Managing leader elections | Tarantool
How-to guides Replication tutorials Managing leader elections

Managing leader elections

Starting from version 2.6.1, Tarantool has the built-in functionality managing automated leader election in a replica set. Learn more about the concept of leader election.

    election_mode = <string>,
    election_fencing_mode = <string>,
    election_timeout = <seconds>,
    replication_timeout = <seconds>,
    replication_synchro_quorum = <count>
  • election_mode – specifies the role of a node in the leader election process. For the details, refer to the option description in the configuration reference.
  • election_fencing_mode – specifies the leader fencing mode. For the details, refer to the option description in the configuration reference.
  • election_timeout – specifies the timeout between election rounds if the previous round ended up with a split vote. For the details, refer to the option description in the configuration reference.
  • replication_timeout – reuse of the replication_timeout configuration option for the purpose of the leader election process. Heartbeats sent by an active leader have a timeout after which a new election starts. Heartbeats are sent once per <replication_timeout> seconds. The default value is 1. The leader is considered dead if it hasn’t sent any heartbeats for the period of replication_timeout * 4.
  • replication_synchro_quorum – reuse of the replication_synchro_quorum option for the purpose of configuring the election quorum. The default value is 1, meaning that each node becomes a leader immediately after voting for itself. It is best to set up this option value to the (<cluster size> / 2) + 1. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that there is only one leader at a time.

It is important to know that being a leader is not the only requirement for a node to be writable. The leader should also satisfy the following requirements:

  • The read_only option is set to false.
  • The leader shouldn’t be in the orphan state.

Nothing prevents you from setting the read_only option to true, but the leader just won’t be writable then. The option doesn’t affect the election process itself, so a read-only instance can still vote and become a leader.

To monitor the current state of a node regarding the leader election, you can use the function. For details, refer to the function description.


- state: follower
  vote: 0
  leader: 0
  term: 1

The Raft-based election implementation logs all its actions with the RAFT: prefix. The actions are new Raft message handling, node state changing, voting, and term bumping.

Leader election doesn’t work correctly if the election quorum is set to less or equal than <cluster size> / 2 because in that case, a split vote can lead to a state when two leaders are elected at once.

For example, suppose there are five nodes. When the quorum is set to 2, node1 and node2 can both vote for node1. node3 and node4 can both vote for node5. In this case, node1 and node5 both win the election. When the quorum is set to the cluster majority, that is (<cluster size> / 2) + 1 or greater, the split vote is impossible.

That should be considered when adding new nodes. If the majority value is changing, it’s better to update the quorum on all the existing nodes before adding a new one.

Also, the automated leader election doesn’t bring many benefits in terms of data safety when used without synchronous replication. If the replication is asynchronous and a new leader gets elected, the old leader is still active and considers itself the leader. In such case, nothing stops it from accepting requests from clients and making transactions. Non-synchronous transactions are successfully committed because they are not checked against the quorum of replicas. Synchronous transactions fail because they are not able to collect the quorum – most of the replicas reject these old leader’s transactions since it is not a leader anymore.

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