How do you configure a high-availability MySQL cluster using Galera Cluster?

The Galera Cluster is a robust solution that ensures high availability of databases, a necessity in today's web-driven world. Its ability to provide synchronous multi-master replication has made it hugely favored among many organizations. The Galera Cluster is an excellent choice for MySQL and MariaDB databases, providing a superior level of performance and stability.

In this comprehensive guide, you will discover how to install and configure a Galera Cluster, create nodes, set up HAProxy for load balancing, and ensure efficient database replication. We will break down the process step-by-step, ensuring that you can successfully establish a high-availability MySQL Cluster using Galera.

Setting Up the Galera Cluster

The initial step in leveraging the benefits of the Galera Cluster is the installation process. This step is crucial as it lays down the infrastructure required to create a high-availability MySQL cluster.

To begin, ensure that you have at least three servers ready to deploy the Galera Cluster. This is to ensure that the cluster remains available even if one node fails.

Start by updating your server with this command:

sudo apt update

Then, install the MySQL server:

sudo apt install mysql-server

Upon successful installation of the MySQL server, proceed to install the Galera package:

sudo apt install galera-3 galera-arbitrator-3

This method installs the Galera package and its arbitrator (garbd) that acts as a voting member in the absence of a node.

Configuring the MySQL Database

This section covers the configuration of MySQL for use with the Galera Cluster.

First, you need to edit the MySQL configuration file. Use the following command:

sudo nano /etc/mysql/mysql.conf.d/mysqld.cnf

You will need to modify several parameters in the config file. We recommend the following settings:

  • The wsrep_provider should point to the location of the Galera library.
  • The wsrep_cluster_name should specify the name of your cluster.
  • The wsrep_cluster_address should list the IP addresses of all nodes in your cluster.
  • The wsrep_sst_method should be set to rsync.

Remember to save and exit the configuration file once you're done.

Creating Nodes in Galera Cluster

Adding nodes to the Galera cluster is the next critical step. By default, Galera operates with a minimum of three nodes for a high-availability cluster.

On each of the nodes, you'll need to install MySQL and the Galera package, just as described in the first section. After this installation, modify the MySQL configuration file, following the same instructions provided in the previous section.

When you're done, start the MySQL service on each node:

sudo systemctl start mysql

Then, check the status of the service to confirm that it's active:

sudo systemctl status mysql

Setting Up HAProxy for Load Balancing

HAProxy plays a significant role in distributing the workload across multiple servers, which enhances the efficiency and reliability of your system.

To install HAProxy, run this command:

sudo apt install haproxy

Next, you'll need to edit the HAProxy configuration file. This process involves specifying your frontend and backend servers. Remember to save and exit the configuration file when you're done.

Finally, restart the HAProxy service:

sudo systemctl restart haproxy

Ensuring Efficient Database Replication with Galera

Replication is the final step to ensure data consistency across all your servers. Galera Cluster uses a technology known as Write-Set Replication (wsrep) to replicate data across all nodes.

To check the status of replication, use the following command:


This command will display a lot of information, but there are a few key status indicators you should monitor:

  • wsrep_cluster_size shows the number of nodes in the cluster.
  • wsrep_connected indicates whether the node is connected to the cluster.
  • wsrep_ready shows whether the node is ready to accept queries.

Remember, any changes made on one node are instantly replicated across all other nodes. This feature guarantees that all your nodes will always remain in sync.

Take note that while the Galera Cluster can handle failure of one or more nodes, it's important to monitor the status of your nodes regularly using the SHOW STATUS command. If you ever notice any issues, you can use ClusterControl to manage and troubleshoot your Galera Cluster. ClusterControl provides a unified console for your entire database infrastructure and ensures your databases stay up-to-date and secure.

Troubleshooting The Galera Cluster

In the course of configuring your Galera Cluster for high-availability MySQL, you might encounter some problems. Troubleshooting is a crucial part of ensuring your cluster runs smoothly and effectively.

A common problem in clusters is a node's failure to join the cluster. There are several potential reasons for this. For instance, if the node was not properly shut down before it was removed from the cluster, it could have lingering states that prevent it from rejoining. In such a case, you need to reset the node. This process involves stopping the MySQL service, removing the Galera cache (grastate.dat and galera.cache), and then restarting the service.

Another common problem is network partitioning, which can lead to the split-brain situation. This is when the network connection between nodes is lost, causing the cluster to break into smaller parts, each believing it's the whole cluster. To prevent this, Galera uses a quorum-based method, where a node must be in contact with the majority of the nodes to remain operational.

It's also crucial to monitor the status of your nodes and the cluster size. Frequent changes in your cluster size could indicate network stability issues. Various tools can help you with this, including ClusterControl and the Galera's inbuilt wsrep status variables.

Another important aspect of troubleshooting involves managing schema upgrades. A node undergoing a schema upgrade can cause temporary inconsistency in the cluster. It's advised to perform schema changes in a rolling manner, starting with one node and proceeding to the next only when the first one is done.

In conclusion, setting up a high-availability MySQL Cluster using the Galera Cluster involves a series of carefully executed steps. From setting up the Galera Cluster to configuring your MySQL servers and creating nodes, right through to setting up HAProxy for load balancing and ensuring efficient database replication, every step is key to the overall success of the process.

Whether you're running an open source project or managing a large-scale commercial database, Galera Cluster offers an excellent solution for MySQL and MariaDB databases, providing a superior level of performance, high availability, and stability. Remember, the key to getting the most out of Galera Cluster lies in correctly installing and configuring the system, adding nodes, and managing your load balancer effectively.

Furthermore, it's vital to monitor the status of your nodes regularly and troubleshoot any issues that arise promptly. Tools like ClusterControl can be invaluable in managing and troubleshooting your Galera Cluster. With proper set-up, monitoring, and management, your MySQL Cluster can offer the high availability and performance needed in today's web-driven world.

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