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Table of Contents

Supported Hazelcast Versions

  • Hazelcast 3.6+



NOTE

We recommend you to use Linux Kernel versions 3.19 and higher. TCP connections may get stuck when used with older Kernel versions, resulting in undefined timeouts.



Discovering Members within EC2 Cloud

Hazelcast supports EC2 auto-discovery. It is useful when you do not want to provide or you cannot provide the list of possible IP addresses.

To configure your cluster to use EC2 auto-discovery, follow the below steps:

  • Add the hazelcast-aws.jar dependency to your project. Note that it is also bundled inside hazelcast-all.jar. The Hazelcast aws module does not depend on any other third party modules.
  • Disable join over multicast and TCP/IP by setting the enabled attribute of the multicast element to "false", and set the enabled attribute of the tcp-ip element to "false".
  • Set the enabled attribute of the aws element to "true".
  • Within the aws element, provide your credentials (access and secret key), your region, etc.

The following is an example declarative configuration.

 <hazelcast>
   ...
  <network>
    ...
    <join>
      <multicast enabled="false"></multicast>
      <tcp-ip enabled="false"></tcp-ip>
      <aws enabled="true">
        <access-key>my-access-key</access-key>
        <secret-key>my-secret-key</secret-key>
        <iam-role>s3access</iam-role>
        <region>us-west-1</region>
        <host-header>ec2.amazonaws.com</host-header>
        <security-group-name>hazelcast-sg</security-group-name>
        <tag-key>type</tag-key>
        <tag-value>hz-members</tag-value>
      </aws>
    </join>

Here are the definitions of aws element's attributes and sub-elements:

  • enabled: Specifies whether the EC2 discovery is enabled or not, true or false.
  • access-key, secret-key: Access and secret keys of your account on EC2.
  • iam-role: If you do not want to use access key and secret key, you can specify iam-role. Hazelcast-aws plugin fetches your credentials by using your IAM role. It is optional.
  • region: The region where your members are running. Default value is us-east-1. You need to specify this if the region is other than the default one.
  • host-header: The URL that is the entry point for a web service. It is optional.
  • security-group-name: Name of the security group you specified at the EC2 management console. It is used to narrow the Hazelcast members to be within this group. It is optional.
  • tag-key, tag-value: To narrow the members in the cloud down to only Hazelcast members, you can set these parameters as the ones you specified in the EC2 console. They are optional.
  • connection-timeout-seconds: The maximum amount of time Hazelcast will try to connect to a well known member before giving up. Setting this value too low could mean that a member is not able to connect to a cluster. Setting the value too high means that member startup could slow down because of longer timeouts (for example, when a well known member is not up). Increasing this value is recommended if you have many IPs listed and the members cannot properly build up the cluster. Its default value is 5.

NOTE: If both iamrole and secretkey/accesskey are defined, hazelcast-aws will use iamrole to retrieve credentials and ignore defined secretkey/accesskey pair

IAM Roles

hazelcast-aws strongly recommends to use IAM Roles. When iam-role tag defined in hazelcast configuration, hazelcast-aws fetches your credentials by using defined iam-role name. If you want to use iam-role assigned to your machine, you don't have to define anything. hazelcast-aws will automatically retrieve credentials using default iam-role.

IAM Roles in ECS Environment

hazelcast-aws supports ECS and will fetch default credentials if hazelcast is deployed into ECS environment. You don't have to configure iam-role tag. However, if you have a specific IAM Role to use, you can still use it via iam-role tag.

