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Introduction to Replication

Replication allows you to replicate data onto another machine. It forms the base of all disaster recovery and failover features ArangoDB offers.

ArangoDB offers asynchronous and synchronous replication, depending on which type of arangodb deployment you are using. Since ArangoDB 3.2 the synchronous replication replication is the only replication type used in a cluster whereas the asynchronous replication is only available between single-server nodes. Future versions of ArangoDB may reintroduce asynchronous replication for the cluster.

We will describe pros and cons of each of them in the following sections.

Asynchronous replication

In ArangoDB any write operation will be logged to the write-ahead log. When using Asynchronous replication slaves will connect to a master and apply all the events from the log in the same order locally. After that, they will have the same state of data as the master database.

Synchronous replication

Synchronous replication only works within a cluster and is typically used for mission critical data which must be accessible at all times. Synchronous replication generally stores a copy of a shard’s data on another db server and keeps it in sync. Essentially, when storing data after enabling synchronous replication the cluster will wait for all replicas to write all the data before greenlighting the write operation to the client. This will naturally increase the latency a bit, since one more network hop is needed for each write. However, it will enable the cluster to immediately fail over to a replica whenever an outage has been detected, without losing any committed data, and mostly without even signaling an error condition to the client.

Synchronous replication is organized such that every shard has a leader and r-1 followers, where r denoted the replication factor. The number of followers can be controlled using the replicationFactor parameter whenever you create a collection, the replicationFactor parameter is the total number of copies being kept, that is, it is one plus the number of followers.

Satellite collections

Satellite collections are synchronously replicated collections having a dynamic replicationFactor. They will replicate all data to all database servers allowing the database servers to join data locally instead of doing heavy network operations.

Satellite collections are an enterprise only feature.