness: Active Service

The master will not be automatically switched, given that hostA is still available to two of the managers in the network.

If a second manager identifies hostA has failed:

Figure 2.2. Witness: Inactive Service

Witness: Inactive Service

Passive witnesses can be enabled when using tpm by using the --witnesses option:

shell> ./tools/tpm install alpha --witnesses=hostC,hostD  \

To enable active witnesses, the --enable-active-witnesses=true option must be specified and the hosts that will act as active witnesses must be added to the list of hosts provided to --members. This enables all specified witnesses to be enabled as active witnesses:

shell> ./tools/tpm install alpha --enable-active-witnesses=true \
      --witnesses=hostC \