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Replication in a star

Most of you know, that it is possible to synchronize MySQL and MariaDB servers using replication. But with the latest releases, it is also possible to use more than just two servers as a multi-master setup.

Most of you know that both MySQL and MariaDB support replication in a hierarchical master-slave-setup, to propagate changes across all connected servers.

But with the latest releases, a slave can have more than one master.

The keyword: Multi-Source replication

It is supported from MySQL 5.7 and MariaDB 10.0 on, and this article describes how to set it up.

What does Multi-Source mean?

Multi-Source means, that you can take two or more masters and replicate them to one slave, where their changes will be merged. This works just like the regular MySQL/MariaDB replication.

Well, we are going to exploit that a little. It is still possible to configure a Master-Master set up, what basically allows the following configuration.

Multiple servers are conjoined in a cluster, where every server is a master, and the replication happens over one central node.

Why should we use Multi-Source-Replication, if it's just Master-Master?

With a Master-Master-Setup, you are limited to a ring topology or two servers. With Multi-Source, you can now use more than two server without having to use the ring topology, which might break and cause the replication to halt.

Further it is possible to back everything up at one place, without the risk of interrupting access to the databases.


The logical topography is a star. The following image shows a possible set up, with servers located in different countries. Thanks to the asynchronous replication, which does not require a broadband connection to work properly, this is possible without a problem.

What has to be considered?

  • The problems for any other Master-Master-Setup apply here as well.
  • If the replication in the cluster is stalled, the problem is usually on more than one server, maybe even the entire cluster.
  • Although the synchronization is asynchronous and does not cause a lot of network traffic itself, the replication of large or heavily accessed databases will cause some traffic at the central node.

How do I set it up?

The way you set it up, is like any other Master-Master replication. Except, that you will have more masters in the cluster.

1) Set up a standard installation of MySQL 5.7 or MariaDB 10.0 or above.


2) Prepare the configuration on all servers:

- On all the outer nodes (In Layout: All except server 1)

log_slave_updates = 0;

- On the central node (In Layout: server 1)

log_slave_updates = 1;



  • The central server must forward everything it receives, so that the changes starting on some outer node will also reach all the other outer nodes.
  • The outer nodes must not forward such changes, because they would loop through the cluster forever.


- Give each server a unique ID!


- Create the user which will be used for the replication:

CREATE USER 'replicator'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
GRANT REPLICATION SLAVE ON *.* TO 'replicator'@'' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

- On MySQL 5.7 you have to enable the use of GTIDs (see step 3).


3) Set up the replication with all the outer nodes:

I will start with MySQL 5.7:


  • MySQL Multi-Source-Replication
  • Online enable GTIDs

    Although there is a paragraph, which states that it is possible with file and position, I have experienced something different, what forced me to enable GTIDs.

    You have to change the repositories for "master info" and "relay log" to the format "TABLE":

mysql> SET GLOBAL master_info_repository = 'TABLE';
mysql> SET GLOBAL relay_log_info_repository = 'TABLE';

Further, it is necessary to enable GTID. From MySQL 5.7.6 and higher, it is possible to do this without restarting the server.

mysql> SET GLOBAL gtid_mode= OFF_PERMISSIVE;
mysql> SET GLOBAL gtid_mode= ON_PERMISSIVE;
mysql> SET GLOBAL gtid_mode= ON;

The value of "ENFORCE_GTID_CONSISTENCY" has to be "ON", otherwise the slave will return an error and refuse to work. And don't forget to make those changes in your "my.cnf" persistent.

Create a new link to a master:


Start slave:

mysql> START SLAVE [thread_type] [FOR CHANNEL=[]];

Stop slave:

mysql> STOP SLAVE [thread_type] [FOR CHANNEL=[]];

How to modify a link:

mysql> STOP SLAVE FOR CHANNEL='mysql-master';
mysql> START SLAVE FRO CHANNEL='mysql-master';
mysql> SHOW SLAVE STATUS FOR CHANNEL 'mysql-master'\G


Now MariaDB 10.0:

Source: MariaDB Multi-Source-Replication

Create a new link to a master (ATTENTION: MariaDB has a different syntax, compared to MySQL):


Start all slaves on this server at the same time:


Check the status of all slaves on this server:


If you want to manage a slave on its own, you can use the regular commands. But you have to make the connection the default one.

