A library for writing distributed systems that use a gossip protocol to communicate state management, consistent hash rings for sharding, and vector clocks for history.
JavaScript
Latest commit d4f1698 Oct 13, 2017 @kevinwilson541 kevinwilson541 2.0.1

README.md

Clusterluck

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Documentation

A library for writing distributed systems that use a gossip protocol to communicate state management, consistent hash rings for sharding, and vector clocks for history.

Install

$ npm install clusterluck

Dependencies

This module uses a native module called node-microtime for microsecond insert/update granularity for vector clocks, and by extension requires a C++-11 compatible compiler. The .travis.yml file lists g++-4.8 as an addon in response, but other compatible versions of g++ or clang should suffice. The following g++ compiler versions have been tested:

  • 6..
  • 4.8

Test

To run tests, you can use:

$ grunt test

or just:

$ mocha test

For code coverage information, you can use istanbul and run:

$ istanbul cover _mocha test

If istanbul isn't installed, just run:

$ npm install --global istanbul

Index

Usage

Clusterluck can be used as a module to write decentralized distributed systems with full-mesh IPC network topologies, or in isolation to use the consistent hash ring and vector clock data structures.

Creatings Clusters

To get started, we can use the following code:

const cl = require("clusterluck");

let node = cl.createCluster("foo", "localhost", 7022);
node.start("cookie", "ring", () => {
  console.log("Listening on port 7022!");
});

This will create a single node in cluster ring with name foo, using cookie cookie to sign messages within the cluster. If another program tries to communicate with this node, but doesn't sign requests with this cookie, the message will be ignored with an INVALID_CHECKSUM error emitted in the debug logs. When nodes are added to ring, each node will attempt to form TCP-based IPC connections to any new node added into the cluster. Similarly, each IPC server will generate new IPC-client connections. Each external connection will queue up messages if the socket goes down, sending all queued up messages once the socket reconnects. Once nodes are removed, both ends of the connection are closed forcibly.

In the background, several listeners attached to the network kernel for this node will be created, including a gossip ring listener and a command line server listener. In short, the command line server listener exists to handle requests made by the CLI tool under bin/cli.js, while the gossip ring listens for ring maniuplations on the cluster. On additions to the cluster, new IPC connections to external nodes will be created, and vice versa for removals from the cluster.

Manipulating Clusters

To manipulate the cluster, we interact with the gossip property of the cluster node. For example:

// meeting another node
let gossip = node.gossip();
let kernel = node.kernel();
let nNode = new Node("bar", "localhost", 7023);
gossip.meet(nNode);
// wait some time, eventually the node will show up in this node's ring...
assert.ok(gossip.ring().has(nNode));

// inserting nodes
gossip.insert(nNode);
assert.ok(gossip.ring().has(nNode));
// after some time, node "bar" should have "foo" in its ring...

// removing nodes
gossip.remove(nNode);
assert.notOk(gossip.ring().has(nNode));
// after some time, ndoe "bar" should remove "foo" from its ring...

// leaving a cluster
gossip.leave();
gossip.once("leave", () => {
  assert.lengthOf(gossip.ring().nodes(), 1);
  assert.ok(gossip.ring.nodes()[0].equals(kernel.self()));
});

// joining a cluster
gossip.join("another_ring_id");
// after some time, this node will receive messages from the existing nodes in the cluster
// (if any exist)

For documentation on available methods/inputs for cluster manipulation, visit the documentation for the GossipRing class.

Example Cluster

In an example.js file, insert the following:

const cl = require("clusterluck"),
      os = require("os");

let id = process.argv[2],
    port = parseInt(process.argv[3]);

let node = cl.createCluster(id, os.hostname(), port);
node.start("cookie", "ring", () => {
  console.log("Listening on port %s!", port);
});

Then, in one terminal, run:

$ node example.js foo 7022

And in another terminal, run:

$ node example.js bar 7023

Now, if we spin up the CLI and connect to foo, we can then run:

// whatever os.hostname() resolves to, replace localhost with that
$ meet bar localhost 7023

If we then go to inspect the ring on each node, we should see both node foo and node bar in the ring.

Writing GenServers

The GenServer class is used to create actors that send messages around and receive messages from the rest of the cluster. They're the basic unit of logic handling in clusterluck, and heavily derived off of Erlang's gen_server's, but incorporated into node.js' EventEmitter model. To start a GenServer with no event handling, we can use the following code:

let serve = cl.createGenServer(cluster);
serve.start("name_to_listen_for");

This will tell the network kernel kernel that any messages with id name_to_listen_for received on this node should be routed to serve for processing. Names for GenServers on the same node have a uniqueness property, so trying to declare multiple instances listening on the same name will raise an error.

To add some event handling to our GenServer, we can modify the above code as such:

let serve = cl.createGenServer(cluster);
serve.on("hello", (data, from) => {
  serve.reply(from, "world");
});
serve.start("name_to_listen_for");

With this additional logic, any "hello" event sent to this node with id name_to_listen_for will be responded to with "world". This includes messages sent from the local node, as well from other nodes in the cluster.

