About manual failover

This page gives an overview of manual failover for Memorystore for Redis. To learn how to perform a failover, see Initiating a manual failover.

What is a manual failover?

A standard tier Memorystore for Redis instance uses a replica node to back up the primary node. A normal failover occurs when the primary node becomes unhealthy, causing the replica to be designated as the new primary. A manual failover differs from a normal failover because you initiate it yourself. For more information on how Memorystore for Redis replication works, see High availability.

Why initiate a manual failover?

Initiating a manual failover allows you to test how your application responds to a failover. This knowledge can ensure a smoother failover process if an unexpected failover occurs later on.

Optional data protection mode

The two available data protection modes are:

  • limited-data-loss mode (default).
  • force-data-loss mode.

To set the data protection mode, use one of the following commands:

gcloud redis instances failover INSTANCE_NAME --data-protection-mode=limited-data-loss


gcloud redis instances failover INSTANCE_NAME --data-protection-mode=force-data-loss

How data protection modes work

The limited-data-loss mode minimizes data loss by verifying that the difference in data between the primary and replica is below 30 MB before initiating the failover. The offset on the primary is incremented for each byte of data that must be synchronized to its replicas. In the limited-data-loss mode, the failover will abort if the greatest offset delta between the primary and each replica is 30MB or greater. If you can tolerate more data loss and want to aggressively execute the failover, try setting the data protection mode to force-data-loss.

The force-data-loss mode employs a chain of failover strategies to aggressively execute the failover. It does not check the offset delta between the primary and replicas before initiating the failover; you can potentially lose more than 30MB of data changes.

Bytes pending replication metric

The bytes pending replication metric tells you how many remaining bytes the replica needs to copy before the primary is fully backed up. You may observe an increase in bytes pending as the primary replicates to the replica during a failover. If the failover is triggered by hardware error, you may observe empty in bytes pending replication as the offset value could not be obtained until the new replica repaired from host error.

You can access this metric in the Google Cloud console on the instance details page. To view the instance details page, click the instance id in your project's instances list page.

Alternatively, access the Metrics Explorer for your project, and search for the redis.googlapis.com/replication/offset_diff metric.

When to run a manual failover

Manual failovers using the default limited-data-loss protection mode only succeed if the bytes pending replication metric is less than 30MB. If you want to run a manual failover with bytes pending replication higher than 30MB, use the force-data-loss protection mode.

If you are trying to preserve as much data as possible, temporarily stop your application from writing to the Redis instance, and wait to run your manual failover until the bytes pending replication metric is as low as you deem acceptable.

Potential issues blocking a manual failover

  • Running a manual failover on a Basic Tier instance does not work because Basic Tier instances do not have replicas to which the primary can failover.

  • If your Redis instance is unhealthy, then a limited-data-loss manual failover operation fails because it is blocked for data-loss minimization.

  • If you are running a Lua script that is executing indefinitely, then you must use force-data-loss to initiate a failover. In this situation a limited-data-loss failover operation will not complete successfully.

  • If your instance has incomplete operations pending, such as scaling or updating, the manual failover operation is blocked. You must wait until your instance is in the READY state to run a manual failover.

Client application connection

When your primary node fails over to the replica, existing connections to Memorystore for Redis are dropped. However, on reconnect, your application is automatically redirected to the new primary node using the same connection string or IP address.

Verifying a manual failover

You can verify the success of a manual failover operation with the Google Cloud console or gcloud.

Google Cloud console verification

Before you start a manual failover, go to the Memorystore for Redis instances list page, and click the name of your instance.

Then, in the Configuration tab, next to Primary Location, view which zone your primary node is in. Make a note of the zone. Check this page again when you complete your manual failover to confirm that the primary node switched zones.

Cloud Monitoring verification

To view the metrics for a monitored resource by using the Metrics Explorer, do the following:

  1. In the Google Cloud console, go to the  Metrics explorer page:

    Go to Metrics explorer

    If you use the search bar to find this page, then select the result whose subheading is Monitoring.

  2. In the Metric element, expand the Select a metric menu, enter Node role in the filter bar, and then use the submenus to select a specific resource type and metric:
    1. In the Active resources menu, select Cloud Memorystore Redis.
    2. In the Active metric categories menu, select replication.
    3. In the Active metrics menu, select Node role.
    4. Click Apply.
  3. To remove time series from the display, use the Filter element.

  4. To combine time series, use the menus on the Aggregation element. For example, to display the CPU utilization for your VMs, based on their zone, set the first menu to Mean and the second menu to zone.

    All time series are displayed when the first menu of the Aggregation element is set to Unaggregated. The default settings for the Aggregation element are determined by the metric type you selected.

  5. For quota and other metrics that report one sample per day, do the following:
    1. In the Display pane, set the Widget type to Stacked bar chart.
    2. Set the time period to at least one week.

The Cloud Monitoring chart represents the primary and replica nodes with two lines. When a node's line has a value of zero on the chart, it is the replica node. When a node's line has a value of one on the chart, it is the primary node. The chart represents a failover by showing how the lines switch from one to zero, and zero to one, respectively.

gcloud verification

Before you initiate a manual failover, use the following command to check which zone your primary node is in:

gcloud redis instances describe [INSTANCE_ID] --region=[REGION]

Your primary node is in the zone labeled currentLocationId. Make a note of the zone.

After you complete a manual failover, you can confirm that your primary node switched to a new zone by running the gcloud redis instances describe command again and checking that the currentLocationId changed zones.

Additionally, the locationId label tells you the zone in which you originally provisioned your primary node. The alternativeLocationId label tells you the zone in which system originally provisioned your replica node. Each time a failover occurs the primary and replica switch between these two zones. However, the zones associated with locationId and alternativeLocationId do not change.