What Are Node Clusters and Why Do We Need Them

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With the development of blockchain technology, robust scaling solutions have become a must in successful decentralized business implementation. Recently, both startups and tech pioneers have been utilizing new node cluster-based architecture as a way to protect their software from possible malfunction, balance workload and monitor the operational state of the system.

In this article, we will discuss what a node cluster is, talk about its main characteristics and why web3 developers may consider taking on this new technology.

What is a node cluster?

Each node cluster consists of a minimum of two nodes, which work in parallel as a single system to achieve the same goal. Essentially, the term ‘cluster’ is used to describe the space filled with nodes and their parallelizable infrastructure. By working in clusters, nodes can increase the overall throughput and performance of the workload.

Individual nodes are bound into a unified networking group, which makes them share their infrastructure and establishes internode communication. Generally, nodes are classified by their delegating abilities. Thus, leader, or delegating, nodes represent an entry-level checkpoint, where the incoming workload is processed and a response is sent back to the user.

Highly available (failover) node clusters

Software programs have a bigger chance of failure when running on a single machine. In the case of malfunction, the reliability of the system decreases, with the entire system going into a no response mode. What highly available node clusters do is guarantee stable availability by increasing the resilience level of the software, meaning the ability to recover from failure in a quick manner.

The reliability is achieved through either running a software application on a parallel system or by configuring a cold system into the application with the intent of only using it when necessary. The first type of configuration is referred to as active-active: by instantaneously reacting to failure, it sends a command to the parallelly working machine. The latter type of configuration is called active-passive, therefore it is only available when cold system assistance is required.

Node clusters are active-active systems. As a result, they require at least two leader nodes and are essentially designed to handle any sort of malfunction, including a complete node loss. Often referred to as “fault-tolerant”, these clusters work to reduce downtime and are able to rejoin clusters after recovery is complete. This is especially important for decentralized organizations striving for maximum availability.

Load balancing node clusters

The term ‘load balancing’ describes the process of optimizing performance by carrying out regular health checks and distributing the workload between multiple nodes in a cluster. Load balancing is performed by leader nodes or done independently outside the cluster. It is carried out with the intention to make sure no singular node is bearing a disproportionate amount of requests.

High performance computing node clusters

High performance clusters usually work in tandem with load balancing. As its name shows, high performance nodes help achieve high-operability volumes in a cluster. For instance, a supercomputer could be considered an example of a high performance cluster. If a network error or inconsistency is found, a user gets alerted. Monitoring is performed to ensure the uptime is stable and nodes remain reliable and efficient.

What are some of the benefits of node clusters?

When talking about node cluster benefits, one should pay attention to node cluster names. Thus, some of the key advantages are as follows: high availability, failover, load balancing, and high performance.

What we haven’t discussed yet is scaling benefits. According to tech experts, there are two main types of scaling: vertical (up/down) and horizontal (in/out).

The first type refers to increasing or decreasing processes associated with the system (e.g. memory and storage usage), whereas the second kind is performed via running parallel jobs.

Developers should monitor node cluster utilization to ensure the scaling of resources is done appropriately. This is performed by simply adding or removing nodes from the cluster.

What Are Node Clusters and Why Do We Need Them