Stretch Clusters

Stretch Clusters

Ceph generally expects all parts of its network and overall cluster to be equally reliable, with failures randomly distributed across the CRUSH map. So you may lose a switch that knocks out a number of OSDs, but we expect the remaining OSDs and monitors to route around that.

This is usually a good choice, but may not work well in some stretched cluster configurations where a significant part of your cluster is stuck behind a single network component. For instance, a single cluster which is located in multiple data centers, and you want to sustain the loss of a full DC.

There are two standard configurations we've seen deployed, with either two or three data centers (or, in clouds, availability zones). With two zones, we expect each site to hold a copy of the data, and for a third site to have a tiebreaker monitor (this can be a VM or high-latency compared to the main sites) to pick a winner if the network connection fails and both DCs remain alive. For three sites, we expect a copy of the data and an equal number of monitors in each site.

Note that the standard Ceph configuration will survive MANY failures of the network or data centers and it will never compromise data consistency. If you bring back enough Ceph servers following a failure, it will recover. If you lose a data center, but can still form a quorum of monitors and have all the data available (with enough copies to satisfy pools' min_size, or CRUSH rules that will re-replicate to meet it), Ceph will maintain availability.

What can't it handle?

Stretch Cluster Issues

No matter what happens, Ceph will not compromise on data integrity and consistency. If there's a failure in your network or a loss of nodes and you can restore service, Ceph will return to normal functionality on its own.

But there are scenarios where you lose data availability despite having enough servers available to satisfy Ceph's consistency and sizing constraints, or where you may be surprised to not satisfy Ceph's constraints. The first important category of these failures resolve around inconsistent networks -- if there's a netsplit, Ceph may be unable to mark OSDs down and kick them out of the acting PG sets despite the primary being unable to replicate data. If this happens, IO will not be permitted, because Ceph can't satisfy its durability guarantees.

The second important category of failures is when you think you have data replicated across data centers, but the constraints aren't sufficient to guarantee this. For instance, you might have data centers A and B, and your CRUSH rule targets 3 copies and places a copy in each data center with a min_size of 2. The PG may go active with 2 copies in site A and no copies in site B, which means that if you then lose site A you have lost data and Ceph can't operate on it. This situation is surprisingly difficult to avoid with standard CRUSH rules.

Stretch Mode

The new stretch mode is designed to handle the 2-site case. Three sites are just as susceptible to netsplit issues, but are much more tolerant of component availability outages than 2-site clusters are.

To enter stretch mode, you must set the location of each monitor, matching your CRUSH map. For instance, to place mon.a in your first data center

$ ceph mon set_location a datacenter=site1

Next, generate a CRUSH rule which will place 2 copies in each data center. This will require editing the CRUSH map directly:

$ ceph osd getcrushmap >
$ crushtool -d -o

Now edit the file to add a new rule. Here there is only one other rule, so this is ID 1, but you may need to use a different rule ID. We also have two datacenter buckets named site1 and site2:

rule stretch_rule {
        id 1
        type replicated
        min_size 1
        max_size 10
        step take site1
        step chooseleaf firstn 2 type host
        step emit
        step take site2
        step chooseleaf firstn 2 type host
        step emit

Finally, inject the CRUSH map to make the rule available to the cluster:

$ crushtool -c -o
$ ceph osd setcrushmap -i

If you aren't already running your monitors in connectivity mode, do so with the instructions in Changing Monitor Elections.

And lastly, tell the cluster to enter stretch mode. Here, mon.e is the tiebreaker and we are splitting across data centers. mon.e should be also set a datacenter, that will differ from site1 and site2. For this purpose you can create another datacenter bucket named `site3 in your CRUSH and place mon.e there

$ ceph mon set_location e datacenter=site3
$ ceph mon enable_stretch_mode e stretch_rule datacenter

When stretch mode is enabled, the OSDs will only take PGs active when they peer across data centers (or whatever other CRUSH bucket type you specified), assuming both are alive. Pools will increase in size from the default 3 to 4, expecting 2 copies in each site. OSDs will only be allowed to connect to monitors in the same data center. New monitors will not be allowed to join the cluster if they do not specify a location.

If all the OSDs and monitors from a data center become inaccessible at once, the surviving data center will enter a degraded stretch mode. This will issue a warning, reduce the min_size to 1, and allow the cluster to go active with data in the single remaining site. Note that we do not change the pool size, so you will also get warnings that the pools are too small -- but a special stretch mode flag will prevent the OSDs from creating extra copies in the remaining data center (so it will only keep 2 copies, as before).

When the missing data center comes back, the cluster will enter recovery stretch mode. This changes the warning and allows peering, but still only requires OSDs from the data center which was up the whole time. When all PGs are in a known state, and are neither degraded nor incomplete, the cluster transitions back to regular stretch mode, ends the warning, restores min_size to its starting value (2) and requires both sites to peer, and stops requiring the always-alive site when peering (so that you can fail over to the other site, if necessary).

Stretch Mode Limitations

As implied by the setup, stretch mode only handles 2 sites with OSDs.

While it is not enforced, you should run 2 monitors in each site plus a tiebreaker, for a total of 5. This is because OSDs can only connect to monitors in their own site when in stretch mode.

You cannot use erasure coded pools with stretch mode. If you try, it will refuse, and it will not allow you to create EC pools once in stretch mode.

You must create your own CRUSH rule which provides 2 copies in each site, and you must use 4 total copies with 2 in each site. If you have existing pools with non-default size/min_size, Ceph will object when you attempt to enable stretch mode.

Because it runs with min_size 1 when degraded, you should only use stretch mode with all-flash OSDs. This minimizes the time needed to recover once connectivity is restored, and thus minimizes the potential for data loss.

Hopefully, future development will extend this feature to support EC pools and running with more than 2 full sites.

Other commands

If your tiebreaker monitor fails for some reason, you can replace it. Turn on a new monitor and run

$ ceph mon set_new_tiebreaker mon.<new_mon_name>

This command will protest if the new monitor is in the same location as existing non-tiebreaker monitors. This command WILL NOT remove the previous tiebreaker monitor; you should do so yourself.

If you are writing your own tooling for deploying Ceph, you can use a new --set-crush-location option when booting monitors, instead of running ceph mon set_location. This option accepts only a single "bucket=loc" pair, eg ceph-mon --set-crush-location 'datacenter=a', which must match the bucket type you specified when running enable_stretch_mode.

When in stretch degraded mode, the cluster will go into "recovery" mode automatically when the disconnected data center comes back. If that doesn't work, or you want to enable recovery mode early, you can invoke

$ ceph osd force_recovery_stretch_mode --yes-i-really-mean-it

But this command should not be necessary; it is included to deal with unanticipated situations.

When in recovery mode, the cluster should go back into normal stretch mode when the PGs are healthy. If this doesn't happen, or you want to force the cross-data-center peering early and are willing to risk data downtime (or have verified separately that all the PGs can peer, even if they aren't fully recovered), you can invoke

$ ceph osd force_healthy_stretch_mode --yes-i-really-mean-it

This command should not be necessary; it is included to deal with unanticipated situations. But you might wish to invoke it to remove the HEALTH_WARN state which recovery mode generates.