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1.3. Pacemaker Architecture

At the highest level, the cluster is made up of three pieces:
Conceptual overview of the cluster stack
Figure 1.1. Conceptual Stack Overview

When combined with Corosync, Pacemaker also supports popular open source cluster filesystems. [2]
Due to recent standardization within the cluster filesystem community, they make use of a common distributed lock manager which makes use of Corosync for its messaging capabilities and Pacemaker for its membership (which nodes are up/down) and fencing services.
The Pacemaker StackThe Pacemaker stack when running on Corosync
Figure 1.2. The Pacemaker Stack

1.3.1. Internal Components

Pacemaker itself is composed of four key components (illustrated below in the same color scheme as the previous diagram):
  • CIB (aka. Cluster Information Base)
  • CRMd (aka. Cluster Resource Management daemon)
  • PEngine (aka. PE or Policy Engine)
Subsystems of a Pacemaker cluster running on Corosync
Figure 1.3. Internal Components

The CIB uses XML to represent both the cluster’s configuration and current state of all resources in the cluster. The contents of the CIB are automatically kept in sync across the entire cluster and are used by the PEngine to compute the ideal state of the cluster and how it should be achieved.
This list of instructions is then fed to the DC (Designated Co-ordinator). Pacemaker centralizes all cluster decision making by electing one of the CRMd instances to act as a master. Should the elected CRMd process, or the node it is on, fail… a new one is quickly established.
The DC carries out the PEngine’s instructions in the required order by passing them to either the LRMd (Local Resource Management daemon) or CRMd peers on other nodes via the cluster messaging infrastructure (which in turn passes them on to their LRMd process).
The peer nodes all report the results of their operations back to the DC and based on the expected and actual results, will either execute any actions that needed to wait for the previous one to complete, or abort processing and ask the PEngine to recalculate the ideal cluster state based on the unexpected results.
In some cases, it may be necessary to power off nodes in order to protect shared data or complete resource recovery. For this Pacemaker comes with STONITHd. STONITH is an acronym for Shoot-The-Other-Node-In-The-Head and is usually implemented with a remote power switch. In Pacemaker, STONITH devices are modeled as resources (and configured in the CIB) to enable them to be easily monitored for failure, however STONITHd takes care of understanding the STONITH topology such that its clients simply request a node be fenced and it does the rest.

[2] Even though Pacemaker also supports Heartbeat, the filesystems need to use the stack for messaging and membership and Corosync seems to be what they’re standardizing on. Technically it would be possible for them to support Heartbeat as well, however there seems little interest in this.