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Considerations in Evolving a Clustered Deploymentnew.png

Authors: Dinesh Kumar B
Build basis: ELM 7.0 and higher

ETM (earlier known as RQM) Clustering was introduced in v7.0. Clustering EWM (earlier known as RTC) is been available since v6.0.5. This article is for those who have EWM Cluster in their Deployment and looking to evolve this deployment by clustering ETM.

With RTC/EWM clustered, the clustering specific components namely - Distributed Cache Microservice (DCM), Cluster Load Balancer (HAProxy) and MQTT Broker (IBM IOT MessageSight Server) would already be part of that deployment.

“Can these clustering related components be shared among multiple applications clusters?”
Quick answer is "Technically Yes! but NOT recommended for Production"

This article touches upon considerations to make, for either sharing or having dedicated DCM and MQTT components between multiple application clusters.

DCM Considerations

This section talks about considerations to make before sharing DCM among multiple applications clusters

Since DCM Cache has the distributed objects prefixed with the MQTT Endpoint Port number. When multiple application clusters are connected to the common DCM, the value used for “Unique cluster name” in the application’s advanced properties page is seen prefixed to the individual objects. This helps to uniquely identify the objects w.r.to their cluster in the common cache.
The distributeddata directory also maintains this distinction by creating directories that corresponds to the "Unique cluster name". When "Unique cluster name" is not used, the port number of the MQTT Endpoint used by the application is used instead. So, if you are to cleanup DCM cache for a specific application cluster, you can do so by restarting the nodes of that cluster and clearing content of the corresponding folder under distributed data.

First of the considerations comes from our Tests. Tests show that for a 5 node cluster meant to handle 2500u concurrency, the order of cluster related calls reaching this service is close to 8.5 Millions! As more and more nodes are added or more and more applications are clustered, due to multifold increase in cluster traffic, this model of "common DCM for all" is bound to become potential single point of failure.

Second consideration is from Monitoring perspective. When the common DCM shows up as a performance bottleneck, it may not be possible to point out the contributing cluster. Further, if a common DCM is used, DCM performance health metrics can be visualized through only one of the applications. If that application cluster is down, visibility into DCM performance metrics is lost, though the other application clusters are still alive.

Third Consideration from Upgrading Individual Apps perspective. The version of DCM must match the version of the clustered ELM application. Sharing the DCM will prevent upgrading individual applications.

Lastly from Maintenance Perspective, you need to also consider the fact that a shared DCM brought down for maintenance, brings all clustered apps down.

While it’s possible to have a common DCM for multiple Application Clusters, Dedicated DCM for each Clustered Application is how we envisioned the cluster evolution to happen and would be the recommended approach.

The main wiki article for clustering also re-iterates this in its statement “For optimal performance, the DCM should be moved to a dedicated machine.”

Important from configuration perspective is to know that with Dedicated DCM model, there will be multiple DCM's registered to a common JAS. So, the crucial step when adding newer DCM is to identify it with a unique Client ID. Once a unique ClientID has been specified, you could continue with "Distributed Cache Microservice (DCM) for clustered applications (#step14)" of the Interactive Installation Guide.

MQTT Broker Endpoint Considerations

This section brings up the considerations to make before using a common MQTT Broker Endpoint among multiple applications clusters.

IBM IoT MessageSight Server, our preferred MQTT Broker allows to create multiple Endpoints on a single MessageSight Server. Each identified with a unique Port and characterized by a set of Connection Policy, Messaging Policy and Security Profiles.

MessageSight is known to be capable of handling higher loads than typical of ELM apps. A common MQTT Endpoint can be used for multiple ELM Application Clusters but a unique Endpoint for each application cluster would be recommended. The Unique Cluster Name advanced property on the application admin page is the key to maintain the messages in a cluster-specific way. Typical of any MQTT Broker use, the size of the messages exchanged between MQTT Server and the Nodes is small. With every new node added into the cluster, and with the Publish Subscribe model used my MQTT, there will be multifold increase in communicated messages. Hence, sharing the endpoint should be considered as an option for Evaluation or Training purposes only and for Production, use Unique Endpoints for each cluster of applications.

The unique MQTT Broker Endpoint can be obtained in one of the following ways :
- through a new MQTT Endpoint on a common MQTT Server With this approach you may be tempted to reuse the Messaging and Connection Policies and Security Profiles already created. However, to keep things discrete, and help troubleshooting scenarios, we recommend creating a unique Messaging Hub, with its own connection and messaging policies, and security profiles for each Endpoint.
- through an unique MQTT Server for each Clustered Application With a unique MQTT Server for each Clustered Application, a complete Messaging Hub would be created afresh and allows you to create Cluster specific limits and constraints through the dedicated connection and messaging policies. This will keep the MQTT Server discrete to each deployment and would be the most performant option.

Creating an MQTT Endpoint for use in an ELM Cluster is detailed under "Set up IBM IoT MessageSight (#step8)" of the Interactive Installation Guide.

Related topics: Deployment web home, Considerations for HAProxy vs IHS, IBM MessageSight deployment options with IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management solution

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Deployment.ConsiderationsWhileEvolvingClusteredDeployment moved from Deployment.NewApplicationClusters on 2020-10-23 - 08:44 by DineshKumar -
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