Warning:
This version of CockroachDB is no longer supported. Cockroach Labs supports the current stable release and two releases prior. Please use one of these supported versions.

This page shows you how to manually deploy an insecure multi-node CockroachDB cluster on Amazon's AWS EC2 platform, using AWS's managed load balancing service to distribute client traffic.

Warning:
If you plan to use CockroachDB in production, we strongly recommend using a secure cluster instead. Select Secure above for instructions.

Requirements

You must have SSH access (key pairs/SSH login) to each machine with root or sudo privileges. This is necessary for distributing binaries and starting CockroachDB.

Recommendations

  • If you plan to use CockroachDB in production, we recommend using a secure cluster instead. Using an insecure cluster comes with risks:

    • Your cluster is open to any client that can access any node's IP addresses.
    • Any user, even root, can log in without providing a password.
    • Any user, connecting as root, can read or write any data in your cluster.
    • There is no network encryption or authentication, and thus no confidentiality.
  • For guidance on cluster topology, clock synchronization, and file descriptor limits, see Recommended Production Settings.

  • All instances running CockroachDB should be members of the same Security Group.

  • Decide how you want to access your Admin UI:

    • Only from specific IP addresses, which requires you to set firewall rules to allow communication on port 8080 (documented on this page)
    • Using an SSH tunnel, which requires you to use --http-host=localhost when starting your nodes

Step 1. Configure your network

CockroachDB requires TCP communication on two ports:

  • 26257 for inter-node communication (i.e., working as a cluster), for applications to connect to the load balancer, and for routing from the load balancer to nodes
  • 8080 for exposing your Admin UI

You can create these rules using Security Groups' Inbound Rules.

Inter-node and load balancer-node communication

Field Recommended Value
Type Custom TCP Rule
Protocol TCP
Port Range 26257
Source The name of your security group (e.g., sg-07ab277a)

Admin UI

Field Recommended Value
Type Custom TCP Rule
Protocol TCP
Port Range 8080
Source Your network's IP ranges

Application data

Field Recommended Value
Type Custom TCP Rules
Protocol TCP
Port Range 26257
Source Your application's IP ranges

Step 2. Create instances

Create an instance for each node you plan to have in your cluster. We recommend:

  • Running at least 3 CockroachDB nodes to ensure survivability.
  • Selecting the same continent for all of your instances for best performance.

Step 3. Set up load balancing

Each CockroachDB node is an equally suitable SQL gateway to your cluster, but to ensure client performance and reliability, it's important to use load balancing:

  • Performance: Load balancers spread client traffic across nodes. This prevents any one node from being overwhelmed by requests and improves overall cluster performance (queries per second).

  • Reliability: Load balancers decouple client health from the health of a single CockroachDB node. In cases where a node fails, the load balancer redirects client traffic to available nodes.

AWS offers fully-managed load balancing to distribute traffic between instances.

  1. Add AWS load balancing. Be sure to:
    • Set forwarding rules to route TCP traffic from the load balancer's port 26257 to port 26257 on the node Droplets.
    • Configure health checks to use HTTP port 8080 and path /health.
  2. Note the provisioned IP Address for the load balancer. You'll use this later to test load balancing and to connect your application to the cluster.
Note:
If you would prefer to use HAProxy instead of AWS's managed load balancing, see Manual Deployment for guidance.

Step 4. Start the first node

  1. SSH to your instance:

    $ ssh -i <path to AWS .pem> <username>@<node1 external IP address>
    
  2. Install the latest CockroachDB binary:

    # Get the latest CockroachDB tarball.
    $ wget https://binaries.cockroachdb.com/cockroach-v1.0.7.linux-amd64.tgz
    
    # Extract the binary.
    $ tar -xf cockroach-v1.0.7.linux-amd64.tgz  \
    --strip=1 cockroach-v1.0.7.linux-amd64/cockroach
    
    # Move the binary.
    $ sudo mv cockroach /usr/local/bin
    
  3. Start a new CockroachDB cluster with a single node, which will communicate with other nodes on its internal IP address:

    $ cockroach start --insecure \
    --background
    

Step 5. Add nodes to the cluster

At this point, your cluster is live and operational but contains only a single node. Next, scale your cluster by setting up additional nodes that will join the cluster.

