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 a secure multi-node CockroachDB cluster on Amazon's AWS EC2 platform, using AWS's managed load balancing service to distribute client traffic.

If you are only testing CockroachDB, or you are not concerned with protecting network communication with TLS encryption, you can use an insecure cluster instead. Select Insecure above for instructions.

Requirements

  • Locally, you must have CockroachDB installed, which you'll use to generate and manage your deployment's certificates.

  • In AWS, 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

  • 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 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. Generate certificates

Locally, you'll need to create the following certificates and keys:

  • A certificate authority (CA) key pair (ca.crt and ca.key).
  • A node key pair for each node, issued to its IP addresses and any common names the machine uses, as well as to the IP address provisioned for the AWS load balancer (node.crt and node.key)
  • A client key pair for the root user (client.root.crt and client.root.key).
Tip:
Before beginning, it's useful to collect each of your machine's internal and external IP addresses, as well as any server names you want to issue certificates for.
  1. Install CockroachDB on your local machine, if you haven't already.

  2. Create two directories:

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    $ mkdir certs
    
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    $ mkdir my-safe-directory
    
    • certs: You'll generate your CA certificate and all node and client certificates and keys in this directory and then upload some of the files to your nodes.
    • my-safe-directory: You'll generate your CA key in this directory and then reference the key when generating node and client certificates. After that, you'll keep the key safe and secret; you will not upload it to your nodes.
  3. Create the CA certificate and key:

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    $ cockroach cert create-ca \
    --certs-dir=certs \
    --ca-key=my-safe-directory/ca.key
    
  4. Create the certificate and key for the first node, issued to all common names you might use to refer to the node as well as to addresses provisioned for the AWS load balancer:

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    $ cockroach cert create-node \
    <node1 internal IP address> \
    <node1 external IP address> \
    <node1 hostname>  \
    <other common names for node1> \
    localhost \
    127.0.0.1 \
    <load balancer IP address> \
    <load balancer hostname> \
    --certs-dir=certs \
    --ca-key=my-safe-directory/ca.key
    
    • <node1 internal IP address> which is the instance's Internal IP.
    • <node1 external IP address> which is the instance's External IP address.
    • <node1 hostname> which is the instance's hostname. You can find this by SSHing into a server and running hostname. For many AWS EC2 servers, this is ip- followed by the internal IP address delimited by dashes; e.g., ip-172-31-18-168.
    • <other common names for node1> which include any domain names you point to the instance.
    • localhost and 127.0.0.1
    • <load balancer IP address>
    • <load balancer hostname>
  5. Upload certificates to the first node:

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    # Create the certs directory:
    $ ssh -i <path to AWS .pem> <username>@<node1 external IP address> "mkdir certs"
    
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    # Upload the CA certificate and node certificate and key:
    $ scp -i <path to AWS .pem>\
    certs/ca.crt \
    certs/node.crt \
    certs/node.key \
    <username>@<node1 external IP address>:~/certs
    
  6. Delete the local copy of the node certificate and key:

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    $ rm certs/node.crt certs/node.key
    
    Note:
    This is necessary because the certificates and keys for additional nodes will also be named node.crt and node.key As an alternative to deleting these files, you can run the next cockroach cert create-node commands with the --overwrite flag.
  7. Create the certificate and key for the second node, issued to all common names you might use to refer to the node as well as to addresses provisioned for the AWS load balancer:

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    $ cockroach cert create-node \
    <node2 internal IP address> \
    <node2 external IP address> \
    <node2 hostname>  \
    <other common names for node2> \
    localhost \
    127.0.0.1 \
    <load balancer IP address> \
    <load balancer hostname> \
    --certs-dir=certs \
    --ca-key=my-safe-directory/ca.key
    
  8. Upload certificates to the second node:

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    # Create the certs directory:
    $ ssh -i <path to AWS .pem> <username>@<node2 external IP address> "mkdir certs"
    
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    # Upload the CA certificate and node certificate and key:
    $ scp -i <path to AWS .pem>\
    certs/ca.crt \
    certs/node.crt \
    certs/node.key \
    <username>@<node2 external IP address>:~/certs
    
  9. Repeat steps 6 - 8 for each additional node.

  10. Create a client certificate and key for the root user:

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    $ cockroach cert create-client \
    root \
    --certs-dir=certs \
    --ca-key=my-safe-directory/ca.key
    
    Tip:
    In later steps, you'll use the root user's certificate to run cockroach client commands from your local machine. If you might also want to run cockroach client commands directly on a node (e.g., for local debugging), you'll need to copy the root user's certificate and key to that node as well.

Step 5. Start the first node

  1. SSH to your instance:

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

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    # Get the latest CockroachDB tarball.
    $ wget https://binaries.cockroachdb.com/cockroach-v1.0.7.linux-amd64.tgz
    
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    # Extract the binary.
    $ tar -xf cockroach-v1.0.7.linux-amd64.tgz  \
    --strip=1 cockroach-v1.0.7.linux-amd64/cockroach
    
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    # Move the binary.
    $ sudo mv cockroach /usr/local/bin
    
  3. Start a new CockroachDB cluster with a single node, specifying the location of certificates and the address at which other nodes can reach it:

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    $ cockroach start --background \
    --certs-dir=certs \
    --advertise-host=<node1 internal IP address>
    

Step 6. 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 your instance:

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

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    # Get the latest CockroachDB tarball.
    $ wget https://binaries.cockroachdb.com/cockroach-v1.0.7.linux-amd64.tgz
    
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    # Extract the binary.
    $ tar -xf cockroach-v1.0.7.linux-amd64.tgz  \
    --strip=1 cockroach-v1.0.7.linux-amd64/cockroach
    
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    # 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:

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

Step 7. 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 locally as follows:

  1. On your local machine, connect the built-in SQL client to node 1, with the --host flag set to the external IP address of node 1 and security flags pointing to the CA cert and the client cert and key:

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    $ cockroach sql \
    --certs-dir=certs \
    --host=<node1 external IP address>
    
  2. Create a securenodetest database:

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    > CREATE DATABASE securenodetest;
    
  3. Use CTRL-D, CTRL-C, or \q to exit the SQL shell.

  4. Connect the built-in SQL client to node 2, with the --host flag set to the external IP address of node 2 and security flags pointing to the CA cert and the client cert and key:

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    $ cockroach sql \
    --certs-dir=certs \
    --host=<node2 external IP address>
    
  5. View the cluster's databases, which will include securenodetest:

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

Step 8. 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, use the built-in SQL client locally as follows:

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

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    $ cockroach sql \
    --certs-dir=certs \
    --host=<load balancer IP address>
    
  2. View the cluster's databases:

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    > 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.

  3. Check which node you were redirected to:

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

Step 9. Monitor the cluster

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

Note:
Note that your browser will consider the CockroachDB-created certificate invalid; you’ll need to click through a warning message to get to the UI.

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 securenodetest 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 10. 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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