Asynchronous Persistency - Write Behind

The GigaSpaces mirror service provides reliable asynchronous persistency. This allows you to asynchronously delegate the operations conducted with the In-Memory-data grid (IMDGClosed In-Memory Data Grid. A set of Space instances, typically running within their respective processing unit instances. The space instances are connected to each other to form a space cluster. The relations between the spaces define the data grid topology. Also known as Enterprise Data Grid - EDG) into a backend database, significantly reducing the performance overhead.


The mirror service ensures that data will not be lost in the event of a failure. This allows you to add persistency to your application just by running the mirror service, without changing the real-time component of your application in either configuration or code. This service provides fine-grained control of which object needs to be persisted.

The mirror does require a backup since it does not hold any state. The actual state of the latest committed database transaction is stored within the primary and the backup space instances, not in the mirror.

Essentially, the mirror acts as a dispatcher and pushes the changes done to the space (all primary partitions) into the database (or any other data source), in an asynchronous and reliable manner. In case of a failure of the mirror, it will be restarted automatically and the primary instances will play back the un-committed transactions that occurred while the mirror was down.

The mirror PUClosed This is the unit of packaging and deployment in the GigaSpaces Data Grid, and is essentially the main GigaSpaces service. The Processing Unit (PU) itself is typically deployed onto the Service Grid. When a Processing Unit is deployed, a Processing Unit instance is the actual runtime entity. (like any deployed service) is mobile. It can run on any machine running a GSCClosed Grid Service Container. This provides an isolated runtime for one (or more) processing unit (PU) instance and exposes its state to the GSM., so the GSMClosed Grid Service Manager. This is is a service grid component that manages a set of Grid Service Containers (GSCs). A GSM has an API for deploying/undeploying Processing Units. When a GSM is instructed to deploy a Processing Unit, it finds an appropriate, available GSC and tells that GSC to run an instance of that Processing Unit. It then continuously monitors that Processing Unit instance to verify that it is alive, and that the SLA is not breached. will pick one of the existing GSCs to provision the missing mirror PU.

If for some reason the SLA you applied forces the mirror PU to run on a specific machine that is unavailable (for example on a specific zone which does not have any running containers), the primary and backup will hold the transaction data within their redo log queue in memory. At some point they will store it in a file until the mirror machine is restarted.

You should not deploy the mirror in clustered mode nor have multiple instances of it. It should have a single instance as part of its SLA configuration.

Enabling the mirror service involves the following:

The above share the same Space Persistency settings but have different space settings. See NHibernate Space Persistency for details about how to use the built-in HibernateExternalDataSource.

The Data Grid Processing Unit

The cluster-config.mirror-servicespace settings specify the interaction between the data grid primary spaces and the mirror service.

The mirror="true"space element tag enables the replication mechanism from the data grid primary spaces to the mirror service. Once mirror="true" is specified, all data grid members will be mirror-aware and will delegate their activities to the mirror service.

The data grid primary instance will replicate the operations that have been logged within the primary redo log every interval-millis amount of time or interval-opers number of operations. Both of these mechanisms are always active and the first one that is reached triggers the replication event.

If you are not using mirror="true" with the data grid PU, you should use the following property instead: cluster-config.mirror-service.enabled=true

The data grid mirror replication settings include the following options:

