MySQL High Availability Architectures

In order to understand replication in MySQL and how high availability  is achieved  it is important to have an idea of how it is done. Replication in MySQL is primarily achieved using the binary log.  The binary log records all changes made to the  database along with additional information related to those changes such as time taken to for a statement to update data Et cetera.    From a high level the master write database changes/events to its(master) binary log file and then notifies the salve(s) of  the new updates which then reads and applies those changes .The binary log is not only used for replication but can be used for auditing and point in time recovery.For more details about MySQL binary log please visit:

MySQL Binary Log Documentation
How Does MySQL Replication Really Work

Depending on your requirements there are various  architectures or ways that you can configure MySQL and MySQL Cluster. Below is just a summary of some of the most frequently used architectures to achieve high availability.

MySQL Master/Slave(s) Replication

MySQL master to slave(s) configuration is the most popular setup. In this design One(1) server acts as the master database  and all other server(s) act as slaves.Writes can only occur on the master node by the application


*Analytic applications can read from the slave(s) without impacting the master

*Backups of the entire database of relatively no impact on the master

*Slaves can be taken offline  and sync back to the master without any downtime


*In the instance of a failure a slave has to be promoted to master to take over its place. No automatic failover

*Downtime and possibly lost of data when a master fails

*All writes also have to be made to the master in a master-slave design

*Each additional slave add some load* to the master since the binary log have to be read and data copied to each slave

*Application might have to be restarted


In the diagram below the App(Application) talks to a load balancer/VIP/elastic IP. The application(App) is not configured to point directly to the address  of the MySQL master node to reduce the configuration changes that might be required within the application (App) in the case of a failure.

Load Balancer –  Configured with  a fail over load balancing policy/algo(highest priority). In this configuration all requests are sent to a single route or the highest priority(master). Only in the instance of a failure will requests be sent to the alternative route(slave)

Elastic IP – The IP exposed to the application can be configured to point to the master database . When a failure is discovered on the master, the same IP can then be configured to point to the slave database.

VIP –  Same as elastic ip above. Can be configured to point to the master/slave as required

MySQL Master-Slave Architecture

MySQL Master/Master Replication

In a master-master configuration each master is configured as a slave to the other. Writes and reads can occur on both servers


*Applications can read  from both masters

*Distributes write load across both master nodes

*Simple ,automatic and quick failover


* Loosely consistent

*Not as simple as master-slave to configure and deploy


In the diagram below the only significant difference between the master-slave diagram above is that replication(copying data) occurs on both sides of the masters and that both reads & writes can occur on either server.

MySQL Master-Master Replication


MySQL Cluster

The new kid in town based on MySQL cluster design. MySQL cluster was developed with high availability  and scalability in mind and is the ideal solution to be used for environments that require no downtime, high avalability and horizontal  scalability.

See MySQL Cluster 101 for architecture diagram and information related to MySQL



*(High Avalability)no single point of failure

*Very high throughput

*99.99% uptime


*Real-Time Responsiveness

*On-Line Operations(Schema changes etc)

*Distributed writes


See known limitations


There are other options available when looking for high availability  architectures for MySQL and any other RDBMS systems such as MariaDB or PostgreSQL You could also look at the use of  Shared storage , replication from the storage level and other methods to achieve high availability.  Regardless to achieve true high availability  a shared nothing architecture would be the recommend option. For the options of using shared storage(NFS)/ replication from the storage level(BLOCK) redundancy is just moved from the database  layer to the storage layer.

At the end of the day the database  architecture that you decide to use depend on your current and possible future requirements.

The list of Pros and Cons are by no means extensive. I am sure there are others. Feel free to add them in the comments below.


  1. David Hite   •  

    This is what successful companies are looking for exactly.

    • Dwayne V Campbell   •     Author

      Thanks for the comment and insight David

  2. Ravi   •  

    Detailed Explanation. Thanks

    • Dwayne V Campbell   •     Author

      Np. Glad it was helpful. Thanks for commenting.

  3. shrawan   •  

    keep it up

  4. Cybercow   •  

    Really high detailed and professional article, thank you very much.

  5. Dwayne V Campbell   •     Author

    Thank you shrawan & Cybercow

  6. Kirtan Khatsuriya   •  

    You nailed it Dwayne.It would help me a lot .
    Keep going.
    Thank you.

    • Dwayne V Campbell   •     Author

      Thank you Kiran! Will try to blog more

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