Backup and messaging-only nodes

Note

This feature is only available in Axon Server Enterprise versions 4.3 and higher.

When you have larger clusters and specific requirements, you may want to have nodes acting in a different way within a context. For this reason, we have introduced a number of new roles for nodes in Axon Server Enterprise 4.3:

  • Primary node, this is the role for nodes prior to 4.3. Primary nodes handle client connections and messages, store events

    and may act as the leader for a context.

  • Backup node, maintain a copy of the event store, but will never become the leader.

  • Messaging-only node, handle client connections and messages but does not have an event store.

Each context needs at least one primary node. This node is capable of becoming a leader and coordinating transactions across the context. Even if you are not using Axon Server as an event store, you still need a leader as transactions also include making changes to the context configuration and access control lists.

Backup nodes

You can use backup nodes for instance when you want to ensure that you have a copy of your event store in another data center. As clients will never connect to a backup node and the backup node will never become the leader for a context it reduces the risk of high latency, compared to having a normal (primary) node in another data center.

Clients will never connect directly to a backup node.

Backup nodes come in two flavors, active and passive backup nodes. Active backup nodes participate in transactions, so when you store an event it is guaranteed to be in at least one backup node, before it is committed. This means that if you have active backup nodes, at least one of them needs to be up at any time. Since you may want to be able to perform maintenance on backup nodes without impacting the availability of your Axon Server cluster you should always have more than one active backup node if you decide to use active backup nodes.

Passive backup nodes follow the primary nodes with on a best effort base. If they are disconnected for some time, it will not impact the overall availability of the context. Once the passive backup nodes are connected again, they will update their event stores with the events that were added while they were gone. If you don't require the backup node to be fully up to date at any moment, you can configure one passive backup node.

To add a node as a backup node to a context you can use the Axon Dashboard, or you can use the following command-line command:

java -jar axonserver-cli.jar add-node-to-context -S http://axonserver:8024 -n my-backup-node -c my-context -r ACTIVE_BACKUP

or

java -jar axonserver-cli.jar add-node-to-context -S http://axonserver:8024 -n my-backup-node -c my-context -r PASSIVE_BACKUP

Messaging-only nodes

You can add nodes as messaging-only nodes to a context, if you don't want to use Axon Server as an event store, or if you want to have a large number of Axon Server nodes for a single context, without storing the events on each node. As the name already suggests, messaging-only nodes only route messages, they do not store events themselves. They do not participate in transactions and will clearly never become the leader for a context.

To add a node as a messaging-only node to a context you can use the Axon Dashboard, or you can use the following command line command:

java -jar axonserver-cli.jar add-node-to-context -S http://axonserver:8024 -n my-backup-node -c my-context -r MESSAGING_ONLY

Changing node roles

Sometimes you may want to change the role a node has for a specific context. This may happen when you have a pre-existing cluster context configuration (pre 4.3) and now you want to be able to start using the new roles. The way to do this is to remove a node from a context and then add it again in the new role.

When you remove the node from the context you have an option to preserve the event store. Preserving the event store is recommended when you want to change the role for a node from PRIMARY to BACKUP, or vice versa, as it would prevent a full replication of the event store when the node is added again with the new role. Removing a node while preserving the event store can be done through the UI or through the command line:

java -jar axonserver-cli.jar delete-node-from-context -S http://axonserver:8024 -n my-backup-node -c my-context --preserve-event-store