Once we've declared our GenServer and added event handling logic, we can start sending and receiving messages to/from other nodes in the cluster.

// serve is a GenServer instance, kernel is serve's network kernel
// synchronous requests
// this makes a call to a GenServer listening on "server_name" locally
serve.call("server_name", "event", "data", (err, out) => {...});
// this makes the same call
serve.call({id: "server_name", node: kernel.self()}, "event", "data", (err, out) => {...});
// this makes the same call but to another node
serve.call({id: "server_name", node: another_node}, "event", "data", (err, out) => {...});

// asynchronous requests
// this makes an async call to a GenServer listening on "server_name" locally
serve.cast("server_name", "event", "data");
// this makes the same call
serve.cast({id: "server_name", node: kernel.self()}, "event", "data");
// this makes the same call but to another node
serve.cast({id: "server_name", node: another_node}, "event", "data");

Here, we see the true power of GenServers as a unified interface for distributed communication with a local node as well as external nodes!

As an implementation note, GenServers should not be used as a replacement for EventEmitters when orchestrating state local to a node. Generally speaking, there is little overhead in using this over a raw EventEmitter, but there are conditional branches and extra V8 constructions that may be unneeded for your implementation. Instead, making other GenServers part of the constructor of other GenServers is preferred (using OOP principles to enforce actor relations), similar to how the CommandServer class works. In fact, both the GossipRing and CommandServer classes, built into every node in the cluster, are GenServers themselves!

Using the CLI

In the working directory of this module, we see the bin/cli.js script. This node script communicates with a single node in a cluster to manipulate the ring. The following options specify which node to communicate with and how:

  • -I, --instance: The unique instance identifier of the node being connected to.
  • -H, --hostname: Server hostname of the node being connected to.
  • -p, --port: Server port of the node being connected to.
  • -a, --key: Distributed cookie to use for signing requests to the connecting node.

Once run, a CLI session is created that provides the following commands. For any given command, help documentation can be printed to the console by typing help <command_name>.

inspect

In the CLI session, type inspect. This command will print the cluster at a node on the console. For example, if we've just started a new node with id foo at hostname localhost with port 7022, we'd see the following output:

> inspect
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": {
    "rfactor": 3,
    "pfactor": 2,
    "tree": [
      {
        "key": "avmox6bKHfmLdzmObwjwIrh2WC6XM471ods56FWbDo0=",
        "value": {
          "id": "foo",
          "host": "localhost",
          "port": 7022
        }
      },
      {
        "key": "kL2YfHLEuxHGaEz4nOxWYyPSiFlGBsFMzoYDXXxuXK0=",
        "value": {
          "id": "foo",
          "host": "localhost",
          "port": 7022
        }
      },
      {
        "key": "kzMt7C+SJZbxNQmrL3vhpfJ+a0RgPiGlRhrxwS57RWI=",
        "value": {
          "id": "foo",
          "host": "localhost",
          "port": 7022
        }
      }
    ]
  }
}
nodes

In the CLI session, type nodes. This command will print the nodes of the cluster on the console. For example, if we've just started a new node with id foo at hostname localhost with port 7022, we'd see the following output:

> nodes
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": [
    {
      "id": "foo",
      "host": "localhost",
      "port": 7021
    }
  ]
}
ping

In the CLI session, type ping. This command will ping the node this session is targetting. For example, we'd see the following output:

> ping
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": "pong"
}
get

This command will print metadata about an input node in the cluster, or will return an error if the node doesn't exist in the cluster (according to the node our session targets). For example, given the previous setup:

> get foo
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": {
    "id": "foo",
    "host": "localhost",
    "port": 7022
  }
}

> get bar
{
  "ok": false,
  "error": {
    "message": "'bar' is not defined in this ring.',
    "_error": true
  }
}
has

This command will print whether an input node exists in the cluster (according to the node our session targets). For example, given the previous setup:

> has foo
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": true
}

> has bar
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": false
}
weight

This command will print metadata about an input node's weight (number of virtual nodes) in the cluster, or will return an error if the node doesn't exist in the cluster (according to the node our session targets). For example, given the previous setup:

> weight foo
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": 3
}

> weight bar
{
  "ok": false,
  "error": {
    "message": "'bar' is not defined in this ring.',
    "_error": true
  }
}
weights

In the CLI session, type weights. This command will print the weights (number of virtual nodes) for every node in the cluster on the console. For example, if we've just started a new node with id foo at hostname localhost with port 7022 and default weight 3, we'd see the following output:

> weights
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": {
    "foo": 3
  }
}
join

This command will attempt to join a cluster if it doesn't already belong to a cluster. For example, given the previous setup:

// assuming 'foo' isn't a part of a ring
> join ring
{
  "ok": true
}

// if it's in a ring
> join ring
{
  "ok": false,
  "error": {
    "message": "Node already belongs to ring 'ring'",
    "_error": true
  }
}
meet

