Configure Linux High Availability Cluster in Ubuntu with Corosync and DRBD file sync

Synchronization by Taxydromos69
Synchronization by Taxydromos69

I already wrote how to configure a basic High Availability Ubuntu cluster. The steps to setup a basic cluster are detailed in the previous post, so please read the post if you don’t know how to make the cluster up&running. Same conventions are used here.

One of the topic I didn’t covered on the old post was “application replication/synchronization between the nodes“. Now it’s time to show you how to keep in sync files between cluster nodes, using DRBD software. DRBD is a powerful component of Linux kernel and is designed to keep in sync data via TCP/IP between nodes volumes. In this post we will setup a clustered freeradius service that sync /etc/freeradius/clients.conf file between nodes.

DRBD handle data replication at block device level; if you want read more on DRDB capabilities and functionalities have a look here (version 8.4 is the one included in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, the version tested in this post).
For the test I added a small (50MB) dedicated Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) to my Virtual Box nodes; these devices are mapped as /dev/sdb on both nodes.

PRIMARY/SECONDARY# ls -l /dev/sdb
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8, 16 mar 7 17:59 /dev/sdb

Let’s start with DRBD installation and configuration on both nodes (PRIMARY / SECONDARY). Please be aware that each node must resolve both hostnames and that both nodes must be in time sync (ntp suggested).

PRIMARY/SECONDARY# apt-get install drbd-utils

file: /etc/drbd.conf
resource freeradius { --> this is the DRBD resource name
 options {
 on-no-data-accessible suspend-io;

net {
 cram-hmac-alg "sha1";
 shared-secret "yoursharedsecrethere"; --> place your unique shared secret here

 device /dev/drbd0--> the DRBD device will be created
 disk /dev/sdb; --> the original block device that DRBD syncs
 address PRIMARY_IP:7788;
 meta-disk internal;

 device /dev/drbd0;
 disk /dev/sdb;
 address SECONDARY_IP:7788;
 meta-disk internal;

On both nodes we create the Mirror Device (md) and bring it up.

PRIMARY/SECONDARY# drbdadm create-md freeradius
drbdadm create-md freeradius
==> This might destroy existing data! <==

Do you want to proceed?
[need to type 'yes' to confirm] yes
New drbd meta data block successfully created.
PRIMARY/SECONDARY# drbdadm up freeradius

We can check the status. We expect both device connected as Secondary and data Inconsistent. That’s ok!

PRIMARY/SECONDARY# drbd-overview
0:freeradius/0 Connected Secondary/Secondary Inconsistent/Inconsistent

Now in one of the nodes (PRIMARY) we force the primary role for DRBD.

PRIMARY# drbdadm -- --overwrite-data-of-peer primary freeradius
PRIMARY# drbd-overview
0:freeradius/0 SyncSource Primary/Secondary UpToDate/Inconsistent
[===>................] sync'ed: 23.1% (41024/51160)K

Check the sync status on both nodes until everything is ok (minutes, hours… depends from the volume size).

PRIMARY# drbd-overview
0:freeradius/0 Connected Primary/Secondary UpToDate/UpToDate
SECONDARY# drbd-overview
0:freeradius/0 Connected Secondary/Primary UpToDate/UpToDate

From the PRIMARY node we can setup our logical DRBD partition /dev/drbd0.

PRIMARY# mkfs.ext4 /dev/drbd0

We copy the /etc/freeradius/clients.conf  file inside DRBD logical device /dev/drbd0. This device will be mounted in the active node of the cluster in the directory /opt/freeradius/ (to be made in both nodes).

PRIMARY/SECONDARY# mkdir /opt/freeradius/
PRIMARY# mount /dev/drbd0 /opt/freeradius/
PRIMARY# cp /etc/freeradius/clients.conf /opt/freeradius/
PRIMARY# umount /dev/drbd0

Now we are ready to integrate DRBD into Corosync/Pacemaker, so crm (Cluster Resource Manager) can handle, on our behalf, the mount/umount of DRBD resources in sync with the start/stop of freeradius and VIP services. Most of the concepts, commands and considerations are the same of my previous post.

DRBD is an OCF resource, so first of all we need to disable drbd service at boot time. We need to be sure also that /dev/drbd0 is not mounted and DRBD device not used on both nodes.

PRIMARY/SECONDARY# systemctl disable drbd
PRIMARY/SECONDARY# umount /dev/drbd0
PRIMARY/SECONDARY# drbdadm down freeradius
PRIMARY/SECONDARY# drbd-overview
0:freeradius/0 Unconfigured . .

We prepare our freeradius local services to use the DRBD shared and synced clients.conf file.
On both nodes we create a symlink to that file; of course in the active node of the cluster the link will be ok, in the standby node will be broken (DRBD device is not mounted).

PRIMARY/SECONDARY# mv /etc/freeradius/clients.conf /etc/freeradius/clients.conf.orig
PRIMARY/SECONDARY# ln -s /opt/freeradius/clients.conf /etc/freeradius/

We proceed with resources configuration (base setup described here).

PRIMARY# crm configure

// define a DRBD OCF resource for freeradius
crm(live)configure# primitive drbd_freeradius ocf:linbit:drbd \
 params drbd_resource="freeradius" \
 op monitor interval="15s"

// define a Master/slave process that ensure that only one Master role is assigned to the DRBD freeradius resource
crm(live)configure# ms ms_drbd_freeradiusdrbd_freeradius \
 meta master-max="1" master-node-max="1" \
 clone-max="2" clone-node-max="1" \

// define a filesystem OCF resource to mount the drbd disk /dev/drbd0 in /opt/freeradius/
crm(live)configure# primitive fs_freeradius ocf:heartbeat:Filesystem \
 params device="/dev/drbd0" directory="/opt/freeradius/" fstype="ext4"

// define a IPaddr2 OCF resource for freeradius VIP
crm(live)configure# primitive ip_freeradius ocf:heartbeat:IPaddr2 \
 params ip="VIP" nic="eth0"

// define an LSB resource for freeradius
crm(live)configure# primitive freeradiusd lsb:freeradius

// define a group with filesystem, VIP and freeradius service
crm(live)configure# group freeradius_group fs_freeradius ip_freeradius freeradiusd

// define a colocation to ensure that group resources and master/slave resources run togheter
crm(live)configure# colocation freeradius_on_drbd inf: freeradius_groupms_drbd_freeradius:Master

// define resource order that ensure DRBD is started first, then group resources
crm(live)configure# order freeradius_after_drbd inf: ms_drbd_freeradius:promote freeradius_group:start

// apply configuration
crm(live)configure# commit
crm(live)configure# exit

Now your cluster is up&running and your clients.conf will be in sync.

7 thoughts on “Configure Linux High Availability Cluster in Ubuntu with Corosync and DRBD file sync

    1. Hi, the HA config is indipendent from the service. You can configure freeradius, nginx (see other comment) or other services.


    1. Hi,
      to sync 2 MySQL istances you need to configure a MySQL cluster, due to possible DB issue while HA switching.
      I think the best think to do is to have the cluster that have Apache&Mysql (cluster configured) active on both nodes on same time and the VIP announced from the active node.
      You can sync with drbd apache dirs to keep consistency of user sessions in case of cluster switch.
      Never tried but I think this is the way


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