Elastic cluster

Elastic Cluster is an Enterprise Mode-only feature.

You can scale your cluster up or down to meet the needs of your database. The most common case is to add nodes to your database cluster to accommodate more data and provide better query performance. However, you can scale down your cluster if you find that it is over-provisioned, or if you need to divert hardware for other uses.

You scale your cluster by adding or removing nodes. Nodes can be added or removed without shutting down or restarting the database. After adding a node or before removing a node, Vertica begins a rebalancing process that moves data around the cluster to populate the new nodes or move data off nodes about to be removed from the database. During this process, nodes can exchange data that are not being added or removed to maintain robust intelligent K-safety. If Vertica determines that the data cannot be rebalanced in a single iteration due to lack of disk space, then the rebalance operation spans multiple iterations.

To help make data rebalancing due to cluster scaling more efficient, Vertica locally segments data storage on each node so it can be easily moved to other nodes in the cluster. When a new node is added to the cluster, existing nodes in the cluster give up some of their data segments to populate the new node. They also exchange segments to minimize the number of nodes that any one node depends upon. This strategy minimizes the number of nodes that might become critical when a node fails. When a node is removed from the cluster, its storage containers are moved to other nodes in the cluster (which also relocates data segments to minimize how many nodes might become critical when a node fails). This method of breaking data into portable segments is referred to as elastic cluster, as it facilitates enlarging or shrinking the cluster.

The alternative to elastic cluster is re-segmenting all projection data and redistributing it evenly among all database nodes any time a node is added or removed. This method requires more processing and more disk space, as it requires all data in all projections to be dumped and reloaded.

Elastic cluster scaling factor

In a new installation, each node has a scaling factor that specifies the number of local segments (see Scaling factor). Rebalance efficiently redistributes data by relocating local segments provided that, after nodes are added or removed, there are sufficient local segments in the cluster to redistribute the data evenly (determined by MAXIMUM_SKEW_PERCENT). For example, if the scaling factor = 8, and there are initially 5 nodes, then there are a total of 40 local segments cluster-wide.

If you add two additional nodes (seven nodes) Vertica relocates five local segments on two nodes, and six such segments on five nodes, resulting in roughly a 16.7 percent skew. Rebalance relocates local segments only if the resulting skew is less than the allowed threshold, as determined by MAXIMUM_SKEW_PERCENT. Otherwise, segmentation space (and hence data, if uniformly distributed over this space) is evenly distributed among the seven nodes, and new local segment boundaries are drawn for each node, such that each node again has eight local segments.

Enabling elastic cluster

You enable elastic cluster with ENABLE_ELASTIC_CLUSTER. Query the ELASTIC_CLUSTER system table to verify that elastic cluster is enabled:

(1 row)