Terrace routing

Before you apply terrace routing to your database, be sure you are familiar with large cluster and fault groups.

Terrace routing can significantly reduce message buffering on a large cluster database. The following sections describe how Vertica implements terrace routing on Enterprise Mode and Eon Mode databases.

Terrace routing on Enterprise Mode

Terrace routing on an Enterprise Mode database is implemented through fault groups that define a rack-based topology. In a large cluster with terrace routing disabled, nodes in a Vertica cluster form a fully connected network, where each non-dependent (control) node sends messages across the database cluster through connections with all other non-dependent nodes, both within and outside its own rack/fault group:

In this case, large Vertica clusters can require many connections on each node, where each connection incurs its own network buffering requirements. The total number of buffers required for each node is calculated as follows:

(numRacks * numRackNodes) - 1

In a two-rack cluster with 4 nodes per rack as shown above, this resolves to 7 buffers for each node.

With terrace routing enabled, you can considerably reduce large cluster network buffering. Each nth node in a rack/fault group is paired with the corresponding nth node of all other fault groups. For example, with terrace routing enabled, messaging in the same two-rack cluster is now implemented as follows:

Thus, a message that originates from node 2 on rack A (A2) is sent to all other nodes on rack A; each rack A node then conveys the message to its corresponding node on rack B—A1 to B1, A2 to B2, and so on.

With terrace routing enabled, each node of a given rack avoids the overhead of maintaining message buffers to all other nodes. Instead, each node is only responsible for maintaining connections to:

  • All other nodes of the same rack (numRackNodes - 1)

  • One node on each of the other racks (numRacks - 1)

Thus, the total number of message buffers required for each node is calculated as follows:

(numRackNodes-1) + (numRacks-1)

In a two-rack cluster with 4 nodes as shown earlier, this resolves to 4 buffers for each node.

Terrace routing trades time (intra-rack hops) for space (network message buffers). As a cluster expands with additional racks and nodes, the argument favoring this trade off becomes increasingly persuasive:

In this three-rack cluster with 4 nodes per rack, without terrace routing the number of buffers required by each node would be 11. With terrace routing, the number of buffers per node is 5. As a cluster expands with the addition of racks and nodes per rack, the disparity between buffer requirements widens. For example, given a six-rack cluster with 16 nodes per rack, without terrace routing the number of buffers required per node is 95; with terrace routing, 20.

Enabling terrace routing

Terrace routing depends on fault group definitions that describe a cluster network topology organized around racks and their member nodes. As noted earlier, when terrace routing is enabled, Vertica first distributes data within the rack/fault group; it then uses nth node-to-nth node mappings to forward this data to all other racks in the database cluster.

You enable (or disable) terrace routing for any Enterprise Mode large cluster that implements rack-based fault groups through configuration parameter TerraceRoutingFactor. To enable terrace routing, set this parameter as follows:


  • numRackNodes: Number of nodes in a rack

  • numRacks: Number of racks in the cluster

For example:

#Racks Nodes/rack #Connections Terrace routing enabled if
TerraceRoutingFactor less than:
Without terrace routing With terrace routing
2 16 31 16 1.94
4 16 63 18 3.5
6 16 95 20 4.75
8 16 127 22 5.77

By default, TerraceRoutingFactor is set to 2, which generally ensures that terrace routing is enabled for any Enterprise Mode large cluster that implements rack-based fault groups. Vertica recommends enabling terrace routing for any cluster that contains 64 or more nodes, or if queries often require excessive buffer space.

To disable terrace routing, set TerraceRoutingFactor to a large integer such as 1000:

=> ALTER DATABASE DEFAULT SET TerraceRoutingFactor = 1000;

Terrace routing on Eon Mode

As in Enterprise Mode mode, terrace routing is enabled by default on an Eon Mode database, and is implemented through fault groups. However, you do not create fault groups for an Eon Mode database. Rather, Vertica automatically creates fault groups on a large cluster database; these fault groups are configured around the control nodes and their dependents of each subcluster. These fault groups are managed internally by Vertica and are not accessible to users.