Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm using a dual-head ZFS-backed NAS for high availability cluster shared storage, based on Nexenta's recommended architecture as seen here:

enter image description here

The disks in 1 JBOD will store the database files for a single 4 TB Postgres database and the disks in the other JBOD store 20 TB of large raw binary flat files (cluster results for large stellar object collision simulations). In other words, the JBOD backing the Postgres files will handle mainly random workloads while the JBOD backing the simulation results will handle mainly serial workloads. Both head nodes have 256 GB of memory and 16 cores. The cluster has about 200 cores each maintaining a Postgres session, so I expect about 200 concurrent sessions.

I'm wondering if it's wise in my setup to have the ZFS head nodes act simultaneously as a mirrored pair of Postgres database servers for my cluster? The only drawbacks I can see are:

  1. Less flexibility for scaling my infrastructure.
  2. Slightly lower level of redundancy.
  3. Limited memory and CPU resources for Postgres.

However, the advantage I see is that ZFS is pretty dumb about automatic failover anyway and I don't have to spend a lot of work getting each Postgres database server to figure out if a head node has failed since it will fail together with the head node.

share|improve this question
PostgreSQL cannot be run in any form of shared-storage mode. Attempts to do so will fail. Attempts to bypass the protections to stop you doing it (like moving/hiding will result in severe data corruption. – Craig Ringer Jun 21 '14 at 7:48
@CraigRinger Hm, is this contradictory to – elleciel Jun 21 '14 at 8:00
You can run it if you absolutely guarantee that only one postmaster may ever be accessing the data directory at the same time. Good STONITH / fencing is an absolute requirement to avoid big-time data corruption. Personally there's no way I'd do it. This also eliminates the benefits you're talking about - figuring out which is the main/live server automatically, etc - because you have to manage failover. – Craig Ringer Jun 21 '14 at 8:03
I've revised the wiki page to make it clearer; thanks for pointing it out. – Craig Ringer Jun 21 '14 at 8:12
This doesn't make sense. Nexenta's HA solution is leveraging RSF-1 clustering. It sounds like you're doing this with ZFS on Linux without the RSF-1 piece. Mind you, ZFS on Linux doesn't really have a clustering option, so the Nexenta reference doesn't apply. What do you have to gain by having two head nodes? – ewwhite Jun 21 '14 at 10:58

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.