Property Description Default
cluster-config.mirror-service.url Used to locate the mirror service. If you change the name of the mirror service specified as part of the mirror PU, you should modify this parameter value to facilitate the correct mirror service URL. jini://*/mirror-service_container/mirror-service
cluster-config.mirror-service.bulk-size The number of operations to be transmitted in bulk (in quantity and not actual memory size) from an active data grid primary to the mirror service. 100
cluster-config.mirror-service.interval-millis The replication frequency - replication will happen every interval-millis milliseconds. 2000
cluster-config.mirror-service.interval-opers The replication buffer size - replication will happen every interval-opers operations. 100
cluster-config.groups.group.repl-policy.repl-original-state The replication reconciliation mode - this setting should be enabled to ensure that write/take operations or multiple updates for the same space object will be sent to the mirror, and will not be discarded when sent within the same batch. true
cluster-config.mirror-service.on-redo-log-capacity-exceeded Available options:
block-operations - all cluster operations that need to be replicated (write/update/take) are blocked until the size of the redo log decreases below the capacity. Note that users get RedoLogCapacityExceededException exceptions while trying to execute these operations.
drop-oldest - the oldest packet in the redo log is dropped.
See Controlling the Replication Redo Log for details.
cluster-config.mirror-service.redo-log-capacity Specifies the total capacity of replication packets the redo log can hold for a mirror service replication target.
See Controlling the Replication Redo Log for details.
cluster-config.groups.group.repl-policy.async-replication.async-channel-shutdown-timeout Determines how long (in ms) the primary space will wait before replicating all existing redo log data into its targets before shutting down. 300000 ms

The mirror service may receive replication events from multiple active primary partitions. Each active partition sends its operations to the mirror service via a dedicated replication channel. The mirror handles incoming replication requests simultaneously. Each Primary SpaceClosed Where GigaSpaces data is stored. It is the logical cache that holds data objects in memory and might also hold them in layered in tiering. Data is hosted from multiple SoRs, consolidated as a unified data model. sends its operations to the mirror service in the same order the operations were executed, allowing the mirror to preserve the consistency of the data within the data source.

The data grid Space settings appear as follows:

    <add Name="space" mirrored="true">
      <ExternalDataSource Type="GigaSpaces.Practices.ExternalDataSource.NHibernate.NHibernateExternalDataSource" 
        <!-- NHibernate-specific config goes here -->
        <!-- Use ALL IN CACHE - No Read Performed from the database in lazy manner-->
        <add Name="space-config.engine.cache_policy" Value="1"/>
        <add Name="cluster-config.cache-loader.external-data-source" Value="true"/>
        <add Name="cluster-config.cache-loader.central-data-source" Value="true"/>
        <add Name="cluster-config.mirror-service.url" Value="jini://*/mirror-service_container/mirror-service"/>
        <add Name="cluster-config.mirror-service.bulk-size" Value="100"/>
        <add Name="cluster-config.mirror-service.interval-millis" Value="2000"/>
        <add Name="cluster-config.mirror-service.interval-opers" Value="100"/>
        <add Name="cluster-config.groups.group.repl-policy.repl-original-state" Value="true"/>

The above example:

  • Configures the Space to connect to its mirror Space. By default, it will look up a mirror Space called mirror-service.
  • Configures the Space to only read data from the data source. This means that all destructive operations will be delegated to the database via the mirror service.
  • Configures the data grid to use a data source that is central to the cluster. This means that both primary and backup data grid instances will interact with the same data source.

See Space Persistency Properties and NHibernate Space Persistency for full details about the EDS properties that you may configure.

You must use a data grid cluster schema that includes a backup (i.e. partitioned) when running a mirror service. Without having a backup, the Primary data grid Spaces will not replicate their activities to the mirror service. For testing purposes, if you don't wish to start backup spaces, you can use the partitioned cluster schema and have 0 (zero) as the number of backups - this will still allow the primary spaces to replicate their operations to the mirror.

If you wish to change the mirror service name, please refer to Async Persistency - mirror - advanced.

Enabling replication to the mirror without starting the mirror will generate a backlog within the primary space (and backup). Please avoid running in this configuration.

The Mirror Processing Unit

The mirror service is constructed using the mirrors tag. The mirror service itself is not a regular Space. It dispatches the operations which have been replicated from the IMDG primary spaces to the data source (i.e. database). The mirror service should be constructed as a separate processing unit, which includes only its definition.

The mirror settings includes the following options:

Property Description Default
OperationGrouping Options:
group-by-space-transaction - mirror delegating each transaction separately to the data source (database).
group-by-replication-bulk - mirror delegating all replicated items as one bulk to the data source (database).
SourceSpace Name The name of source space (cluster) this mirror serves NONE, must be supplied
SourceSpace Partitions The number of partitions in source space (cluster) this mirror serves NONE, must be supplied
SourceSpace Backups The number of backups per partition in source space (cluster) this mirror serves

The number of backups per partition is zero or one.

