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As with many global enterprises, VMware needed to scale their MySQL infrastructure across multiple regions for global access. This however proved to be impossible with their existing Galera based MySQL HA deployment, and thus they ultimately decided to migrate from their current Galera clusters to Continuent’s Tungsten Cluster.
They also needed to do the migration from Galera to Tungsten Cluster with minimal downtime, as their apps were critical to their software development processes. Having apps like JIRA and Confluence (Atlassian products) successfully run on Tungsten Cluster gave them familiarity with confidence with the product.
Challenges Before Tungsten
VMware had a number of challenges with Galera deployment, something which we at Continuent have seen before, including but not limited to i) no support for multi-site deployments, and ii) performance penalties when adding database nodes. These issues are related to synchronous replication, which is the foundation of the Galera cluster. More information about Galera limitations can be found in this blog article: Performance challenges with the Synchronous Replication of Galera Cluster.
VMware was already familiar with Tungsten Clustering. In 2014 VMware acquired Continuent after choosing Tungsten Cluster as the strongest candidate to power their database-as-a-service for the vCloudAir offering. When VMware decided to pivot and no longer pursue their own cloud offering, Continuent was spun off, back into an independent company in 2016.
During this period Continuent being part of VMware, VMware was able to experience Tungsten Cluster firsthand and take advantage of the deep knowledge and experience of the development and support teams.
Since Tungsten Cluster was specifically developed to deploy MySQL at geo-scale, and it includes a MySQL compliant proxy (Tungsten Connector) that provides automatic read/write splitting, VMware decided it was a natural fit to upgrade to Tungsten Cluster to replace all Galera deployments.
Continuent had already developed the tools to do a live, no down-time migration and VMware naturally followed this guide: Migrate from Galera to Tungsten Clustering without Downtime.
The above article describes how to leverage the Tungsten Replicator to perform real-time replication from a Galera cluster to a Tungsten Cluster. Once the databases were provisioned and real-time replication established, the applications were simply restarted to point to the Tungsten Cluster (Tungsten Connector), making the Tungsten Cluster live with minimal downtime.
Continuent also provided the database team at VMware with in-depth training on Tungsten Cluster, naturally free of charge.
With the successful migration to Tungsten Cluster, VMware now has 2 active sites (using Composite Active/Active topology) deployed. Since both sites are active, both sites are able to service incoming writes (and reads, of course) and replicate between each other.
VMware also gained ease of administration, with both traditional console based tools and a GUI (Tungsten Dashboard). Tungsten Dashboard is a simple to deploy web-based tool that allows full administration, management, and monitoring of Tungsten Clusters.
Another feature deployed is called SmartScale, which automatically inspects SQL queries and routes reads to a local replica, which reduces load on the primary, and thus improves overall application performance and scalability.
One “Continuent Feature” we are particularly proud of is the 24/7 support that is included with the Tungsten solutions. Anytime VMware has a question or issue, they receive a rapid (an average less than 3 minutes for the Urgent Requests) response from an experienced engineer with at least 20 years of experience with both databases and systems administration.
Finally, did you know that you can upgrade a MySQL Server in a Tungsten Cluster with no downtime? We helped VMware upgrade from MySQL 5.7 to MySQL 8.0 with no downtime. This is just one more thing you can do with Zero Downtime Maintenance, which is part of Tungsten Cluster. Want to migrate from MariaDB to MySQL, or vice versa, with no downtime? No problem with Tungsten Cluster!
It was a pleasure helping VMware migrate from Galera to Tungsten Clusters. There was a lot of testing involved, both functional and load testing. We welcome and encourage testing, as we know Tungsten Cluster has tools to increase application performance, and we want our customers to be confident in the product as well. We’ve also helped other companies migrate from other products onto Tungsten Cluster, and we would be happy to discuss your particular situation with you!
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