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Re: [Linux-cluster] Workings of Tiebreaker IP (RHCS)

On Tue, 2005-08-23 at 12:21 +0200, Veer, Rob ter wrote:
> Hello,
> To completely understand what the role of a tiebreaker IP within a two
> or four node RHCS cluster is, I've searched redhat and Google. I can't
> however find anything describing the precise workings of the
> tiebreaker-IP. I would really like to know what happens excactly when
> the tiebreaker is used an how (maybe even somekind of flow diagram). 
> Can anyone here maybe explain that to me, or point me in the direction
> of more specific information regarding tiebreaker?

The tiebreaker IP address is used as an additional vote in the event
that half the nodes become unreachable or dead in a 2 or 4 node cluster
on RHCS.

The IP address must reside on the same network as is used for cluster
communication.  To be a little more specific, if your cluster is using
eth0 for communication, your IP address used for a tiebreaker must be
reachable only via eth0 (otherwise, you will end up with a split brain).

When enabled, the nodes ping the given IP address at regular intervals.
When the IP address is not reachable, the tiebreaker is considered
"dead".  When it is reachable, it is considered "alive".

It acts as an additional vote (like an extra cluster member), except for
one key difference: Unless the default configuration is overridden, the
IP tiebreaker may not be used to *form* a quorum where one did not exist

So, if one node of a two node cluster is online, it will never become
quorate unless the other node comes online (or administrator override,
see man pages for "cluforce" and "cludb").

So, in a 2 node cluster, if one node fails and the other node is online
(and the tiebreaker is still "alive" according to that node), the
remaining node considers itself quorate and "shoots" (aka STONITHs, aka
fences) the dead node and takes over services.

If a network partition occurs such that both nodes see the tiebreaker
but not each other, the first one to fence the other will naturally win.

Ok, moving on...

The disk tiebreaker works in a similar way, except that it lets the
cluster limp in along in a safe, semi-split-brain (split brain) in a
network outage.  What I mean is that because there's state information
written to/read from the shared raw partitions, the nodes can actually
tell via other means whether or not the other node is "alive" or not as
opposed to relying solely on the network traffic.

Both nodes update state information on the shared partitions.  When one
node detects that the other node has not updated its information for a
period of time, that node is "down" according to the disk subsystem.  If
this coincides with a "down" status from the membership daemon, the node
is fenced and services are failed over.  If the node never goes down
(and keeps updating its information on the shared partitions), then the
node is never fenced and services never fail over.

-- Lon

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