High availability in Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL

APPLIES TO: Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL (powered by the Citus database extension to PostgreSQL)

High availability (HA) minimizes database downtime by maintaining standby replicas of every node in a cluster. If a node goes down, Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL switches incoming connections from the failed node to its standby. Failover happens within a few minutes, and promoted nodes always have fresh data through PostgreSQL synchronous streaming replication.

All primary nodes in a cluster are provisioned into one availability zone for better latency between the nodes. The preferred availability zone allows you to put all cluster nodes in the same availability zone where the application is deployed. This proximity could improve performance further by decreasing app-database latency. The standby nodes are provisioned into another availability zone. The Azure portal displays the availability zone of each primary node in a cluster. You can also check availability zone of each node in a cluster using one of the programmatic methods such as REST APIs.

Even without HA enabled, each node has its own locally redundant storage (LRS) with three synchronous replicas maintained by Azure Storage service. If there's a single replica failure, it’s detected by Azure Storage service and is transparently re-created. For LRS storage durability, see metrics on this page.

When HA is enabled, Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL runs one standby node for each primary node in the cluster. The primary and its standby use synchronous PostgreSQL replication. This replication allows customers to have predictable downtime if a primary node fails. In a nutshell, our service detects a failure on primary nodes, and fails over to standby nodes with zero data loss.

To take advantage of HA on the coordinator node, database applications need to detect and retry dropped connections and failed transactions. The newly promoted coordinator is accessible with the same connection string.

High availability states

Recovery can be broken into three stages: detection, failover, and full recovery. Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL runs periodic health checks on every node, and after four failed checks it determines that a node is down. Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL then promotes a standby to primary node status (failover), and creates a new standby-to-be. Streaming replication begins, bringing the new node up to date. When all data has been replicated, the node has reached full recovery.

Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL displays its failover progress state on the Overview page for clusters in the Azure portal.

  • Healthy: HA is enabled and the node is fully replicated to its standby.
  • Failover in progress: A failure was detected on the primary node and a failover to standby was initiated. This state transitions into Creating standby once failover to the standby node is completed, and the standby becomes the new primary.
  • Creating standby: The previous standby was promoted to primary, and a new standby is being created for it. When the new secondary is ready, this state transitions into Replication in progress.
  • Replication in progress: The new standby node is provisioned and data synchronization is in progress. Once all data is replicated to the new standby, synchronous replication is enabled between the primary and standby nodes, and the nodes' state transitions back to Healthy.
  • No: HA isn't enabled on this node.

Next steps