The Steward process: Split-brain in two-cluster global clusters

Failure of all heartbeats between any two clusters in a global cluster indicates one of the following:

In global clusters with more than three clusters, VCS queries the connected clusters to confirm that the remote cluster is truly down. This mechanism is called inquiry.

In a two-cluster setup, VCS uses the Steward process to minimize chances of a wide-area split-brain. The process runs as a standalone binary on a system outside of the global cluster configuration.

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When all communication links between any two clusters are lost, each cluster contacts the Steward with an inquiry message. The Steward sends an ICMP ping to the cluster in question and responds with a negative inquiry if the cluster is running or with positive inquiry if the cluster is down. The Steward can also be used in configurations with more than two clusters.

VCS provides the option of securing communication between the Steward process and the wide-area connectors.

See Secure communication in global clusters.

A Steward is effective only if there are independent paths from each cluster to the host that runs the Steward. If there is only one path between the two clusters, you must prevent split-brain by confirming manually via telephone or some messaging system with administrators at the remote site if a failure has occurred. By default, VCS global clusters fail over an application across cluster boundaries with administrator confirmation. You can configure automatic failover by setting the ClusterFailOverPolicy attribute to Auto.

See Administering the cluster from the Cluster Management Console.

The default port for the steward is 14156.