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Multi

Riak allows you to run multiple backends within a single Riak cluster. Selecting the Multi backend enables you to use different storage backends for different buckets. Any combination of the three available backends—Bitcask, LevelDB, and Memory—can be used.

Configuring Multiple Backends

You can set up your cluster to use the Multi backend using Riak's configuration files.

storage_backend = multi
{riak_kv, [
    %% ...
    {storage_backend, riak_kv_multi_backend},
    %% ...
]},

Remember that you must stop and then re-start each node when you change storage backends or modify any other configuration.

Using Multiple Backends

In Riak 2.0 and later, we recommend using multiple backends by applying them to buckets using bucket types. Assuming that the cluster has already been configured to use the multi backend, this process involves three steps:

  1. Creating a bucket type that enables buckets of that type to use the desired backends
  2. Activating that bucket type
  3. Setting up your application to use that type

Let's say that we've set up our cluster to use the Multi backend and we want to use LevelDB and the Memory backend for different sets of data. First, we need to create two bucket types, one which sets the backend bucket property to leveldb and the other which sets that property to memory. All bucket type-related activity is performed through the riak-admin command interface.

We'll call our bucket types leveldb_backend and memory_backend, but you can use whichever names you wish.

riak-admin bucket-type create leveldb_backend '{"props":{"backend":"leveldb"}}'
riak-admin bucket-type create memory_backend '{"props":{"backend":"memory"}}'

Then, we must activate those bucket types so that they can be used in our cluster:

riak-admin bucket-type activate leveldb_backend
riak-admin bucket-type activate memory_backend

Once those types have been activated, any objects stored in buckets bearing the type leveldb_backend will be stored in LevelDB, whereas all objects stored in buckets of the type memory_backend will be stored in the Memory backend.

More information can be found in our documentation on using bucket types.

Configuring Multiple Backends

Once you've set up your cluster to use multiple backends, you can configure each backend on its own. All configuration options available for LevelDB, Bitcask, and Memory are all available to you when using the Multi backend.

Using the Newer Configuration System

If you are using the newer, riak.conf-based configuration system, you can configure the backends by prefacing each configuration with multi_backend.

Here is an example of the general form for configuring multiple backends:

multi_backend.$name.$setting_name = setting

If you are using, for example, the LevelDB and Bitcask backends and wish to set LevelDB's bloomfilter setting to off and the Bitcask backend's io_mode setting to nif, you would do that as follows:

multi_backend.leveldb.bloomfilter = off
multi_backend.bitcask.io_mode = nif

Using the Older Configuration System

If you are using the older, app.config-based configuration system, configuring multiple backends involves adding one or more backend- specific sections to your riak_kv settings (in addition to setting the storage_backend setting to riak_kv_multi_backend, as shown above).

Note: If you are defining multiple file-based backends of the same type, each of these must have a separate data_root directory defined.

While all configuration parameters can be placed anywhere within the riak_kv section of app.config, in general we recommend that you place them in the section containing other backend-related settings to keep the settings organized.

Below is the general form for your app.config file:

{riak_kv, [
    %% ...
    {multi_backend_default, <<"bitcask_mult">>},
    {multi_backend, [
        %% Here's where you set the individual multiplexed backends
        {<<"bitcask_mult">>,  riak_kv_bitcask_backend, [
                         %% bitcask configuration
                         {data_root, "/var/lib/riak/bitcask_mult/"},
                         {config1, ConfigValue1},
                         {config2, ConfigValue2}
        ]},
        {<<"bitcask_expiry_mult">>,  riak_kv_bitcask_backend, [
                         %% bitcask configuration
                         {data_root, "/var/lib/riak/bitcask_expiry_mult/"},
                         {expiry_secs, 86400},
                         {config1, ConfigValue1},
                         {config2, ConfigValue2}
        ]},
        {<<"eleveldb_mult">>, riak_kv_eleveldb_backend, [
                         %% eleveldb configuration
                         {config1, ConfigValue1},
                         {config2, ConfigValue2}
        ]},
        {<<"second_eleveldb_mult">>,  riak_kv_eleveldb_backend, [
                         %% eleveldb with a different configuration
                         {config1, ConfigValue1},
                         {config2, ConfigValue2}
        ]},
        {<<"memory_mult">>,   riak_kv_memory_backend, [
                         %% memory configuration
                         {config1, ConfigValue1},
                         {config2, ConfigValue2}
        ]}
    ]},
    %% ...
]},

Note that in each of the subsections of the multi_backend setting, the name of each backend you wish to configure can be anything you would like. Directly after naming the backend, you must specify which of the backends corresponds to that name, i.e. riak_kv_bitcask_backend, riak_kv_eleveldb_backend, or riak_kv_memory_backend. Once you have done that, the various configurations for each named backend can be set as objects in an Erlang list.

Example Configuration

Imagine that you are using both Bitcask and LevelDB in your cluster, and you would like storage to default to Bitcask. The following configuration would create two backend configurations, named bitcask_mult and leveldb_mult, respectively, while also setting the data directory for each backend and specifying that bitcask_mult is the default.

storage_backend = multi

multi_backend.bitcask_mult.storage_backend = bitcask
multi_backend.bitcask_mult.bitcask.data_root = /var/lib/riak/bitcask_mult

multi_backend.leveldb_mult.storage_backend = leveldb
multi_backend.leveldb_mult.leveldb.data_root = /var/lib/riak/leveldb_mult

multi_backend.default = bitcask_mult
{riak_kv, [
    %% ...
    {multi_backend_default, <<"bitcask_mult">>},
    {multi_backend, [
        {<<"bitcask_mult", riak_kv_bitcask_backend, [
            {data_root, "/var/lib/riak/bitcask"}
        ]},
        {<<"leveldb_mult", riak_kv_eleveldb_backend, [
            {data_root, "/var/lib/riak/leveldb"}
        ]}
    ]}
    %% ...
]}

Multi Backend Memory Use

Each Riak storage backend has settings for configuring how much memory the backend can use, e.g. caching for LevelDB or for the entire set of data for the Memory backend. Each of these backends suggests allocating up to 50% of available memory for this purpose. When using the Multi backend, make sure that the sum of all backend memory use is at 50% or less. For example, using three backends with each set to 50% memory usage will inevitably lead to memory problems.