NONE, must be supplied

The following shows how to configure a processing unit to act as the mirror service:

    <add Name="mirror-service" OperationGrouping="group-by-replication-bulk">
      <SourceSpace Name="mySpace" Partitions="2" Backups="1"/>

The number of backups per partition is zero or one.

      <ExternalDataSource Type="GigaSpaces.Practices.ExternalDataSource.NHibernate.NHibernateExternalDataSource">
        <!-- NHibernate-specific config goes here -->
  • The above configuration constructs a mirror service using GigaSpaces built-in NHibernate Space Persistency.
  • The name of the mirror Space is important. mirror-service is the default name for a mirror Space, which is then used by the data grid to connect to its mirror.
  • The configuration above should exist within the mirror PU pu.config file.

Mirror Undeploy

When a cluster is undeployed, the mirror service must be undeployed last. This will ensure that all data is persisted properly through mirror async persistency. Before a primary space is undeployed/redeployed, all data changes are flushed to the mirror. This operation is limited by a timeout that can be configured using the following property:

<!-- default value is 5 minutes -->
<add Name="cluster-config.groups.group.repl-policy.async-replication.async-channel-shutdown-timeout" Value="300000"/>

Optimizing the Mirror Activity

The database update rate by the mirror is a function of the number of IMDG partitions, database update speed with a single thread, database transaction size, network latency between the mirror and the database, Hibernate overhead (if Hibernate is being used as the persistence mechanism), relevant table indexed columns, and the database record size.

When distributed transactions are used with the data grid, this may improve the database update rate (since multiple partitions will be sending their updates to the mirror, which can batch all cumulative updates to the database), but this will impact the data grid transaction latency.

You might wish to tune the data grid and the mirror activity to push data to the database faster. Here are some recommendations to consider:

  • Optimize the Space Class structure to include fewer fields. Fewer fields means less overhead when the data grid replicates the data to the mirror service.
  • Tune bulk-size, interval-millis and interval-opers to perform the replication in larger batches and less frequently. This means you should increase these parameters to larger values than the defaults. The exact values vary with the network speed, the average size of the objects, and the database configuration and machine speed.
  • Below is an example for a configuration that is relevant for data grids with relatively small objects (less than one K) and a high rate of operations (more than 10,000 operations per second per partition):
<add Name="cluster-config.mirror-service.bulk-size" Value="10000"/>
<add Name="cluster-config.mirror-service.interval-millis" Value="5000"/>
<add Name="cluster-config.mirror-service.interval-opers" Value="50000"/>

With the above configuration, the primary partition will replicate its redo log activities to the mirror service every 5 seconds or every 50,000 operations. The replication will occur in batches of 10,000 objects per batch.

  • Tune the data source to commit data to the database in batches.
  • Optimize the database transaction support.
  • Implement a mirror service that will write the incoming data to a CSV file. This should be faster than writing data to the database. Then import the data into the database, which is typically a very fast operation.
  • Increase the database maximum connections.
  • Optimize Hibernate mapping and configuration. Using a proper Hibernate ID generator is crucial for achieving optimum performance.
  • Use PARTIAL_UPDATE (see Partial Update). Updates to an object that are performed using the PARTIAL_UPDATE modifier can also be executed on the mirror as partial updates. This can increase the performance if many updates are performed on a large object. To use this optimization, set the following space property:
<add Name="cluster-config.mirror-service.supports-partial-update" Value="true"/>

Mirror Monitoring

The activity of the mirror service can be monitored using the Administration and Monitoring API. This API exposes statistics on operations that were executed by the mirror, and can be used to monitor the mirror throughput and health status.

You can view the mirror and its replication statistics via the GigaSpaces Management Center. Select the Space Browser tab, click the top tree Spaces icon, right-click the table columns title area on the right panel, select the columns you would to view as part of the table, and click OK.


See the Mirror Monitor JMX Utility for graphical mirror service monitoring via JMX.