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From Nick Vatamaniuc <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] FDB and CouchDB replication
Date Tue, 07 May 2019 20:37:13 GMT
Hi all,

A quick note, I created an RFC related to this

Thanks for everyone who participated: Garren, Adam, Paul, Robert, Jan and

On Fri, Apr 12, 2019 at 6:20 PM Nick Vatamaniuc <> wrote:

> I had realized one more thing (that would be #3) that's needed, and that
> is handling of _active_tasks, _scheduler/docs, _scheduler/jobs, and POSTs
> to _replicate. Basically anything in chttpd_misc that ends up calling
> across a cluster (rpc:call, rpc:multicall, gen_server:multi_call, etc).
> How the plumbing will look there depends on the shape of the background
> jobs / tasks queue feature we've been discussing. Maybe having one status
> table per job role, or per worker...? The fundamental difference is that
> now that info lives in ETS tables in memory and it would have to move to
> FDB. Which will hopefully make it nicer and easier to handle.
> And I think that also opens the possibility of persisting job / tasks
> intermediate state between executions. For replications it might not matter
> as they resume from the last checkpoint but other jobs might use that
> option.
> On Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 6:21 PM Nick Vatamaniuc <>
> wrote:
>> I was thinking how replication would work with FDB and so far there are
>> two main issues I believe would need to be addressed. One deals with how we
>> monitor _replicator db docs for changes, and other one is how replication
>> jobs coordinate so we don't run multiple replication jobs for the same
>> replication document in a cluster.
>> 1) Shard-level vs fabric-level notifications for _replicator db docs
>> Currently replicator is monitoring and updating individual _replicator
>> shards. Change notifications are done via change feeds (normal,
>> non-continuous) and couch event server callbacks.
>> With fdb we'd have to get these updates via a fabric changes feeds and rely
>> on the global _db_updates. That could result in a performance impact and
>> would be something to keep an eye on.
>> 2) Replicator job coordination
>> Replicator has a basic constraint that there should be only one
>> replication job running for each replicator doc per cluster.
>> Each replication currently has a single "owner" node. The owner is picked
>> to be one of 3 nodes were the _replicator doc shards live. If nodes connect
>> or disconnect, replicator will reshuffle replication jobs and some nodes
>> will stop running jobs that they don't "own" anymore and then proceed to
>> "rescan" all the replicator docs to possibly start new ones. However, with
>> fdb, there are no connected erlang nodes and no shards. All coordination
>> happens via fdb, so we'd have to somehow coordinate replication job
>> ownership through there.
>> For discussion, here is a proposal for a worker registration layer do
>> that job coordination:
>> The basic idea is erlang fabric nodes would declare, by writing to fdb,
>> that they can take on certain "roles". "replicator" would be one such role.
>> And so, for each role there is a list of nodes. Each node picks a fraction
>> of jobs based on how many other nodes of the same role are in the list.
>> When membership changes, nodes which are alive might have to pick up new
>> jobs or stop running existing jobs since they'd be started by other nodes.
>> For example, there are 3 nodes with "replicator" roles: [n1, n2, n3]. n1
>> is currently down so the membership list is [n2, n3]. If there are 60
>> replication jobs then n2 might run 30, and n3 another 30. n1 comes online
>> and adds itself to the roles list, which now looks like [n1, n2, n3]. n1
>> then picks 20 replication jobs. At about the same time n2 and n3 notice n1
>> is online and decide to stop running the jobs that n1 would pick up and
>> they each would end up running roughly 20 jobs.
>> The difficulty here comes from maintaining liveliness. A node could stop
>> at any time without removing itself from the membership list of its roles.
>> That means all of the sudden a subset of jobs would stop running without
>> anyone picking them up. So, the idea is to have nodes periodically update
>> their health status in fdb to indicate they are alive. Once a node doesn't
>> update its status often enough it will be considered dead and others can
>> pick up its share of jobs.
>> To start the discussion, I sketched this data layout and pseudocode:
>> Data layout:
>> ("couch_workers", Role, "members") = (MembersVersionStamp, [WId1, WId2,
>> ...])
>> ("couch_workers", Role, "health", WId) = (WorkerVersionStamp, Timeout,
>> Timestamp)
>> Role : In our case it would be "replicator", but it could be any other
>> role.
>> WId : are workers IDs. These should unique identify workers. It would be
>> nice if it could be persisted, such that a worker doing a quick restart
>> will end up with the same id and the membership list won't change. However,
>> a random UUID would work as well.
>> Timeout : This is the timeout declared by the nodes themselves. These
>> need not be the same for all node. Some nodes might decide they run slower
>> so their timeouts would be larger. But they essentially promise to update
>> their health status at least that often.
>> Timestamp: The time of the last health report from that node. Timestamps
>> technically might not be needed as neighbor monitors could remember the
>> time delta between when it saw changes to the health values' version stamp.
>> Pseudocode:
>> init(Role) ->
>>     Members = tx(add_to_members(self(), Role)
>>     spawn health_ping(Members, Role)
>>     spawn neighbor_check(Members, Role)
>>     loop()
>> terminate() ->
>>     tx(remove_self_from_members_and_health_list())
>> loop() ->
>>     {Members, Watch} = tx(add_members(self(), Role), get_watch())
>>     receive
>>     {Watch, NewMembers} ->
>>         case diff(Members, NewMembers) of
>>         no_diff ->
>>             ok;
>>         {Added, Removed} ->
>>             update_neighbor_check(NewMembers)
>>             fire_callbacks(Added, Removed)
>>     end,
>>     loop()
>> health_ping(Members, Role) ->
>>    tx(update_health(Role, self(), Timestamp))
>>    sleep(Timeout / 3)
>>    health_ping(Members, Role)
>> neighbor_check(Members, Role) ->
>>   Neighbor = next_in_list(self(), Members)
>>   {Timeout, Timestamp} = tx(read_timestamp(Neighbor, Role))
>>   case now() - Timestamp > Timeout of
>>   true ->
>>       NewMembers = Tx(remove_neighbor(Neighbor, Role))
>>       neighbor_check(NewMembers, Role)
>>   false ->
>>       sleep(Timeout)
>>       neighbor_check(Members, Role)
>>   end
>> Description:
>> Nodes add themselves to a membership list for each role they participate
>> in. The membership list has a version stamp. It's there to ensure that the
>> watch that is created during the update would find any change occurring
>> since their update.
>> tx(...) is pseudocode for "runs in a transaction"
>> neighbor_check() is how entries for dead workers are cleaned up. Each
>> node will monitor its neighbor's status. If it sees the neighbor has
>> stopped responding it will remove it from the list. That will update the
>> membership list and will fire the watch. Everyone will notice and rescan
>> their replicator docs.
>> fire_callbacks() is just reporting to the replicator app that membership
>> has changed it and might need to rescan. On top of this code currently
>> there is a cluster stability logic that waits a bit before rescanning in
>> case there is a flurry of node membership changes. Like say on rolling node
>> reboots or cluster startup.
>> I am not entirely sure on the semantics of watches and how lightweight or
>> heavyweight they are. Creating a watch and a version stamp will hopefully
>> not lose updates. That is, all updates after that transaction's watch will
>> fire the watch. Watches seem to have limits and then I think we'd need to
>> revert to polling
>> which make sense but wondering if we should just start with polling first
>> and larger poll intervals. I guess it depends on how many other places we'd
>> have use watches and if we'd ever come close the even needing to handle
>> that error case.
>> What does everyone think? The idea would to be turn the proposal from 2)
>> into an RFC but wanted to open it for a general discussion and see what
>> everythone thought about it.

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