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The Distributed Replicated Block Device (DRBD) is a Linux Kernel module that constitutes a distributed storage system. You can use DRBD to share block devices between Linux servers and, in turn, share file systems and data.
DRBD implements a block device which can be used for storage and which is replicated from a primary server to one or more secondary servers. The distributed block device is handled by the DRBD service. Writes to the DRBD block device are distributed among the servers. Each DRBD service writes the information from the DRBD block device to a local physical block device (hard disk).
On the primary data writes are written both to the underlying physical block device and distributed to the secondary DRBD services. On the secondary, the writes received through DRBD and written to the local physical block device. On both the primary and the secondary, reads from the DRBD block device are handled by the underlying physical block device. The information is shared between the primary DRBD server and the secondary DRBD server synchronously and at a block level, and this means that DRBD can be used in high-availability solutions where you need failover support.
When used with MySQL, DRBD can be used to ensure availability in the event of a failure. MySQL is configured to store information on the DRBD block device, with one server acting as the primary and a second machine available to operate as an immediate replacement in the event of a failure.
For automatic failover support you can combine DRBD with the Linux Heartbeat project, which will manage the interfaces on the two servers and automatically configure the secondary (passive) server to replace the primary (active) server in the event of a failure. You can also combine DRBD with MySQL Replication to provide both failover and scalability within your MySQL environment.
For information on how to configure DRBD and MySQL, including Heartbeat support, see Section 14.1.1, “Configuring the DRBD Environment”.
An FAQ for using DRBD and MySQL is available. See Section A.14, “MySQL 5.1 FAQ — MySQL, DRBD, and Heartbeat”.
Because DRBD is a Linux Kernel module it is currently not supported on platforms other than Linux.