Audience: Architects, Managers
Technical level: Introductory
Networks are inherently flaky. Most users are aware of this and even accustomed to it, and are willing to handle random unresponsiveness from time to time. However, this sort of tolerance for network flakiness has limits.
In the era of highly-distributed, real-time applications, network issues often result in so-called “split brain” scenarios, where a partition in an application cluster causes one or more nodes to suddenly, and mysteriously, become unresponsive. At best, this causes delays and error messages for your users; at worst, it causes data inconsistencies between distributed services, leading to cascading failures and expensive downtime.
In this white paper, we review the tricky, unavoidable nature of network partitions, and describe what kind of strategies are needed resolve split brain scenarios intelligently, in just seconds. Lightbend’s Split Brain Resolver (SBR) feature, part of Lightbend Reactive Platform’s commercial Enterprise Suite, offers four such strategies–called “Keep Majority”, “Static Quorum”, “Keep Oldest”, and “Keep Referee”–that automatically execute in a matter of seconds if and when network partitions occur.
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