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CP Subsystem

CP Subsystem operates in the unsafe mode by default without the strong consistency guarantee. See the CP Subsystem Unsafe Mode section for more information. You should set a positive number to the CP member count configuration to enable CP Subsystem and use it with the strong consistency guarantee. See the CP Subsystem Configuration section for details.

CP Subsystem is a component of a Hazelcast cluster that builds a strongly consistent layer for a set of distributed data structures. Its APIs can be used for implementing distributed coordination use cases, such as leader election, distributed locking, synchronization, and metadata management. It is accessed via HazelcastInstance.getCPSubsystem(). Its data structures are CP with respect to the CAP principle, i.e., they always maintain linearizability and prefer consistency over availability during network partitions. Besides network partitions, CP Subsystem withstands server and client failures.

Currently, CP Subsystem contains only the implementations of Hazelcast’s concurrency APIs. Since these APIs do not maintain large states, all members of a Hazelcast cluster do not necessarily take part in CP Subsystem. The number of Hazelcast members that take part in CP Subsystem is specified with CPSubsystemConfig.setCPMemberCount(int). Say that it is configured as N. Then, when a Hazelcast cluster starts, the first N members form CP Subsystem. These members are called CP members and they can also contain data for the other regular AP Hazelcast data structures, such as IMap, ISet.

Data structures in CP Subsystem run in CP groups. Each CP group elects its own Raft leader and runs the Raft consensus algorithm independently. CP Subsystem runs 2 CP groups by default:

  • The first one is the METADATA CP group which is an internal CP group responsible for managing CP members and CP groups. It is initialized during cluster startup if CP Subsystem is enabled via CPSubsystemConfig.setCPMemberCount(int).

  • The second CP group is the DEFAULT CP group, whose name is given in CPGroup.DEFAULT_GROUP_NAME. If a group name is not specified while creating a CP data structure proxy, that data structure is mapped to the DEFAULT CP group. For instance, when a CP IAtomicLong instance is created via CPSubsystem.getAtomicLong("myAtomicLong"), it is initialized on the DEFAULT CP group.

Besides these 2 predefined CP groups, custom CP groups can be created at run-time while fetching the CP data structure proxies. For instance, if a CP IAtomicLong is created by calling .getAtomicLong("myAtomicLong@myGroup"), first a new CP group is created with the name myGroup and then myAtomicLong is initialized on this custom CP group.

This design implies that each CP member can participate to more than one CP group. CP Subsystem runs a periodic background task to ensure that each CP member performs the Raft leadership role for roughly equal number of CP groups. For instance, if there are 3 CP members and 3 CP groups, each CP member becomes Raft leader for only 1 CP group. If one more CP group is created, then one of the CP members gets the Raft leader role for 2 CP groups. This is done because Raft is a leader-based consensus algorithm. A Raft leader node becomes responsible for handling incoming requests from callers and replicating them to follower nodes. If a CP member gets the Raft leadership role for too many CP groups compared to other CP members, it can turn into a bottleneck.

CP member count of CP groups are specified via CPSubsystemConfig.setGroupSize(int). Please note that this configuration does not have to be the same with the CP member count. Namely, the number of CP members in CP Subsystem can be larger than the configured CP group size. CP groups usually consist of an odd number of CP members between 3 and 7. Operations are committed and executed only after they are successfully replicated to the majority of CP members in a CP group. An odd number of CP members is more advantageous to an even number because of the quorum or majority calculations. For a CP group of N members, the majority is calculated as N / 2 + 1. For instance, in a CP group of 5 CP members, operations are committed when they are replicated to at least 3 CP members. This CP group can tolerate the failure of 2 CP members and remain available. However, if we run a CP group with 6 CP members, it can still tolerate the failure of 2 CP members because the majority of 6 is 4. Therefore, it does not improve the degree of fault tolerance compared to 5 CP members. In summary, CP subsystem remains available (and executes the operations) as long as the majority ((N/2) + 1) of the members are alive.

CP Subsystem achieves horizontal scalability thanks to all of the aforementioned CP group management capabilities. You can scale out the throughput and memory capacity by distributing your CP data structures to multiple CP groups, i.e., manual partitioning / sharding, and distributing those CP groups over CP members, i.e., choosing a CP group size that is smaller than the CP member count configuration. Nevertheless, the current set of CP data structures has quite low memory overheads. Moreover, related to the Raft consensus algorithm, each CP group makes use of internal heartbeat RPCs to maintain authority of the Raft leader and help lagging CP group members to make progress. Last, the new CP lock and semaphore implementations rely on a brand new session mechanism. In a nutshell, a Hazelcast server or a client starts a new session on the corresponding CP group when it makes its very first lock or semaphore acquire request, and then periodically commits session heartbeats to this CP group in order to indicate its liveliness. It means that if CP locks and semaphores are distributed to multiple CP groups, there will be a session management overhead on each CP group. See the CP Sessions section for more details. For these reasons, we recommend developers to use a minimal number of CP groups. For most use cases, the DEFAULT CP group should be sufficient to maintain all CP data structure instances. Custom CP groups is recommended only when you benchmark your deployment and decide that performance of the DEFAULT CP group is not sufficient for your workload.

By default, CP Subsystem works only in memory without persisting any state to disk. It means that a crashed CP member is not able to join to the cluster back by restoring its previous state. Therefore, crashed CP members create a danger for gradually losing majority of CP groups and eventually cause the total loss of availability of CP Subsystem. To prevent such situations, crashed CP members can be removed from CP Subsystem and replaced in CP groups with other available CP members. This flexibility provides a good degree of fault tolerance at run-time. See the CP Subsystem Configuration section and CP Subsystem Management section for more details. Moreover, CP Subsystem Persistence enables more robustness. When it is enabled, CP members persist their local state to stable storage and can restore their state after crashes. See the CP Subsystem Persistence section for more details.

API Code Sample:

        CPSubsystem cpSubsystem = hazelcastInstance.getCPSubsystem();

        IAtomicLong atomicLong = cpSubsystem.getAtomicLong(name);

        IAtomicReference atomicRef = cpSubsystem.getAtomicReference(name);

        FencedLock lock = cpSubsystem.getLock(name);

        ISemaphore semaphore = cpSubsystem.getSemaphore(name);

        ICountDownLatch latch = cpSubsystem.getCountDownLatch(name);

The CP data structure proxies differ from the other data Hazelcast structure proxies in two aspects:

  • An internal commit is performed on the METADATA CP group every time you fetch a proxy from this interface. Hence, the callers should cache the returned proxy objects.

  • If you call the DistributedObject.destroy() method on a CP data structure proxy, that data structure is terminated on the underlying CP group and cannot be reinitialized until the CP group is force-destroyed via CPSubsystemManagementService.forceDestroyCPGroup(String). For this reason, please make sure that you are completely done with a CP data structure before destroying its proxy.