Category Archives: haproxy

HA database pooling

For any application needing high availability/scalability on the database, you’ll probably look at a load balancing solution such as HAproxy. The typical description of the architecture boils down to a situation where your app servers are connecting to (usually) more than one Haproxy server on separate hardware, with a keep alive script between them for failover purposes. The active Haproxy serves loadbalanced requests to the pool of databases, either in a failover or balanced scenario.

There is an alternative method to this set up. You can simply add an Haproxy server directly on the app servers (6 app servers, 6 haproxy servers), with no keep alive script. If an app server goes down, the haproxy goes down with it, which is just fine, as each app server has it’s own dedicated Haproxy. Each one also serves a pool of databases either in a failover or balanced scenario.

There are not many situations I can say one option is clearly better than the other, however, the for life of me, I can’t see the tradeoff of why you wouldn’t do the latter setup. One less vertical hardware layer, no need for haproxy failover, no bottleneck and/or complicated haproxy loading logic at haproxy especially as more app and dbs are added. Sure there are many haproxies in play, but they all read from the same dbs and act based on exactly the same test from these dbs, which you should certainly be doing above and beyond a connection test.