Here is an example what you have to do, if you want to modify the connection 'maria-master':

mariadb> STOP SLAVE'maria-master';
mariadb> START SLAVE 'maria-master';
mariadb> SHOW SLAVE 'maria-master' STATUS\G

After you have done this, you have a normal Master-Slave replication between two servers (as shown in the following picture). To complete the star, repeat those steps on each server, you want to connect.

Is it possible expand an existing set up?

It is no problem to expand an existing master-master or master-slave set up. However I would recommend to create new connections. This way the replication is consistent in the configuration with the other connections.

How do I break it?

Just like any other Master-Master-Setup. So be careful, with writing on more than one server. In general, if a bad command is committed, it will be replicated to the other nodes. This will cause the cluster to stall.

Another problem is auto_increment. Duplicate IDs will cause a "Duplicate Key Error" and stall each server it happens on. This can be prevented by editing the values of "auto_increment_increment" and "auto_increment_offset". In this scenario, the value "auto_increment_increment" should be 7 (the amount of servers in the cluster) and the value of "auto_increment_offset" would be something from 0 to 6 (or 1 to 7, depending on your preferences).

How do I fix it?

Sadly, that is not so easy. In addition, the statements are still replicated over the cluster, what usually causes more than just one server to stall, most time it is the entire cluster.

You have to execute every action on each connection. This gets tedious if you have a large amount of nodes.

Let's assume you have a duplicate key error, because two inserts happened at the same time.


MySQL 5.7:

If you experience a stalled replication on MySQL, you have to skip the GTID of the transaction which caused the stall.

First, stop the slave:

mysql> STOP SLAVE FOR CHANNEL 'failed-transactions-channel-name';

Retrieve the next GTID:


The line "Retrieved_Gtid_Set" contains the next GTID which would be executed. Copy the value and tell the server to execute that GTID:

mysql> SET GTID_NEXT="dd57a411-b477-11e5-b518-005056244454";

Execute a blank transaction:


Tell the server to take control of the GTIDs:


And restart the slave:

mysql> START SLAVE FOR CHANNEL 'failed-transactions-channel-name';


MariaDB 10.0:

Stop the slave for the connection:

mariadb> STOP SLAVE 'maria-master';

Define which connection, you would like to edit:

mariadb> SET @@default_master_connection='maria-master'; # No, it's not a joke.

Skip the failed statement:


Restart the slave:

mariadb> START SLAVE 'maria-master';

Check if the slave is running:

mariadb> SHOW SLAVE 'maria-master' STATUS\G

Please note the "@@default_master_connection". It is really necessary to set this variable, or you will not be able to change the counter you want. I'm not sure, if I should be surprised or shocked, that this is the recommended solution by MariaDB.

Hot expand

What is needed to add a new node? Is it required to stop the entire cluster? Or can I just add a new server?

If you want to add a new node to the cluster, it would be best, if you take a dump from another node, including the master data. You then import that dump into the node, make sure the link to the master is configured correctly, and start it. If everything is set up the right way, you should have no problems at all.

It is not necessary to stop the entire cluster, since you can add the links between the nodes while the servers are up.

Backup and Restore

Method 1

The thought behind Multi-Source replication was to make the administrators life easier when it comes to backups. Instead of backing up all data at their respective location, you can gather it on one server and do the backup on this machine, without interrupting the "productive" servers work.

To obtain a backup of all the replicated databases from the cluster, it would be best to do it on the central server. The reason for this is, that everything has to go over it. This method is suitable to protect yourself from to losing all data on the cluster. The downside is, when one node dies, you have to obtain the backup from that location and transfer it to the failed server.

Method 2

If you would like to keep your data save on the location of the server, you can set up a slave at each location and replicate the master to it. For a restore, you could use the existing slave as the new node of the star, while the old server is rebuilding. This set up is capable of keeping the downtime of the service as little as possible. Further, you are not required to transfer the backup from one location to another, since it is already stored close to the failed server.



Versions used:

MariaDB: 10.1.10

MySQL: 5.7.10

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