This post will take us through a high-level refresher of what it takes to be a Multi-Region, distributed SQL database and how we achieve this at Cockroach Labs.
But first, here is a little bit of information that will allow you to get up and running with CockroachDB and its Multi-Region feature.
At a high level, the simplest process for running a multi-region cluster is:
- Set region information for each node in the cluster at startup using node startup locality options.
- Add one or more regions to a database, making it a "multi-region" database. One of these regions must be the primary region.
- (Optional) Change table localities (global, regional by table, regional by row). This step is optional because by default the tables in a database will be homed in the database's primary region (as set during Step 1).
- (Optional) Change the database's survival goals (zone or region). This step is optional because by default multi-region databases will be configured to survive zone failures.
These steps describe the simplest case, where you accept all of the default settings. The latter two steps are optional, but table locality and survival goals have a significant impact on performance. Therefore Cockroach Labs recommends that you give these aspects some consideration when you choose a multi-region configuration.
CockroachDB's distributed architecture allows it to replicate data across multiple nodes in different geographic regions, ensuring that data is available even if one or more nodes or entire regions become unavailable. This capability is crucial for applications that need low latency access to data from different parts of the world, as it enables them to scale horizontally while maintaining data consistency and availability.
CockroachDB achieves this through its use of a distributed SQL database architecture that allows it to automatically partition and replicate data across multiple nodes and regions. This allows it to provide strong consistency and high availability even in the face of network partitions, node failures, and other issues that can arise in a distributed system.
What does it mean to be Multi-Region?
When we say that CockroachDB is multi-region, it means that it is designed to work seamlessly across multiple geographic regions, allowing applications to scale horizontally while maintaining data consistency and availability.
In a multi-region deployment, data is distributed across multiple servers or nodes located in different regions or data centres. This approach helps improve application performance and availability by bringing data closer to end-users or clients.
CockroachDB uses a distributed SQL database architecture to automatically partition and replicate data across multiple nodes and regions. This ensures that data is available even if one or more nodes or entire regions become unavailable. CockroachDB also uses a technique called distributed consensus to ensure that all copies of the data remain consistent even in the face of network partitions, node failures, and other issues that can arise in a distributed system.
In summary, a multi-region deployment of CockroachDB enables applications to achieve low latency access to data from different parts of the world, while maintaining high availability and strong consistency.
What if a region fails?
CockroachDB is designed to tolerate regional failures without impacting the availability of the system. In a multi-region deployment, CockroachDB automatically distributes data across multiple regions and nodes, using a technique called distributed consensus to ensure that all copies of the data remain consistent even in the face of regional failures.
If a region were to fail or become unavailable, CockroachDB would continue to serve requests from other available regions. The system would automatically rebalance the data and redistribute it across the remaining available regions to ensure continued availability and consistency.
CockroachDB achieves this fault tolerance through a number of features, including:
- Automatic data partitioning and replication: CockroachDB automatically partitions and replicates data across multiple nodes and regions, ensuring that there are always multiple copies of the data available.
- Distributed consensus: CockroachDB uses a distributed consensus protocol called Raft to ensure that all copies of the data are consistent, even in the face of network partitions and other failures.
- Automatic failover: CockroachDB automatically detects when a node or region becomes unavailable and automatically fails over to a healthy node or region.
- Self-healing: CockroachDB automatically heals itself after a regional failure by redistributing the data and ensuring that there are always enough replicas of the data available.
Hopefully this post provides you with a quick and easy way of explaining CockroachDB's Multi-Region capabilities to your friends and colleagues.
Thank you for reading.