Partial Start

When one or more members fail to start or have incorrect Hot Restart data (stale or corrupted data) or fail to load their Hot Restart data, cluster will become incomplete and restart mechanism cannot proceed. One solution is to use Force Start and make a fresh start with existing members. Another solution is to do a partial start.

Partial start means that the cluster will start with an incomplete member set. Data belonging to those missing members will be assumed lost and Hazelcast will try to recover missing data using the restored backups. For example, if you have minimum two backups configured for all maps and caches, then a partial start up to two missing members will be safe against data loss. If there are more than two missing members or there are maps/caches with less than two backups, then data loss is expected.

Partial start is controlled by cluster-data-recovery-policy configuration parameter and is not allowed by default. To enable partial start, one of the configuration values PARTIAL_RECOVERY_MOST_RECENT or PARTIAL_RECOVERY_MOST_COMPLETE should be set. Please see Configuring Hot Restart section for details.

When partial start is enabled, Hazelcast can perform a partial start automatically or manually, in case of some members are unable to restart successfully. Partial start proceeds automatically when some members fail to start and join to the cluster in validation-timeout-seconds. After the validation-timeout-seconds duration is passed, Hot Restart chooses to perform partial start with the members present in the cluster. Moreover, partial start can be requested manually using the Management Center, REST API and cluster management scripts before the validation-timeout-seconds duration passes.

The other situation to decide to perform a partial start is failures during the data load phase. When Hazelcast learns data load result of all members which have passed the validation step, it automatically performs a partial start with the ones which have successfully restored their Hot Restart data. Please note that partial start does not expect every member to succeed in the data load step. It completes the process when it learns data load result for every member and there is at least one member which has successfully restored its Hot Restart data. Relatedly, if it cannot learn data load result of all members before data-load-timeout-seconds duration, it proceeds with the ones which have already completed the data load process.

Selection of members to perform partial start among live members is done according to the cluster-data-recovery-policy configuration. Set of members which are not selected by the cluster-data-recovery-policy are called Excluded members, and they are instructed to perform force start. Excluded members are allowed to join cluster only when they clean their Hot Restart data and make a fresh-new start. This is a completely automatic process. For instance, if you start the missing members after partial start is completed, they clean their Hot Restart data and join to the cluster.

Please note that partial start is a destructive process. Once it is completed, it cannot be repeated with a new configuration. For this reason, one may need to perform the partial start process manually. Automatic behavior of partial start relies on validation-timeout-seconds and data-load-timeout-seconds configuration values. If you need to control the process manually, validation-timeout-seconds and data-load-timeout-seconds properties can be set to very big values so that Hazelcast cannot make progress on timeouts automatically. Then, the overall process can be managed manually via aforementioned methods, i.e. Management Center, REST API and cluster management scripts.