Veritas Volume Manager cluster functionality (CVM) allows up to 64 nodes in a cluster to simultaneously access and manage a set of disks under VxVM control (VM disks). The same logical view of the disk configuration and any changes are available on each node. When the cluster functionality is enabled, all cluster nodes can share VxVM objects. Features provided by the base volume manager, such as mirroring, fast mirror resync and dirty region logging are also supported in the cluster environment.
To implement cluster functionality, VxVM works together with the cluster monitor daemon provided by the host operating system or by VCS. The cluster monitor informs VxVM of changes in cluster membership. Each node starts up independently and has its own cluster monitor, plus its own copies of the operating system and CVM. When a node joins a cluster it gains access to shared disks. When a node leaves a cluster, it no longer has access to shared disks. A node joins a cluster when the cluster monitor is started on that node.
Figure: Example of a four node cluster illustrates a simple cluster arrangement consisting of four nodes with similar or identical hardware characteristics (CPUs, RAM and host adapters), and configured with identical software (including the operating system).
The nodes are fully connected by a private network and they are also separately connected to shared external storage (either disk arrays or JBODs: just a bunch of disks) via Fibre Channel. Each node has two independent paths to these disks, which are configured in one or more cluster-shareable disk groups.
The private network allows the nodes to share information about system resources and about each other's state. Using the private network, any node can recognize which nodes are currently active, which are joining or leaving the cluster, and which have failed. The private network requires at least two communication channels to provide redundancy against one of the channels failing. If only one channel were used, its failure would be indistinguishable from node failure - a condition known as network partitioning.
To the cluster monitor, all nodes are the same. VxVM objects configured within shared disk groups can potentially be accessed by all nodes that join the cluster. However, the cluster functionality of VxVM requires one node to act as the master node; all other nodes in the cluster are slave nodes. Any node is capable of being the master node, which is responsible for coordinating certain VxVM activities.
VxVM designates the first node to join a cluster the master node. If the master node leaves the cluster, one of the slave nodes is chosen to be the new master. In the preceding example, node 0 is the master node and nodes 1, 2 and 3 are slave nodes.