DRBD Review

It's kept data synchronized between multiple nodes in different datacenters, though it should have its own filesystem which can be used in multi-master environments.


Valuable Features:

The replication technology is very fast and efficient. If you can live with an active-passive setup, DRBD will be an awesome storage replication solution. For a while now also a multi-master setup is possible. It is different from the traditional use of DRBD, though.

Improvements to My Organization:

DRBD helped keep data synchronized between multiple nodes and multiple nodes in different datacenters. This alone is great; however, if you need to failover between two nodes, DRBD is very fast and efficient. DRBD helped me and many customers to provide data in an HA environment with low costs (since DRBD itself is free).

Room for Improvement:

Working with DRBD can be complex and it takes time to understand how it works. Especially split-brain scenarios need to be handled carefully. When it comes to multi-master setups, which are possible with the latest DRBD version, you need to use a cluster filesystem. I think that DRBD should write their own filesystem which can be used in multi-master environments since most cluster filesystems are complex or simply have many flaws.

Use of Solution:

I have been using DRBD for 5 years.

Deployment Issues:

The deployment is not very difficult, so no issues were encountered.

Stability Issues:

No, even under high load DRBD seems to be rock-solid and stable.

Scalability Issues:

Well, until the latest version of DRBD, it was only possible to run DRBD in a two-node setup. This makes scaling difficult, of course.

Previous Solutions:

There is no real alternative - if you need a very good active-passive storage solution and don't want to buy a storage appliance, DRBD is the way to go.

Implementation Team:

I always implemented it myself.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

Support for DRBD is very expensive, but you get the real experts.

Other Advice:

Make sure to use the latest version possible and that DRBD really fits your requirements. Also make sure to gain enough knowledge so you can react in a proper way if something goes wrong (e.g. unexpected failover).

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
2 Comments
Gregory EckertVendor

Disclosure, I am a LINBIT employee (the DRBD software developers)

Thanks for the review! As a note; LINBIT has a DRBD roadmap if you want to see what is coming out next, just shoot us a quick e-mail and request it. The DRBD9 version allows for scalability greater than two nodes, and is designed for virtualization and cloud environments.

I can tell you, however, that we currently don't have intention to build our own clustered filesystem. Multi-Primary environments within DRBD9 will take some time. The pooling feature-set along with Auto-promote capabilities, read balancing, and a new Daemon to manage storage clusters called DRBD Manage make DRBD more of a storage platform than a simple traditional HA clustering tool though. This is the direction LINBIT, and DRBD development is heading.

We really appreciate your feedback! It's awesome to hear from happy users!

01 March 16
Senior Consultant IT Infrastructure at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employeesReal UserELITE SQUAD

Thank you for your feedback, Gregory!

03 March 16
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