  1. SSH to another instance:

    $ ssh -i <path to AWS .pem> <username>@<additional node external IP address>
    
  2. Install CockroachDB from our latest binary:

    # Get the latest CockroachDB tarball.
    $ wget https://binaries.cockroachdb.com/cockroach-v1.0.7.linux-amd64.tgz
    
    # Extract the binary.
    $ tar -xf cockroach-v1.0.7.linux-amd64.tgz  \
    --strip=1 cockroach-v1.0.7.linux-amd64/cockroach
    
    # Move the binary.
    $ sudo mv cockroach /usr/local/bin
    
  3. Start a new node that joins the cluster using the first node's internal IP address:

    $ cockroach start --insecure \
    --background \
    --join=<node1 internal IP address>:26257
    
  4. Repeat these steps for each instance you want to use as a node.

Step 6. Test your cluster

CockroachDB replicates and distributes data for you behind-the-scenes and uses a Gossip protocol to enable each node to locate data across the cluster.

To test this, use the built-in SQL client as follows:

  1. SSH to your first node:

    $ ssh -i <path to AWS .pem> <username>@<node1 external IP address>
    
  2. Launch the built-in SQL client and create a database:

    $ cockroach sql --insecure
    
    > CREATE DATABASE insecurenodetest;
    
  3. In another terminal window, SSH to another node:

    $ ssh -i <path to AWS .pem> <username>@<node3 external IP address>
    
  4. Launch the built-in SQL client:

    $ cockroach sql --insecure
    
  5. View the cluster's databases, which will include insecurenodetest:

    > SHOW DATABASES;
    
    +--------------------+
    |      Database      |
    +--------------------+
    | crdb_internal      |
    | information_schema |
    | insecurenodetest   |
    | pg_catalog         |
    | system             |
    +--------------------+
    (5 rows)
    
  6. Use CTRL-D, CTRL-C, or \q to exit the SQL shell.

Step 7. Test load balancing

The AWS load balancer created in step 3 can serve as the client gateway to the cluster. Instead of connecting directly to a CockroachDB node, clients can connect to the load balancer, which will then redirect the connection to a CockroachDB node.

To test this, install CockroachDB locally and use the built-in SQL client as follows:

  1. Install CockroachDB on your local machine, if it's not there already.

  2. Launch the built-in SQL client, with the --host flag set to the load balancer's IP address:

    $ cockroach sql --insecure \
    --host=<load balancer IP address> \
    --port=26257
    
  3. View the cluster's databases:

    > SHOW DATABASES;
    
    +--------------------+
    |      Database      |
    +--------------------+
    | crdb_internal      |
    | information_schema |
    | insecurenodetest   |
    | pg_catalog         |
    | system             |
    +--------------------+
    (5 rows)
    

    As you can see, the load balancer redirected the query to one of the CockroachDB nodes.

  4. Check which node you were redirected to:

    > SELECT node_id FROM crdb_internal.node_build_info LIMIT 1;
    
    +---------+
    | node_id |
    +---------+
    |       3 |
    +---------+
    (1 row)
    
  5. Use CTRL-D, CTRL-C, or \q to exit the SQL shell.

Step 8. Monitor the cluster

View your cluster's Admin UI by going to http://<any node's external IP address>:8080.

On this page, verify that the cluster is running as expected:

  1. Click View nodes list on the right to ensure that all of your nodes successfully joined the cluster.

  2. Click the Databases tab on the left to verify that insecurenodetest is listed.

Tip:
You can also use Prometheus and other third-party, open source tools to monitor and visualize cluster metrics and send notifications based on specified rules. For more details, see Monitor CockroachDB with Prometheus.

Step 9. Use the database

Now that your deployment is working, you can:

  1. Implement your data model.
  2. Create users and grant them privileges.
  3. Connect your application. Be sure to connect your application to the AWS load balancer, not to a CockroachDB node.

See Also



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