A Read-Write splitting adaptor for Active Record
Pull request Compare This branch is 229 commits behind taskrabbit:master.
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.


Makara: A Read-Write splitting adaptor for Active Record

Build Status


Makara allows your Rails applications to use read-write splitting to share the load across multiple database servers.

Read-Write splitting is the notion that if you have synchronized database, you can send all "write queries" (insert, update, delete) to a master database, and preform all of your "read queries" (select) from a number of slaves. As most Rails applications are read-heavy, this scaling practice is very desirable.


  • Read/Write splitting across multiple databases
  • Failover upon slave errors/loss
  • Automatic reconnection attempts to lost slaves
  • Optional "sticky" connections to master and slaves
  • Works with many database types (mysql, postgres, etc)
  • Provides a middleware for releasing stuck connections
  • Weighted connection pooling for slave priority

What is a sticky connection?

Often times your application will write data and then quickly read it back (user registration is the classic example). It it is possible that your application stack may preform faster than your database synchronization (especially across geographies). In this case, you may opt to hold "sticky" connections to ensure that for the remainder of a request, your web-worker (Thin, Mongrel, Unicorn, etc) remains connected to the node it had been previously reading from to ensure a consistent experience.

Makara makes use of cookies to ensure that requests which have just updated a record will read from the database they just wrote to. This avoids reading from a slave which may not have synced the new data yet.


If an error is raised while attempting a query on a slave, the query will be retried on another slave (or the master DB), and the slave with the error will be blacklisted. Every so often, Makara will attempt to reconnect to these lost slaves. This ensures the highest possible uptime for your application.

In your database.yml, you can define a blacklist_duration to set how often lost connections are retried (default is 1 minute). Unfortunately, there is no failover if your master database goes down.


Assuming you are running a Rails 3.x.x application and bundler, using Makara is simple!

  1. Include gem 'makara' in your Gemfile and bundle install
  2. Make your database.yml look like the example
  3. ???
  4. Profit.


  • Can I have more than one master database?
    • Yes! You can define many slave and master roles. Be sure that your database replication is configured to handle multiple masters before you use this mode.
  • Can I use Makara for my Rails 2 project?
  • Does Makara handle geographic selection of databases?
    • No, but you can load up a separate database.yml file for each location


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Added some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request


  • Makara was developed by the fine folks at www.taskrabbit.com. If you like working on problems like this one, we are hiring.
  • The Octopus Gem inspired our work on this project (including the name). We have a fork which adds some of the failover features Makara has