Policy for IAM User

If you are using IAM role configuration (iam-role) for EC2 discovery, you need to give the following policy to your IAM user at the least:

"ec2:DescribeInstances"

{
  "Version": "XXXXXXXX",
  "Statement": [
    {
      "Sid": "XXXXXXXX",
      "Action": [
        "ec2:DescribeInstances"
      ],
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Resource": "*"
    }
  ]
}

AWSClient Configuration

To make sure EC2 instances are found correctly, you can use the AWSClient class. It determines the private IP addresses of EC2 instances to be connected. Give the AWSClient class the values for the parameters that you specified in the aws element, as shown below. You will see whether your EC2 instances are found.

public static void main( String[] args )throws Exception{ 
  AwsConfig config = new AwsConfig(); 
  config.setSecretKey( ... ) ;
  config.setSecretKey( ... );
  config.setRegion( ... );
  config.setSecurityGroupName( ... );
  config.setTagKey( ... );
  config.setTagValue( ... );
  config.setEnabled( true );
  AWSClient client = new AWSClient( config );
  List<String> ipAddresses = client.getPrivateIpAddresses();
  System.out.println( "addresses found:" + ipAddresses ); 
  for ( String ip: ipAddresses ) {
    System.out.println( ip ); 
  }
}

Debugging

When needed, Hazelcast can log the events for the instances that exist in a region. To see what has happened or to trace the activities while forming the cluster, change the log level in your logging mechanism to FINEST or DEBUG. After this change, you can also see in the generated log whether the instances are accepted or rejected, and the reason the instances were rejected. Note that changing the log level in this way may affect the performance of the cluster. Please see the Logging Configuration for information on logging mechanisms.

Hazelcast Performance on AWS

Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform can be an unpredictable environment compared to traditional in-house data centers. This is because the machines, databases or CPUs are shared with other unknown applications in the cloud, causing fluctuations. When you gear up your Hazelcast application from a physical environment to Amazon EC2, you should configure it so that any network outage or fluctuation is minimized and its performance is maximized. This section provides notes on improving the performance of Hazelcast on AWS.

Selecting EC2 Instance Type

Hazelcast is an in-memory data grid that distributes the data and computation to the members that are connected with a network, making Hazelcast very sensitive to the network. Not all EC2 Instance types are the same in terms of the network performance. It is recommended that you choose instances that have 10 Gigabit or High network performance for Hazelcast deployments. Please see the below list for the recommended instances.

  • m3.2xlarge - High
  • m1.xlarge - High
  • c3.2xlarge - High
  • c3.4xlarge - High
  • c3.8xlarge - 10 Gigabit
  • c1.xlarge - High
  • cc2.8xlarge - 10 Gigabit
  • m2.4xlarge - High
  • cr1.8xlarge - 10 Gigabit

Dealing with Network Latency

Since data is sent and received very frequently in Hazelcast applications, latency in the network becomes a crucial issue. In terms of the latency, AWS cloud performance is not the same for each region. There are vast differences in the speed and optimization from region to region.

When you do not pay attention to AWS regions, Hazelcast applications may run tens or even hundreds of times slower than necessary. The following notes are potential workarounds.

  • Create a cluster only within a region. It is not recommended that you deploy a single cluster that spans across multiple regions.
  • If a Hazelcast application is hosted on Amazon EC2 instances in multiple EC2 regions, you can reduce the latency by serving the end users` requests from the EC2 region which has the lowest network latency. Changes in network connectivity and routing result in changes in the latency between hosts on the Internet. Amazon has a web service (Route 53) that lets the cloud architects use DNS to route end-user requests to the EC2 region that gives the fastest response. This latency-based routing is based on latency measurements performed over a period of time. Please have a look at Route53.
  • Move the deployment to another region. The CloudPing tool gives instant estimates on the latency from your location. By using it frequently, CloudPing can be helpful to determine the regions which have the lowest latency.
  • The SpeedTest tool allows you to test the network latency and also the downloading/uploading speeds.

Selecting Virtualization

AWS uses two virtualization types to launch the EC2 instances: Para-Virtualization (PV) and Hardware-assisted Virtual Machine (HVM). According to the tests we performed, HVM provided up to three times higher throughput than PV. Therefore, we recommend you use HVM when you run Hazelcast on EC2.

RELATED INFORMATION

You can download the white paper "Hazelcast on AWS: Best Practices for Deployment" from Hazelcast.com.