Etcd cluster appliance for the STUPS (AWS) environment
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This etcd appliance is created for an AWS environment. It is available as an etcd cluster internally, for any application willing to use it. For discovery of the appliance we have a recently updated DNS SRV and A records in a Route53 zone.


The appliance is supposed to be run on EC2 instances, members of one autoscaling group. Usage of autoscaling group give us possibility to discover all cluster member via AWS api (python-boto). Etcd process is executed by a python wrapper which is taking care of discovering all members of already existing cluster or the new cluster.

Currently the following scenarios are supported:

  • Starting up the new cluster. will figure out that this is the new cluster and run etcd daemon with necessary options.
  • If the new EC2 instance is spawned within existing autoscaling group will take care of adding this instance into already existing cluster and apply needed options to etcd daemon.
  • If something happened with etcd (crached or exited), will try to restart it.
  • Periodically leader performs cluster health check and remove cluster members which are not members of autoscaling group
  • Also it creates or updates SRV and A records in a given zone via AWS api.


Step 1: Create an etcd cluster

A cluster can be created by issuing such a command:

senza create etcd-cluster.yaml STACK_VERSION HOSTED_ZONE DOCKER_IMAGE

For example, if you are making an etcd cluster to be used by a service called release, you could issue the following:

senza create releaseetcd \

Step 2: Confirm successful cluster creation

Running this senza create command should have created:

  • the required number of EC2 instances
    • with stack name etcd-cluster
    • with instance name etcd-cluster-releaseetcd
  • a security group allowing etcd's ports 2379 and 2380
  • a role that allows List and Describe EC2 resources and create records in a Route53
  • DNS records
    • an A record of the form
    • a SRV record of the form with port = 2380, i.e. peer port
    • a SRV record of the form with port = 2379, i.e. client port

Multiregion cluster

It is possible to deploy etcd-cluster across multiple regions. To do that you have to deploy cloud formation stack into multiple regions with the same stack names. This enables discovery of instances from other regions and grants access to those instances via SecurityGroups. Deployment has to be done region by region, otherwise there is a chance of race condition during cluster bootstrap.

senza --region eu-central-1 create etcd-cluster-multiregion.yaml multietcd \ \
        ActiveRegions=eu-west-1,eu-central-1 \

senza --region eu-central-1 wait etcd-cluster multietcd

senza --region eu-west-1 create etcd-cluster-multiregion.yaml multietcd \ \
        ActiveRegions=eu-west-1,eu-central-1 \


In order to perform a minor or major upgrade without downtime you need to terminate all EC2 instances one-by-one. Between every termination you need to wait at least 5 minutes and monitor cluster-health, logs and DNS records. You should only terminate the next instance if the cluster is healthy again.

To upgrade an existing etcd deployment to 3.0, you must be running 2.3. If you are running a version of etcd before 2.3, you must upgrade to 2.3 (preferably 2.3.7) before upgrading to 3.0.

A major upgrade is possible one version at a time, i.e. it is possible to upgrade from 2.0 to 2.1 and from 2.1 to 2.2, but it is not possible to upgrade from 2.0 to 2.2.

Before 3.0 it was possible simply to "join" the new member with a higher major version with the empty data directory to the cluster and it was working fine. Somehow this approach has stopped working for 2.3 -> 3.0 upgrade. So now we are using another technique: if the cluster_version is still 2.3, we are "joining" etcd 2.3.7 member to the cluster, in order to download latest data. When the cluster becomes healthy again, we are taking an "upgrade_lock", stopping etcd 2.3.7 and starting up etcd 3.0. When the cluster is healthy again we are removing "upgrade_lock" in order for other members to upgrade.

The upgrade lock is needed to:

  • Temporary switch off "house-keeping" job, which task is removing "unhealthy" members and updating DNS records.
  • Make sure that we are upgrading one cluster member at a time.

Migration of an existing cluster to multiregion setup

Currently there are only two AZ in eu-central-1 region, therefore if the one AZ will go down we have a 50% chance that our etcd will become read-only. To avoid that we want to run one additional instance in eu-west-1 region.

Step 1: you have to migrate to the multiregion setup but with only 1 (ONE) active region eu-central-1. To do that you need to run:

senza --region=eu-central-1 update etcd-cluster-multiregion.yaml existingcluster \ \ \
        ActiveRegions=eu-central-1 \

And do instance rotation like during Upgrade procedure.

Step 2: Enable the second region.

senza --region=eu-central-1 update etcd-cluster-multiregion.yaml existingcluster \ \ \
        ActiveRegions=eu-central-1,eu-west-1 \

And rotate all instances once again. Although the second region is not there yet, cluster will think that it is working in multiregion mode.

Step 3: Change instance count in eu-central-1 to 4:

senza --region=eu-central-1 update etcd-cluster-multiregion.yaml existingcluster \ \ \
        ActiveRegions=eu-central-1,eu-west-1 \

Autoscaling will kill one of the instances automatically.

Step 4: Deploy cloudformation in another region:

senza --region eu-west-1 create etcd-cluster-multiregion.yaml existingcluster \ \
        ActiveRegions=eu-west-1,eu-central-1 \


Demo on asciicast