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From Jordan Zimmerman <>
Subject Re: Confused about the LeaderLatch - what should happen on ConnectionState.SUSPENDED and ConnectionState.LOST ?
Date Thu, 20 Mar 2014 15:12:46 GMT
Maybe you should consider PersistentEphemeralNode instead. The long term “leader” would
try to allocate a PersistentEphemeralNode. If successful, he’s the leader. If not, set a
watch on the node and try again when it triggers.


From: Robert Kamphuis
Reply: Robert Kamphuis
Date: March 20, 2014 at 1:30:37 AM
To: Jordan Zimmerman
Subject:  Re: Confused about the LeaderLatch - what should happen on ConnectionState.SUSPENDED
and ConnectionState.LOST ?  

On 20 Mar, 2014, at 02:49 am, Jordan Zimmerman <> wrote:

Curator’s approach is safety first. While it might be possible to time a network outage
against the session timeout, I believe that this is not good distributed design. What if another
client has negotiated a different session timeout than yours? What if there is clock drift?
So, Curator uses the most conservative method when there’s a network event.

I am setting things up with identical configurations using the same AWS images for my client-apps
and for the zookeeper ensemble. Clock drift is kept in check with ntp. 
By using a long session time out - 90secs or more - I hope to survive a crashing zookeeper-server
- without some 20% of my client servers loosing leadership and in effect shutting down and
restarting their task election. I am gonna have a couple of hundred servers - loosing 20%
is too big a hit for our application logic.  
I guess I am using the leader latch in a slightly different manner - for selecting a worker
getting “elected for life” in stead of elected in parliament in some countries where there
is a re-election a couple of times a year. 

Do you agree that there are use cases like mine where this election-for-life is the desired
I will be experimenting by building a “dictatorLatch” and see how that works out. 

That said, it might be possible to have a pluggable ConnectionStateListener strategy for Curator
Recipes. Instead of each recipe assuming the worst when there is a network event, there could
be something like a ConnectionStateListener wrapper that suppresses SUSPENDED until the session
timeout elapses. I haven’t totally thought this through though.

From my experiments so far (copy-pasting the leader latch and modifying the behaviour on suspend)
it looks that on reconnect the leader latch is apparently replacing its node in zookeeper,
and when other servers where in the election during the suspend-period of the leader, the
replacement node will be lower in the election-list - thus loosing the leadership. I will
continue staring at this - need some more tracing to isolate what happens. 

thanks for your time! 



From: Robert Kamphuis
Date: March 19, 2014 at 6:23:01 AM
Cc: Robert Kamphuis
Subject:  Confused about the LeaderLatch - what should happen on ConnectionState.SUSPENDED
and ConnectionState.LOST ? 


I have been working on changing our application to work with Zookeeper and Curator for some
while now, and are occasionally getting wrong behaviour out of my system.
The symptom I’m getting is that two servers are concluding that they are the leader of a
particular task/leaderlatch at the same time, braking everything in my application.
This does not happen too often - but often enough and it is bad enough for my application.
I can get it pretty consistently occurring by restarting one of the servers in our 5-server
zookeeper ensembles in turns, 
while having multiple servers queuing up for the same leader latch. 

My key question is the following:
- WHAT should a user of a leaderLatch do when the connectionState goes to suspended?

My assumption and desired behaviour is that the user should suspend operations - which implies
to me that its leadership status is uncertain. (I am holding off all persistent operations
for example). 
But -I think- this also implies that no-one else can become leader yet - we either have the
old-leader still be leader, and no one else, or then the old-leader disappeared and we are
in effect leaderless for some time.
This will then be followed by 
a) a reconnect - in which case the old leader can continue its stuff (and optionally double
check its leadership status) or
b) a lost - in which case the old leader lost its leadership and should release all its power
etc and try again or do something else. Someone else likely became leader in my application
by then.
The a) or b) is controlled by the SessionTimeout negotiated between the curator/zookeeper
client and zookeeper ensemble.

Is my thinking correct here?
and if so, why is the curator’s LeaderLatch.handleStateChange(ConnectionState newState)
handling both in the same way : setLeadership(false)

In my application, a leadership change is a pretty big event, due to the amount of work the
code does, and I really want leadership to remain between short connection-breaks - eg. one
of the zookeeper servers crashes. Leadership should only be swapped on a sessiontimeout -
eg. broken application node, or long network break between the server and the zookeeper servers.
I am thinking to use 90 second as session timeout (so to survive eg. longer GC breaks and
similar without leadership change) - maybe even longer.

Is this a bug in leader latch, or should I use something else than leader latch, or implement
my desired behaviour in a new recipe?

kind regards,
Robert Kamphuis

PS. using zookeeper3.4.5 and curator2.4.0

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