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From Sergey Maslyakov <evol...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: Efficient backup and a reasonable restore of an ensemble
Date Mon, 08 Jul 2013 22:28:08 GMT
Thank you for your response, Flavio. I apologize, I did not provide a clear
explanation of the use case.

This backup/restore is not intended to be tied to any write event, instead,
it is expected to run as a periodic (daily?) cron job on one of the
servers, which is not guaranteed to be the leader of the ensemble. There is
no expectation that all recent changes are committed and persisted to disk.
The system can sustain the loss of several hours worth of recent changes in
the event of restore.

As for finding the leader dynamically and performing backup on it, this
approach could be more difficult as the leader can change time to time and
I still need to fetch the file to store it in my designated backup
location. Taking backup on one server and picking it up from a local file
system looks less error-prone. Even if I went the fancy route and had
Zookeeper send me the serialized DataTree in response to the 4wl, this
approach would involve a lot of moving parts.

I have already made a PoC for a new 4wl that invokes takeSnapshot() and
returns an absolute path to the snapshot it drops on disk. I have already
protected takeSnapshot() from concurrent invocation, which is likely to
corrupt the snapshot file on disk. This approach works but I'm thinking to
take it one step further by providing the desired path name as an argument
to my new 4lw and to have Zookeeper server drop the snapshot into the
specified file and report success/failure back. This way I can avoid
cluttering the data directory and interfering with what Zookeeper finds
when it scans the data directory.

Approach with having an additional server that would take the leadership
and populate the ensemble is just a theory. I don't see a clean way of
making a quorum member the leader of the quorum. Am I overlooking something

In backup and restore of an ensemble the biggest unknown for me remains
populating the ensemble with desired data. I can think of two ways:

1. Clear out all servers by stopping them, purge version-2 directories,
restore a snapshot file on one server that will be brought first, and then
bring up the rest of the ensemble. This way I somewhat force the first
server to be the leader because it has data and it will be the only member
of a quorum with data, provided to the way I start the ensemble. This looks
like a hack, though.

2. Clear out the ensemble and reload it with a dedicated client using the
provided Zookeeper API.

With the approach of backing up an actual snapshot file, option #1 appears
to be more practical.

I wish I could start the ensemble with a designate leader that would
bootstrap the ensemble with data and then the ensemble would go into its
normal business...

On Mon, Jul 8, 2013 at 4:30 PM, Flavio Junqueira <fpjunqueira@yahoo.com>wrote:

> One bit that is still a bit confusing to me in your use case is if you
> need to take a snapshot right after some event in your application. Even if
> you're able to tell ZooKeeper to take a snapshot, there is no guarantee
> that it will happen at the exact point you want it if update operations
> keep coming.
> If you use your four-letter word approach, then would you search for the
> leader or would you simply take a snapshot at any server? If it has to go
> through the leader so that you make sure to have the most recent committed
> state, then it might not be a bad idea to have an api call that tells the
> leader to take a snapshot at some directory of your choice. Informing you
> the name of the snapshot file so that you can copy sounds like an option,
> but perhaps it is not as convenient.
> The approach of adding another server is not very clear. How do you force
> it to be the leader? Keep in mind that if it crashes, then it will lose
> leadership.
> -Flavio
> On Jul 8, 2013, at 8:34 AM, Sergey Maslyakov <evolvah@gmail.com> wrote:
> > It looks like the "dev" mailing list is rather inactive. Over the past
> few
> > days I only saw several automated emails from JIRA and this is pretty
> much
> > it. Contrary to this, the "user" mailing list seems to be more alive and
> > more populated.
> >
> > With this in mind, please allow me to cross-post here the message I sent
> > into the "dev" list a few days ago.
> >
> >
> > Regards,
> > /Sergey
> >
> > === forwarded message begins here ===
> >
> > Hi!
> >
> > I'm facing the problem that has been raised by multiple people but none
> of
> > the discussion threads seem to provide a good answer. I dug in Zookeeper
> > source code trying to come up with some possible approaches and I would
> > like to get your inputs on those.
> >
> > Initial conditions:
> >
> > * I have an ensemble of five Zookeeper servers running v3.4.5 code.
> > * The size of a committed snapshot file is in vicinity of 1GB.
> > * There are about 80 clients connected to the ensemble.
> > * Clients a heavily read biased, i.e., they mostly read and rarely
> write. I
> > would say less than 0.1% of queries modify the data.
> >
> > Problem statement:
> >
> > * Under certain conditions, I may need to revert the data stored in the
> > ensemble to an earlier state. For example, one of the clients may ruin
> the
> > application-level data integrity and I need to perform a disaster
> recovery.
> >
> > Things look nice and easy if I'm dealing with a single Zookeeper server.
> A
> > file-level copy of the data and dataLog directories should allow me to
> > recover later by stopping Zookeeper, swapping the corrupted data and
> > dataLog directories with a backup, and firing Zookeeper back up.
> >
> > Now, the ensemble deployment and the leader election algorithm in the
> > quorum make things much more difficult. In order to restore from a single
> > file-level backup, I need to take the whole ensemble down, wipe out data
> > and dataLog directories on all servers, replace these directories with
> > backed up content on one of the servers, bring this server up first, and
> > then bring up the rest of the ensemble. This [somewhat] guarantees that
> the
> > populated Zookeeper server becomes a member of a majority and populates
> the
> > ensemble. This approach works but it is very involving and, thus,
> > error-prone due to a human error.
> >
> > Based on a study of Zookeeper source code, I am considering the following
> > alternatives. And I seek advice from Zookeeper development community as
> to
> > which approach looks more promising or if there is a better way.
> >
> > Approach #1:
> >
> > Develop a complementary pair of utilities for export and import of the
> > data. Both utilities will act as Zookeeper clients and use the existing
> > API. The "export" utility will recursively retrieve data and store it in
> a
> > file. The "import" utility will first purge all data from the ensemble
> and
> > then reload it from the file.
> >
> > This approach seems to be the simplest and there are similar tools
> > developed already. For example, the Guano Project:
> > https://github.com/d2fn/guano
> >
> > I don't like two things about it:
> > * Poor performance even on a backup for the data store of my size.
> > * Possible data consistency issues due to concurrent access by the export
> > utility as well as other "normal" clients.
> >
> > Approach #2:
> >
> > Add another four-letter command that would force rolling up the
> > transactions and creating a snapshot. The result of this command would
> be a
> > new snapshot.XXXX file on disk and the name of the file could be reported
> > back to the client as a response to the four-letter command. This way, I
> > would know which snapshot file to grab for future possible restore. But
> > restoring from a snapshot file is almost as involving as the error-prone
> > sequence described in the "Initial conditions" above.
> >
> > Approach #3:
> >
> > Come up with a way to temporarily add a new Zookeeper server into a live
> > ensemble, that would overtake (how?) the leader role and push out the
> > snapshot that it has into all ensemble members upon restore. This
> approach
> > could be difficult and error-prone to implement because it will require
> > hacking the existing election algorithm to designate a leader.
> >
> > So, which of the approaches do you think works best for an ensemble and
> for
> > the database size of about 1GB?
> >
> >
> > Any advice will be highly appreciated!
> > /Sergey

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