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This article intends to introduce to you the deployment of a MySQL active passive high availability setup using DRBD. DRBD defers from the standard MySQL master-slave replication in a few ways:

  1. DRBD replicates the data at the block device level where as MySQL replication does it work at the SQL query level. As such, DRBD manages to provide better performance and reliability for MySQL replication.
  2. DRBD provides automatic and transparent fail-over in the event the master node fails. DRBD achieves this using a network heart-beat where the whole fail-over process is totally transparent to the applications accessing the MySQL.
To understand technically how DRBD works, here is a diagram that illustrate.

From a layman perspective, DRBD acts like a network RAID-1 of two servers.

How does heart-beat works in DRBD

The upper part of this picture shows a cluster where the left node is currently active, i.e., the service's IP address that the client machines are talking to is currently on the left node.

The service, including its IP address, can be migrated to the other node at any time, either due to a failure of the active node or as an administrative action. The lower part of the illustration shows a degraded cluster. In HA speak the migration of a service is called failover, the reverse process is called failback and when the migration is triggered by an administrator it is called switchover.


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