To start a new CockroachDB cluster, or add a node to an existing cluster, run the cockroach start command with appropriate flags.

Synopsis

# Start the first node of a cluster:
$ cockroach start <flags, excluding --join>

# Add a node to a cluster:
$ cockroach start <flags, including --join>

# View help:
$ cockroach start --help

Flags

The start command supports the following flags, as well as logging flags. When adding a node to an existing cluster, include the --join flag.

Flag Description
--advertise-host The hostname or IP address to advertise to other CockroachDB nodes. If it is a hostname, it must be resolvable from all nodes; if it is an IP address, it must be routable from all nodes.

When this flag is not set, the node advertises the address in the --host flag.
--attrs Arbitray strings, separated by colons, specifying node capability, which might include specialized hardware or number of cores, for example:

--attrs=ram:64gb

These can be used to influence the location of data replicas. See Configure Replication Zones for full details.
--background Set this to start the node in the background. This is better than appending & to the command because control is returned to the shell only once the node is ready to accept requests.
--cache The total size for caches, shared evenly if there are multiple storage devices. This can be in any bytes-based unit, for example:

--cache=1000000000 ----> 1000000000 bytes
--cache=1GB ----> 1000000000 bytes
--cache=1GiB ----> 1073741824 bytes

Default: 25% of total system memory (excluding swap), or 512MiB if the memory size cannot be determined
--certs-dir The path to the certificate directory. The directory must contain valid certificates if running in secure mode.

Env Variable: COCKROACH_CERTS_DIR
Default: ${HOME}/.cockroach-certs/
--host The hostname or IP address to listen on for intra-cluster and client communication. The node will also advertise itself to other nodes using this address only if --advertise-host is not specified; in this case, if it is a hostname, it must be resolvable from all nodes, and if it is an IP address, it must be routable from all nodes.

Default: Listen on all interfaces, but this flag can be set to listen on an external address
--http-host The hostname or IP address to listen on for Admin UI HTTP requests.

Default: same as --host
--http-port The port to bind to for Admin UI HTTP requests.

Default: 8080
--insecure Run in insecure mode. If this flag is not set, the --certs-dir flag must point to valid certificates.

Default: false
--join
-j
The address for connecting the node to an existing cluster. When starting the first node, leave this flag out. When starting subsequent nodes, set this flag to the address of any existing node.

Optionally, you can specify the addresses of multiple existing nodes as a comma-separated list, using multiple --join flags, or using a combination of these approaches, for example:

--join=localhost:1234,localhost:2345
--join=localhost:1234 --join=localhost:2345
--join=localhost:1234,localhost:2345 --join=localhost:3456
--locality Arbitrary key-value pairs that describe the locality of the node. Locality might include country, region, datacenter, rack, etc.

CockroachDB attempts to spread replicas evenly across the cluster based on locality, with the order determining the priority. The keys themselves and the order of key-value pairs must be the same on all nodes, for example:

--locality=region=east,datacenter=us-east-1
--locality=region=west,datacenter=us-west-1

These can be used to influence the location of data replicas. See Configure Replication Zones for full details.
--max-sql-memory The total size for storage of temporary data for SQL clients, including prepared queries and intermediate data rows during query execution. This can be in any bytes-based unit, for example:

--max-sql-memory=10000000000 ----> 1000000000 bytes
--max-sql-memory=1GB ----> 1000000000 bytes
--max-sql-memory=1GiB ----> 1073741824 bytes

Default: 25% of total system memory (excluding swap), or 512MiB if the memory size cannot be determined
--pid-file The file to which the node’s process ID will be written on successful startup. When this flag is not set, the process ID is not written to file.
--port
-p
The port to bind to for internal and client communication.

Env Variable: COCKROACH_PORT
Default: 26257
--raft-tick-interval CockroachDB uses the Raft consensus algorithm to replicate data consistently according to your replication zone configuration. For each replica group, an elected leader heartbeats its followers and keeps their logs replicated. When followers fail to receive heartbeats, a new leader is elected.

This flag is factored into defining the interval at which replica leaders heartbeat followers. It is not recommended to change the default, but if changed, every node in the cluster must be stopped and restarted with the identical value.

Default: 200ms
--store
-s
The file path to a storage device and, optionally, store attributes and maximum size. When using multiple storage devices for a node, this flag must be specified separately for each device, for example:

--store=/mnt/ssd01 --store=/mnt/ssd02

For more details, see store below.

store

The store flag supports the following fields. Note that commas are used to separate fields, and so are forbidden in all field values.

In-memory storage is not suitable for production deployments at this time.
Field Description
type For in-memory storage, set this field to mem; otherwise, leave this field out. The path field must not be set when type=mem.
path The file path to the storage device. When not setting attr or size, the path field label can be left out:

--store=/mnt/ssd01

When either of those fields are set, however, the path field label must be used:

--store=path=/mnt/ssd01,size=20GB

Default: cockroach-data
attrs Arbitrary strings, separated by colons, specifying disk type or capability. These can be used to influence the location of data replicas. See Configure Replication Zones for full details.

