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Moray, the highly-available key-value store

This repository is part of the Joyent Triton and Manta projects. For contribution guidelines, issues, and general documentation, visit the main Triton and Manta project pages.

This repository contains Moray, the highly-available key-value store from Joyent. The Moray service provides a simple put/get/search/delete abstraction on top of Postgres 9.x, over plain TCP using node-fast.

Active Branches

There are currently two active branches of this repository, for the two active major versions of Manta. See the mantav2 overview document for details on major Manta versions.

  • master - For development of mantav2, the latest version of Manta. This is the version used by Triton.
  • mantav1 - For development of mantav1, the long term support maintenance version of Manta.


For basic information about how to use Moray and what operations Moray supports, see the moray(1) and related manual pages in the Moray client repository.

For reference documentation about the RPC calls and the node-moray library calls used to invoke them, see the developer reference documentation inside this repository.

The rest of this README describes how Moray is deployed and how to build, run, and test Moray.


Moray implements a JSON key-value interface to a PostgreSQL database. It serves several functions:

  • Moray provides a reasonably simple key-value abstraction over PostgreSQL, serving a similar role as an ORM. Buckets are implemented with tables, objects are implemented as rows, and operations are translated into SQL queries. The abstractions provided are oriented around very large buckets and attempt to avoid exposing operations that would not scale accordingly.
  • Moray provides pooling of PostgreSQL connections (similar to pgbouncer). Moray clients maintain persistent TCP connections that can be idle for extended periods. The Moray server multiplexes incoming requests over some fixed number of PostgreSQL connections.
  • In a database cluster deployed using Manatee, Moray is responsible for tracking the cluster state so that queries are always dispatched to the current PostgreSQL primary.

In Triton and Manta, PostgreSQL is typically deployed atop Manatee, which provides high availability for PostgreSQL using synchronous replication and automated failover. Multiple Moray instances are typically deployed atop that. Here's a diagram of the containers used in a typical Manatee/Moray shard:

         +-------+     +-------+     +-------+
         | moray |     | moray |     | moray | ...
         +-+---+-+     +-+---+-+     +-+---+-+
           |   |         |   |         |   +--------------------------+
           |   |         |   +-------- | ---------------------------+ |
           |   +-------- | ----------- | -------------------------+ | |
           |             |             |                          | | |
        PG |+------------+             |                          | | |
   queries ||+-------------------------+                    +-----+-+-+-+
           |||                                              |           |
           |||   +----------------------------------------- + ZooKeeper |
           |||   |             +--------------------------- + Cluster   |
           |||   |             |             +------------- +           |
        +--+++---+-+  +--------+-+  +--------+-+            +-----------+
        | manatee  |  | manatee  |  | manatee  |
        |----------+  |----------+  |----------+ ...
        | postgres |  | postgres |  | postgres |
        | primary  |  | sync     |  | async    |
        +----------+  +----------+  +----------+

This works as follows:

  • Incoming Moray data requests (e.g., for reading and writing of key-value pairs) are translated into SQL queries against the underlying PostgreSQL database.
  • The Manatee component supervises the underlying PostgreSQL database instances and ensures that only one of them is writable at any given time. The non-writable instances are used to support rapid failover in the event of failure of the primary instance. Manatee automatically records the current cluster state (including which peer is the primary) in ZooKeeper.
  • Each Moray instance reads the cluster state from ZooKeeper to make sure that incoming requests are dispatched only to the current PostgreSQL primary.

All state is stored in ZooKeeper and PostgreSQL. As a result, additional Moray instances can be deployed for both horizontal scalability and fault tolerance of Moray itself.

Building and running Moray

Be sure to read the Introduction section above that describes how Moray is deployed. It's also assumed that you're familiar with setting up a Triton or Manta development zone (container).

To work on Moray, you'll need Manatee and ZooKeeper clusters available. You can set these up on your own, but usually it's easier to configure your development Moray instance to use the Manatee and ZooKeeper clusters in an existing Triton or Manta deployment. You can even use the same PostgreSQL database, or you can create your own by executing this on the primary Manatee instance:

# createdb -U postgres -O moray moray
# psql -U postgres moray
moray=# CREATE TABLE buckets_config (
    name text PRIMARY KEY,
    index text NOT NULL,
    pre text NOT NULL,
    post text NOT NULL,
    options text,
    mtime timestamp without time zone DEFAULT now() NOT NULL

moray=# alter table buckets_config owner to moray

Note if you want to use a different database name than moray, you can; you just need to modify the above commands accordingly and then set the environment variable MORAY_DB_NAME to the desired database name before starting the server.