This command will tell the targeted node by this session to meet another node in the cluster. Currently, this is the only way to make ring insertions transitive. Subsequently, if as a result two nodes are meeting for the first time, a ring merge will occur. The resulting state will be gossiped around the cluster, eventually resulting in every node thinking the input node belongs in the cluster. For example, given the previous setup:

> meet bar localhost 7023
{
  "ok": true
}

// wait some time...
> get bar
// metadata about node bar... 
leave

This command will tell the targeted node by this session to leave its current cluster (if it belongs to one). For example:

> leave
{
  "ok": true
}
// immediately following this command...
> has bar
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": false
}

// leave is done forcefully
> leave --force
{
  "ok": true
}

For documentation on how the --force option works for this command, just run help leave.

insert

This command will tell the targeted node by this session to insert a node into its cluster (as it currently views it). Subsequently, this information will be gossiped around the cluster, eventually resulting in every node thinking the input node belongs in the cluster. This differs from meet in that insertions are not transitive between nodes; it's a new event on the ring state, and therefore overriding when state conflicts occur between nodes sharing ring history. For example:

> insert bar localhost 7023
{
  "ok": true
}
> get bar
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": {
    "id": "bar",
    "host": "localhost",
    "port": 7023
  }
}

// insert is done forcefully
> insert --force bar localhost 7023
{
  "ok": true
}
> get bar
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": {
    "id": "bar",
    "host": "localhost",
    "port": 7023
  }
}

For documentation on how the --force option works for this command, or any other option, just run help insert.

minsert

This command will tell the targeted node by this session to insert multiple nodes into its cluster (as it currently views it). Similar to how insert works, only it allows batch insertion. For example:

> minsert bar localhost 7023 baz localhost 7024
{
  "ok": true
}
> get bar
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": {
    "id": "bar",
    "host": "localhost",
    "port": 7023
  }
}
> get baz
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": {
    "id": "baz",
    "host": "localhost",
    "port": 7024
  }
}

// minsert is done forcefully
> minsert --force bar localhost 7023 baz localhost 7024
{
  "ok": true
}
> get bar
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": {
    "id": "bar",
    "host": "localhost",
    "port": 7023
  }
}
> get baz
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": {
    "id": "baz",
    "host": "localhost",
    "port": 7024
  }
}

For documentation on how the --force option works for this command, or any other option, just run help minsert.

update

This command will tell the targeted node by this session to update a node in its cluster (as it currently views it) with a new insertion weight. Subsequently, this information will be gossiped around the cluster, eventually resulting in every node thinking the input node belongs in the cluster. For example:

> update foo localhost 7022 4
{
  "ok": true
}
> get bar
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": {
    "id": "foo",
    "host": "localhost",
    "port": 7023
  }
}

// update is done forcefully
> update --force bar localhost 7022 4
{
  "ok": true
}
> get bar
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": {
    "id": "foo",
    "host": "localhost",
    "port": 7023
  }
}

For documentation on how the --force option works for this command, or any other option, just run help insert.

remove

This command will tell the targeted node by this session to remove a node from its cluster (as it currently views it). Subsequently, this information will be gossiped around the cluster, eventually resulting in every node thinking the input node no longer belongs in the cluster. For example:

> remove bar localhost 7023
{
  "ok": true
}
> has bar
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": false
}

// remove is done forcefully
> remove --force bar localhost 7023
{
  "ok": true
}
> has bar
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": false
}

For documentation on how the --force option works for this command, or any other option, just run help remove.

mremove

This command will tell the targeted node by this session to remove multiple nodes from its cluster (as it currently views it). Similar to how remove works, only it allows batch removal. For example:

> mremove bar localhost 7023 baz localhost 7024
{
  "ok": true
}
> has bar
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": false
}
> has baz
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": false
}

// mremove is done forcefully
> mremove --force bar localhost 7023 baz localhost 7024
{
  "ok": true
}
> has bar
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": false
}
> has baz
{
  "ok": true,
  "data": false
}

For documentation on how the --force option works for this command, or any other option, just run help mremove.

Consistent Hash Ring

Some helpful resources for learning about consistent hash rings:

  • Wikipedia Entry
  • libketama, which has a corresponding blog post, and an alternative way of implementing a consistent hash ring.

From here, you can reference the documentation found on the github pages for the CHash class.

Vector Clocks

Some helpful resources for learning about vector clocks:

From here, you can reference the documentation found on the github pages for the VectorClock class.

TODO

In addition to what currently exists in this library, here's a list of features to possibly add:

  • Provide listener for permanent close on connection between two nodes (maxRetries option on kernel creation).
  • Add a GenStream class similar to GenServer, but strictly uses streams for communication instead of JS natives (will also require a protocol definition for indicating stream start, etc).
  • Discuss making disconnects between nodes on a node departure forceful or not (it's forceful right now).