Erlang and high availability
Tue Jun 6 20:35:06 CEST 2006
since several years now I am dealing with scalability, concurrency, high
availability and fault tolerance problems using mainstream languages
like C/C++/JAVA etc. I think I have a quite reasonable understanding of
what can be achieved with those languages, and what their limitations are.
Although it is difficult to learn new tricks to an old dog, I really
like to see beyond my own nose. I am interest to solve these problems by
using truly different approaches. Erlang looks one of the most promizing
language in that regard.
For my first study case, I would like to consider the standard heartbeat
problem for a 2 nodes cluster. The cluster is composed of two physically
distinct nodes A and B. The nodes may possibly have different hardware
architecture/OS (to emphasize portability aspects). The 2 nodes are
connected via two physically different networks N and N'.
I'd like to implement a simple heartbeat mechanism that achieves the
(*) detect a network failure: no heartbeat received over network N
(resp. N') within a (pre-defined) period of time, but heartbeat
received over N' (resp. N) within the same period.
(*) detect a failure of the node A or B: no heartbeat from the
corresponding node over both network N and N' within a (pre-defined)
period of time.
Ideally, the heartbeat mechanism should use a lightweight protocol (like
The first idea that comes to my mind would be to use gen_udp and
implement the protocol from the ground. But that's something I'd like to
avoid, since I would have eventually have to manage the architecture
differences between the nodes.
Furthermore, I am wondering if they are perhaps neater solutions to this
problem. Indeed, Erlang has a built-in mechanism for exchanging message
between processes. Second, Erlang already performs heartbeat between
I would be thankful for any advises, links to documents or code that
would help me to make the first step in the right direction.
Thanks in advance,
N.B> My apologize if you have answered a similar question already.
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