Once you've got a Manatee and ZooKeeper cluster available and created the database, you'll need to create a Moray server configuration file. Again, you can create your own from scratch, but it's usually easier to copy the configuration file from /opt/smartdc/moray/etc/config.json in a Moray zone inside an existing Triton or Manta deployment. If you want to create your own, you can start with the template configuration file in ./sapi_manifests, but the configuration file properties are currently not documented.

Now, in your development zone, build this repository:

$ make

Now source ./ so that you've got a PATH that includes the right version of Node:

$ source ./

and run Moray using your configuration file:

node main.js -f YOUR_CONFIG_FILE -v 2>&1 | bunyan

By default, Moray listens on port 2020. You can use the CLI tools in node-moray to start working with the server. Those tools have detailed manual pages.


For testing, see the separate moray-test-suite repository. You will need to build and run a Moray instance as described above, and then follow the instructions in that repository to test it.

You should consider pointing your testing instance at a different DB than moray to avoid interfering with operations in your Triton or Manta deployment. There is an unsupported script in tools/ that will create a moray_test DB for you and run an additional moray-test instance listening at port 2222. Just scp'ing it into the global zone and executing it should work. You will need to configure the test suite appropriately (see the in the moray-test-suite repository).

Running in standalone mode

Moray can be used as a library to run a standalone Moray server that talks to a Postgres database without using Manatee. A single function is exported, createServer, which takes an object with the following fields:

  • log, a bunyan logger
  • port, the TCP port to listen on
  • bindip, the IP address to bind to
  • audit, a boolean indicating whether to log the result and duration of all requests
  • kangPort, the port the Kang server should listen on
  • collector, an artedi metric collector
  • standalone, an object specifying the standalone server's configuration:
    • pg, an object which specifies the Postgres client pool confguration:
      • queryTimeout, how long (in milliseconds) before a query is timed out (defaults to 0, which disables the timeout)
      • maxConnections, the maximum number of connections to maintain to Postgres
    • url, a pg URL describing how to connect to the server (i.e., /path/to/unix/socket/dir dbName)

createServer returns a server object with a listen() method to start the server. The server will emit a ready event once it's started up.


Moray exposes metric and Kang internal state information accessible through a REST API. The port used for the monitoring server is provided as the -k argument when starting the Moray server.


Kang data can be retrieved from Moray by issuing GET /kang/snapshot on the Kang port.

For example, a curl command assuming the monitoring server is running on port 3020 of the local host:

$ curl http://localhost:3020/kang/snapshot

Kang also offers a command-line interactive debugger, which ships in Moray zones. This can be used to combine Kang data from multiple Moray processes.

For example, if we have four Moray processes inside a Moray zone we can use this command to view their state simultaneously:

$ kang -h localhost:3021,localhost:3022,localhost:3023,localhost:3024


Application metrics can be retrieved from the route GET /metrics, also on the Kang port. The metrics are returned in the Prometheus v0.0.4 text format.

For example, a curl command can be used to scrape metrics:

$ curl http://localhost:3020/metrics

The following metrics are always collected:

  • Open Postgres connections
  • Available Postgres connections
  • Pending Postgres connections
  • Backend request queue length
  • End-to-end latency for all requests
  • Count of requests completed
  • Count of of all Cueball failure events

Each of the metrics returned include the following metadata labels:

  • Datacenter name (i.e. us-east-1)
  • Zone UUID
  • PID

The request latency and request counter metrics additionally include a metadata label denoting the RPC method used (e.g. 'getbucket').

The metric collection functionality is intended to be consumed by a monitoring service like a Prometheus or InfluxDB server.


This Source Code Form is subject to the terms of the Mozilla Public License, v. 2.0. For the full license text see LICENSE, or

Copyright (c) 2017, Joyent, Inc.


Moray, the highly-available key/value store (Joyent Triton, Manta)




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