MySQL Fabric is an integrated system for managing a collection of MySQL servers and is the framework on which high-availability and sharding is built. MySQL Fabric is open-source and is intended to be extensible, easy to use, and support procedure execution even in the presence of failure, an execution model we call resilient execution.
To ensure high-availability, it is necessary to have redundancy in the system. For database systems, the redundancy traditionally takes the form of having a primary server acting as a master and using replication to keep secondaries available to take over in case the primary fails. This means that the "server" that the application connects to is in reality a collection of servers, not a single server. In a similar manner, if the application is using a sharded database, it is in reality working with a collection of servers, not a single server. In this case, we refer to a collection of servers as a farm.
Now, just having a collection of servers does not really help us that much: it is necessary to have some structure imposed on the farm as well as an API to work with the farm, and this is where MySQL Fabric comes in.
Before going over the concepts, have a look at the farm below. In the figure, there is an application that want to connect to the farm and there are a set of database servers at the bottom organized into groups called high-availability groups. To manage the structure of the farm, there is a MySQL Fabric Node available that keeps, among other things, track of the meta-data as well as handles procedure execution. Both the application and an operator can connect to the Fabric node to get information about the farm being managed.
The MySQL Fabric nodes are responsible for keeping track of the structure of the farm as well as all information about their status and is also where any management procedures are executed. If a server fails, a the Fabric node will handle the procedure of promoting one of the slaves to be the new master, but it also contain the logic for handling shard moving and shard splitting.
The central concept to handling high-availability in Fabric are the high-availability groups. These are collections of servers that shall work together to deliver a database service to the application that connects. The groups are introduced to give structure to the farm and allow you to describe how the servers are organized to support the redundancy necessary to ensure high-availability.
Inside the group, all the servers manage the same data and hence have the same schema. In addition, each server have distinct roles and no server can belong to more than one group. The group concept does not really represent anything new: it is just a way to structure the farm in such a manner that managing it is easy to understand and the roles of servers are clear. To manage redundancy, a traditional Master-Slave Setup is used, a topology that we all are familiar with (it is often called the Primary-Secondary Approach, hence the names that follow). Each group have a primary that is is the master for all the data. Any queries that update data is sent here and that data is propagated to the other servers in the group. Redundancy is achieved by keeping one or more secondaries in the group that receive changes from the primary and are ready to take over the role as primary should the primary dissapear. To handle scale-out, the group also contain scale-out servers which are severs that receive changes from the primary but are not eligable for being promoted to primary. In the group, there are also spares, which are servers that are available for use but which are not assigned any active role yet.
In addition to high-availability support, MySQL Fabric also offer support for sharding, which is a technique for handling very large databases and/or very high write loads. The database is split into a large number of shards, where each shard contain a fragment of the data in the database. Each shard is stored on a separate server (or a separate set of servers if you want to ensure high-availability) and the transactions are directed to each shard based on the shard key. Splitting the database in this way allow you both to manage a larger database by separating it onto more servers, but it also scale the write traffic because you can execute writes independently.
When using sharding, MySQL Fabric separate tables into sharded tables MySQL Fabric allow you to shard just some of the tables in the database and keep the other tables available on all shards, which we call global tablesand global tables. Since databases usually have multiple tables with foreign key relationships between, it is critical to be able to shard several tables the same way (but possibly on different columns), which is something that MySQL Fabric supports. Using this support, you can give all the tables that are sharded and what column should be used as the sharding key and MySQL Fabric will shard all tables and distribute the rows on the shards. Tables that are not sharded are the global tables and they will be available on all shards.
If you want to know more about how Fabric support sharding, or about sharding in general, you should come to the session MySQL Sharding: Tools and Best Practices for Horizontal Scaling, September 21, 4:00pm-5:00pm in Imperial Ballroom B.
Connecting to a MySQL Farm
To provide better control when working with a MySQL farm we have extended the connector API in such a manner that it hides the complexities of handling fail-over in the event of a server failure as well as dispatching transactions to shards correctly. There is currently support for Fabric-aware versions of Connector/J, Connector/PHP, Connector/Python as well as some rudimentary support for Hibernate and Doctrine. If you are interested in how the extensions to the interface look and how you can use them to scale your application, you should come to Scaling PHP Applications, September 22, 10:00am-11:00am in Union Square Room 3/4.
More information about MySQL Fabric
There are several blogs being published on high-availability and sharding from the developers working on the Fabric system or the connectors.
- Tips to Build a Fault-Tolerant Database Application
- Writing a Fault-tolerant Application using MySQL Fabric
- Fabric Sharding - Horizontal Scaling of MySQL
- MySQL Fabric Sharding - Migrating From an Unsharded to a Sharded Setup
If you are interested in discussing and asking questions about MySQL Fabric, or sharding and high-availability in general, the forum on Fabric, Sharding, HA, Utilities is an excellent place for discussions. Also, if you are at MySQL Connect, going to MySQL Sharding, Replication, and HA (September 21, 5:30-6:30pm in Imperial Ballroom B) is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the project, meet us developers and team leads, and provide feedback to us. The BOF will cover several areas, some overlapping, but the discussion is likely to cover MySQL Fabric and MySQL replication.