As you store data into your Couchbase Server cluster, you may need to alter the number of nodes in your cluster to cope with changes in your application load, RAM, disk I/O and networking performance requirements.
Couchbase Server is designed to actively change the number of nodes configured within the cluster to cope with these requirements, all while the cluster is up and running and servicing application requests. The overall process is broken down into two stages; the addition and/or removal of nodes in the cluster, and the rebalancing of the information across the nodes.
The addition and removal process merely configures a new node into the cluster, or marks a node for removal from the cluster. No actual changes are made to the cluster or data when configuring new nodes or removing existing ones.
During the rebalance operation:
Using the new Couchbase Server cluster structure, data is moved between the vBuckets on each node from the old structure. This process works by exchanging the data held in vBuckets on each node across the cluster. This has two effects:
Removes the data from machines being removed from the cluster. By totally removing the storage of data on these machines, it allows for each removed node to be taken out of the cluster without affecting the cluster operation.
Adds data and enables new nodes so that they can serve information to clients. By moving active data to the new nodes, they will be made responsible for the moved vBuckets and for servicing client requests.
Rebalancing moves both the data stored in RAM, and the data stored on disk for each bucket, and for each node, within the cluster. The time taken for the move is dependent on the level of activity on the cluster and the amount of stored information.
The cluster remains up, and continues to service and handle client requests. Updates and changes to the stored data during the migration process are tracked and will be updated and migrated with the data that existed when the rebalance was requested. By copying over the existing and actively updated information
The current vBucket map, used to identify which nodes in the cluster are responsible for handling client requests, is updated incrementally as each vBucket is moved. The updated vBucket map is communicated to Couchbase client libraries and enabled smart clients (such as Moxi), and allows clients to use the updated structure as the rebalance completes. This ensures that the new structure is used as soon as possible to help spread and even out the load during the rebalance operation.
Because the cluster stays up and active throughout the entire process, clients can continue to store and retrieve information and do not need to be aware that a rebalance operation is taking place.
There are four primary reasons that you perform a rebalance operation:
Adding nodes to expand the size of the cluster.
Removing nodes to reduce the size of the cluster.
Reacting to a failover situation, where you need to bring the cluster back to a healthy state.
You need to temporarily remove one or more nodes to perform a software, operating system or hardware upgrade.
Regardless of the reason for the rebalance, the purpose of the rebalance is migrate the cluster to a healthy state, where the configured nodes, buckets, and replicas match the current state of the cluster.
For information and guidance on choosing how, and when, to rebalance your cluster, read Section 5.3.1, “Choosing When to Rebalance”. This will provide background information on the typical triggers and indicators that your cluster requires changes to the node configuration, and when a good time to perform the rebalance is required.
Instructions on how to expand and shrink your cluster, and initiate the rebalance operation are provided in Section 220.127.116.11, “Starting a Rebalance”.
Once the rebalance operation has been initiated, you should monitor the rebalance operation and progress. You can find information on the statistics and events to monitor using Section 5.3.4, “Monitoring During Rebalance”.
Common questions about the rebalancing operation are located in Section 5.3.5, “Common Rebalancing Questions”.
For a deeper background on the rebalancing and how it works, see Section 5.3.7, “Rebalance Behind-the-Scenes”.