SolrCloud Recoveries and Write Tolerance

SolrCloud is highly available and fault tolerant in reads and writes.

Write Side Fault Tolerance

SolrCloud is designed to replicate documents to ensure redundancy for your data, and enable you to send update requests to any node in the cluster. That node will determine if it hosts the leader for the appropriate shard, and if not it will forward the request to the the leader, which will then forward it to all existing replicas, using versioning to make sure every replica has the most up-to-date version. If the leader goes down, another replica can take its place. This architecture enables you to be certain that your data can be recovered in the event of a disaster, even if you are using Near Real Time Searching.

Recovery

A Transaction Log is created for each node so that every change to content or organization is noted. The log is used to determine which content in the node should be included in a replica. When a new replica is created, it refers to the Leader and the Transaction Log to know which content to include. If it fails, it retries.

Since the Transaction Log consists of a record of updates, it allows for more robust indexing because it includes redoing the uncommitted updates if indexing is interrupted.

If a leader goes down, it may have sent requests to some replicas and not others. So when a new potential leader is identified, it runs a synch process against the other replicas. If this is successful, everything should be consistent, the leader registers as active, and normal actions proceed. If a replica is too far out of sync, the system asks for a full replication/replay-based recovery.

If an update fails because cores are reloading schemas and some have finished but others have not, the leader tells the nodes that the update failed and starts the recovery procedure.

Achieved Replication Factor

When using a replication factor greater than one, an update request may succeed on the shard leader but fail on one or more of the replicas. For instance, consider a collection with one shard and a replication factor of three. In this case, you have a shard leader and two additional replicas. If an update request succeeds on the leader but fails on both replicas, for whatever reason, the update request is still considered successful from the perspective of the client. The replicas that missed the update will sync with the leader when they recover.

Behind the scenes, this means that Solr has accepted updates that are only on one of the nodes (the current leader). To make the client aware of this, Solr includes in the response header the "Achieved Replication Factor" (rf). The achieved replication factor is the number of replicas of the shard that actually received the update request (including the leader), in the above example, 1. In the case of multi-shard update requests, the achieved replication factor is the minimum achieved replication factor across all shards.

On the client side, if the achieved replication factor is less than the acceptable level, then the client application can take additional measures to handle the degraded state. For instance, a client application may want to keep a log of which update requests were sent while the state of the collection was degraded and then resend the updates once the problem has been resolved.

Note
In previous version of Solr, the min_rf parameter had to be specified to ask Solr for the achieved replication factor. Now it is always included in the response.