Carousul . 06/21/2019

Cassandra Anti-entropy Repair ou Consul

A few definitions for context...


A masterless, multi-node, multi-region database that boasts linear scalability, high availability, and fault tolerance.


In the case of databases, the tendency to become increasingly disordered. Frequent data deletions and downed nodes are common causes.

Anti-entropy Repair

The act of reconciling disorder within a database system. It's performed to ensure data consistency across replicas.


Cassandra does not perform anti-entropy repair automatically. However, the nodetool utility provides the nodetool repair command for performing it. It's documented that operators should "...use nodetool repair as part of your regular maintenance routine...". But who even has a regular maintenance routine in 2019? It seems to me a more honest recommendation would be to automate this as well as you can because it's too complicated for a masterless, distributed database cluster to coordinate automatically out of the box.

I've observed that there's a fair amount of confusion regarding which nodes must run nodetool repair to fully repair a cluster. Though some are dated, the following threads demonstrate this...

The accepted answer from the first link states that you only need to run the repair operation on one node in a cluster and you're done. The accepted answer of the second states that you need to run repair on every node in the cluster. The third answer aligns with the second - every single node.

Depending on replication factors and node counts, each answer may be true. For example, if each datacenter has 3 nodes and your replication factor is 3, then running repair on a single node may be adequate for completing the job. However, if each datacenter has 5 nodes and your replication factor is 3, then you are only guaranteed to have repaired 3/5 of all data.

In the latter case, you must run repair on all nodes at least within a single datacenter to repair all data. I say, "at least", because more repairs may be required if replication factors are not consistent among datacenters. On top of that, only one node can be repaired at a time.

One more definition...


A distributed service mesh. It can also be described as a key/value store, event system, and DNS resolver. In addition to all of that, it provides a session mechanism that can be used for building distributed locks.


Automate the repair of all nodes within a single datacenter, one at a time. "Carousul" is what I came up with -

It's a Go program that performs datacenter parallel repairs while using Consul for distributed locking to ensure that only the node that holds the lock can perform a repair. Repairs are performed one by one until each has had a turn obtaining the lock and completing the repair operation.

In addition, it outputs metrics to file for a Prometheus node exporter textfile collector to consume.

Carousul's limitation is that it can only run in a single datacenter at a time because Consul cannot hold sessions across datacenters. This is fine if you only need to run repair in a single datacenter to complete the job. If not, this is not a complete solution - further synchronization must occur.

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