Automatic failover overview

Automatic failover from the primary DSE OpsCenter instance to the backup OpsCenter instance provides high availability without any manual intervention or downtime.


The location of the opscenterd.conf file depends on the type of installation:
  • Package installations: /etc/opscenter/opscenterd.conf
  • Tarball installations: install_location/conf/opscenterd.conf


The location of the address.yaml file depends on the type of installation:
  • Package installations: /var/lib/datastax-agent/conf/address.yaml
  • Tarball installations: install_location/conf/address.yaml

Automatic failover provides continuous high availability of OpsCenter for managing mission-critical data on DataStax Enterprise clusters without manual intervention or downtime.

Currently, OpsCenter allows one backup instance to a primary instance in an active-passive configuration. The OpsCenter Failover Enabled Best Practice Rule recommends enabling failover. When no backup is configured, the rule fails and sends an alert. After enabling failover, the best practice rule passes the next time it runs if it detected a correctly configured backup OpsCenter. If the newly configured backup OpsCenter detects any DataStax Community or open source Cassandra clusters, it logs an entry and shuts itself down.
Note: If a non-DataStax Enterprise cluster is added after enabling automatic failover, OpsCenter fires an alert that automatic failover will not work and the backup OpsCenter instance shuts down.

Failover behavior

The primary and backup OpsCenter instances send and listen for heartbeat messages on stomp channels to communicate status with each other. The primary OpsCenter sends a heartbeat message regardless of whether a backup OpsCenter is configured. The primary OpsCenter listens for messages from the heartbeat reply stomp channel to determine if a backup is configured. The primary_opscenter_location configuration file you create on the backup OpsCenter instance contains the IP address of the primary OpsCenter instance that the backup OpsCenter monitors. The configured backup OpsCenter listens for heartbeat messages from the primary OpsCenter to determine whether the primary OpsCenter is up. If the backup OpsCenter detects no heartbeat from the primary OpsCenter during the configured window (60 seconds by default), the backup OpsCenter initiates the failover process and automatically assumes the responsibilities of the primary OpsCenter. The backup OpsCenter automatically reconfigures the agents by automatically changing stomp_interface in address.yaml to connect to the backup instance instead of the failing primary instance.
Warning: Ensure that address.yaml is not being managed by third-party Configuration Management. During failover, OpsCenter automatically changes stomp_interface in address.yaml to point to the backup opscenterd instance. If a separate Configuration Management system is managing address.yaml, that change might be undone when the Configuration Management system pushes its next update.

Failover recovery

After a failover, the former backup OpsCenter that took over as primary remains the primary OpsCenter. At that point, configure another backup OpsCenter by recreating the primary_opscenter_location file that points the new backup instance to the IP address of the primary instance to monitor. If you are configuring the former primary OpsCenter as the new backup instance, ensure the server is healthy again before restarting the server.

Note: If a failover occurred due to a network split, the formerly primary OpsCenter must be manually shut down, and another backup configured when network connectivity has been restored. Upon startup, each OpsCenter instance generates a unique id (uuid), which is stored in the failover_id file. In the event of a network split, a failover_id uniquely identifies each OpsCenter to agents and prevents both OpsCenter machines from running operations post-failover, which could corrupt data. The location of failover_id file depends on the type of install and is configurable.

Failover aftereffects

After an automatic failover, minimal manual intervention if any is required for recovery, depending on the root cause of the failover and what processes were in progress at that time. Generally, the effects of failing over are similar to restarting OpsCenter, with a few notable exceptions:
  • Alerts - Trigger as normal. An exception is an alert firing and unfiring within the failover window; in which case the alert is never triggered.
  • Authentication - Logs out existing user sessions. User sessions do not persist. Users must log in again.
  • Backup - Skips a scheduled backup if it falls within the failover window. Backup does not occur until the next scheduled time.
  • Restore - Continues the restore operation if failover occurred mid-restore; however, the result of the restore cannot be communicated because the backup OpsCenter was unaware the restore transpired.
  • Repair Service - Resumes from the last saved state. Be sure to mirror the repair service directory. An OpsCenter instance failure does not affect repairs currently running on any nodes. New repairs do not continue until an automatic failover successfully completes or the OpsCenter instance that failed is brought up again.
  • Provisioning - Provisioning jobs that were in progress when the primary Lifecycle Manager fails attempt to complete on the primary, and may fail. Lifecycle Manager does not attempt to automatically resume jobs on the backup OpsCenter, but manually Running the job again allows the job to proceed to completion.

Troubleshooting failover

In most cases, the backup OpsCenter instance selects the correct IP address for reconfiguring agents after a failover as described in failover behavior. If for some reason the incorrect IP address is not automatically being selected to update all agents, explicitly set the report_interface property in opscenterd.conf on the backup OpsCenter instance.
Note: This workaround assumes the snitch is not Ec2MultiRegionSnitch.

Failover when upgrading OpsCenter

When failover is configured, there is a recommended process to follow when upgrading OpsCenter. For more information, see upgrading OpsCenter when failover is enabled.