In most cases, node-level --locality or --attrs are preferable to store-level attributes, but this field can be used to match capabilities for storage of individual databases or tables. For example, an OLTP database would probably want to allocate space for its tables only on solid state devices, whereas append-only time series might prefer cheaper spinning drives. Typical attributes include whether the store is flash (ssd) or spinny disk (hdd), as well as speeds and other specs, for example:

--store=path=/mnt/hda1,attrs=hdd:7200rpm
size The maximum size allocated to the node. When this size is reached, CockroachDB attempts to rebalance data to other nodes with available capacity. When there’s no capacity elsewhere, this limit will be exceeded. Also, data may be written to the node faster than the cluster can rebalance it away; in this case, as long as capacity is available elsewhere, CockroachDB will gradually rebalance data down to the store limit.

The size can be specified either in a bytes-based unit or as a percentage of hard drive space, for example:

--store=path=/mnt/ssd01,size=10000000000 ----> 10000000000 bytes
--store-path=/mnt/ssd01,size=20GB ----> 20000000000 bytes
--store-path=/mnt/ssd01,size=20GiB ----> 21474836480 bytes
--store-path=/mnt/ssd01,size=0.02TiB ----> 21474836480 bytes
--store=path=/mnt/ssd01,size=20% ----> 20% of available space
--store=path=/mnt/ssd01,size=0.2 ----> 20% of available space
--store=path=/mnt/ssd01,size=.2 ----> 20% of available space

Default: 100%

For an in-memory store, the size field is required and must be set to the true maximum bytes or percentage of available memory, for example:

--store=type=mem,size=20GB
--store=type=mem,size=90%

Standard Output

When you run cockroach start, some helpful details are printed to the standard output:

CockroachDB node starting at 2017-04-20 16:35:27.89629114 -0400 EDT
build:      CCL beta-20170420 @ 2017/04/20 20:27:23 (go1.8.1)
admin:      http://ROACHs-MBP:8080
sql:        postgresql:[email protected]:26257?sslmode=disable
logs:       node1/logs
attrs:      ram:64gb
locality:   datacenter=us-east1
store[0]:   path=node1,attrs=ssd
status:     initialized new cluster
clusterID:  7b9329d0-580d-4035-8319-53ba8b74b213
nodeID:     1
These details are also written to the INFO log in the /logs directory in case you need to refer to them at a later time.
Field Description
build The version of CockroachDB you are running.
admin The URL for accessing the Admin UI.
sql The connection URL for your client.
logs The directory containing debug log data.
attrs If node-level attributes were specified in the --attrs flag, they are listed in this field. These details are potentially useful for configuring replication zones.
locality If values describing the locality of the node were specified in the --locality field, they are listed in this field. These details are potentially useful for configuring replication zones.
store[n] The directory containing store data, where [n] is the index of the store, e.g., store[0] for the first store, store[1] for the second store.

If store-level attributes were specified in the attrs field of the --store flag, they are listed in this field as well. These details are potentially useful for configuring replication zones.
status Whether the node is the first in the cluster (initialized new cluster), joined an existing cluster for the first time (initialized new node, joined pre-existing cluster), or rejoined an existing cluster (restarted pre-existing node).
clusterID The ID of the cluster.

When trying to join a node to an existing cluster, if this ID is different than the ID of the existing cluster, the node has started a new cluster. This may be due to conflicting information in the node’s data directory. For additional guidance, see Troubleshooting.
nodeID The ID of the node.

Examples

Start a local cluster

This example demonstrates starting up three nodes locally. See Start a Cluster and Secure a Cluster for a detailed walkthrough.

# Insecure:
$ cockroach start --insecure
$ cockroach start --insecure --store=node2 --port=26258 --http-port=8081 --join=localhost:26257
$ cockroach start --insecure --store=node3 --port=26259 --http-port=8082 --join=localhost:26257

# Secure:
$ cockroach start --certs-dir=certs --http-host=localhost --background
$ cockroach start --certs-dir=certs --store=node2 --port=26258 --http-host=localhost --http-port=8081 --join=localhost:26257
$ cockroach start --certs-dir=certs --store=node3 --port=26259 --http-host=localhost --http-port=8082 --join=localhost:26257

Start a distributed cluster

This example demonstrates starting up three nodes on different machines. Because each is on a different machine, default ports can be used without causing conflict. See Manual Deployment for a detailed walkthrough.

# Insecure:
$ cockroach start --insecure --host=<node1-hostname>
$ cockroach start --insecure --host=<node2-hostname> --join=<node1-hostname>:26257
$ cockroach start --insecure --host=<node3-hostname> --join=<node1-hostname>:26257

# Secure:
$ cockroach start --certs-dir=certs --host=<node1-hostname> --http-host=<private-address>
$ cockroach start --certs-dir=certs --host=<node2-hostname> --http-host=<private-address> --join=<node1-hostname>:26257
$ cockroach start --certs-dir=certs --host=<node3-hostname> --http-host=<private-address> --join=<node1-hostname>:26257

See Also

Other Cockroach Commands



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