One of the strengths of NDB Cluster is that it can be run on commodity hardware and has no unusual requirements in this regard, other than for large amounts of RAM, due to the fact that all live data storage is done in memory. (It is possible to reduce this requirement using Disk Data tables—see Section 7.13, “NDB Cluster Disk Data Tables”, for more information about these.) Naturally, multiple and faster CPUs can enhance performance. Memory requirements for other NDB Cluster processes are relatively small.
The software requirements for NDB Cluster are also modest. Host operating systems do not require any unusual modules, services, applications, or configuration to support NDB Cluster. For supported operating systems, a standard installation should be sufficient. The MySQL software requirements are simple: all that is needed is a production release of NDB Cluster. It is not strictly necessary to compile MySQL yourself merely to be able to use NDB Cluster. We assume that you are using the binaries appropriate to your platform, available from the NDB Cluster software downloads page at http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/cluster/.
For communication between nodes, NDB Cluster supports TCP/IP networking in any standard topology, and the minimum expected for each host is a standard 100 Mbps Ethernet card, plus a switch, hub, or router to provide network connectivity for the cluster as a whole. We strongly recommend that an NDB Cluster be run on its own subnet which is not shared with machines not forming part of the cluster for the following reasons:
Security. Communications between NDB Cluster nodes are not encrypted or shielded in any way. The only means of protecting transmissions within an NDB Cluster is to run your NDB Cluster on a protected network. If you intend to use NDB Cluster for Web applications, the cluster should definitely reside behind your firewall and not in your network's De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) or elsewhere.
See Section 7.12.1, “NDB Cluster Security and Networking Issues”, for more information.
Efficiency. Setting up an NDB Cluster on a private or protected network enables the cluster to make exclusive use of bandwidth between cluster hosts. Using a separate switch for your NDB Cluster not only helps protect against unauthorized access to NDB Cluster data, it also ensures that NDB Cluster nodes are shielded from interference caused by transmissions between other computers on the network. For enhanced reliability, you can use dual switches and dual cards to remove the network as a single point of failure; many device drivers support failover for such communication links.
Network communication and latency. NDB Cluster requires communication between data nodes and API nodes (including SQL nodes), as well as between data nodes and other data nodes, to execute queries and updates. Communication latency between these processes can directly affect the observed performance and latency of user queries. In addition, to maintain consistency and service despite the silent failure of nodes, NDB Cluster uses heartbeating and timeout mechanisms which treat an extended loss of communication from a node as node failure. This can lead to reduced redundancy. Recall that, to maintain data consistency, an NDB Cluster shuts down when the last node in a node group fails. Thus, to avoid increasing the risk of a forced shutdown, breaks in communication between nodes should be avoided wherever possible.
The failure of a data or API node results in the abort of all uncommitted transactions involving the failed node. Data node recovery requires synchronization of the failed node's data from a surviving data node, and re-establishment of disk-based redo and checkpoint logs, before the data node returns to service. This recovery can take some time, during which the Cluster operates with reduced redundancy.
Heartbeating relies on timely generation of heartbeat signals by all nodes. This may not be possible if the node is overloaded, has insufficient machine CPU due to sharing with other programs, or is experiencing delays due to swapping. If heartbeat generation is sufficiently delayed, other nodes treat the node that is slow to respond as failed.
This treatment of a slow node as a failed one may or may not be
desirable in some circumstances, depending on the impact of the
node's slowed operation on the rest of the cluster. When
setting timeout values such as
NDB Cluster, care must be taken care to achieve quick detection,
failover, and return to service, while avoiding potentially
expensive false positives.
Where communication latencies between data nodes are expected to be higher than would be expected in a LAN environment (on the order of 100 µs), timeout parameters must be increased to ensure that any allowed periods of latency periods are well within configured timeouts. Increasing timeouts in this way has a corresponding effect on the worst-case time to detect failure and therefore time to service recovery.
LAN environments can typically be configured with stable low latency, and such that they can provide redundancy with fast failover. Individual link failures can be recovered from with minimal and controlled latency visible at the TCP level (where NDB Cluster normally operates). WAN environments may offer a range of latencies, as well as redundancy with slower failover times. Individual link failures may require route changes to propagate before end-to-end connectivity is restored. At the TCP level this can appear as large latencies on individual channels. The worst-case observed TCP latency in these scenarios is related to the worst-case time for the IP layer to reroute around the failures.
SCI support. It is also possible to use the high-speed Scalable Coherent Interface (SCI) with NDB Cluster, but this is not a requirement. See Section 5.4, “Using High-Speed Interconnects with NDB Cluster”, for more about this protocol and its use with NDB Cluster.