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Understanding Virtual IP Availability Within a Junos Space Cluster

Junos Space must ensure that the virtual IP (VIP) address is always available on one of the nodes in the cluster. This is essential for the HA solution because if the VIP address becomes unavailable, the entire cluster becomes unavailable to all user interface clients and NBI clients. To protect against this scenario, Junos Space uses the heartbeat service (version 2.1.3 to version 3) provided by the Linux-HA project to ensure that the VIP address is always available on one of the nodes in the cluster. For information about the Linux-HA project, see the Linux HA User Guide.

Figure 1 shows the heartbeat service that runs on two nodes in the cluster, which together form a Linux HA cluster.

Figure 1: Heartbeat Service on a Linux High Availability ClusterHeartbeat Service on a Linux High Availability Cluster

The heartbeat service is configured symmetrically on both nodes to send a heartbeat message to the other node at a 1-second interval. Unicast messages to UDP port 694 are used to send the heartbeat messages. If a node misses 10 consecutive heartbeat messages from the other node, it will consider the other node as dead and initiate a failover to take ownership of the protected resource. The protected resource in this case is the VIP address of the cluster. When failover occurs, the virtual IP address is obtained using a method known as IP address takeover (for more information, see IP Address Take Over) whereby the newly activated node configures the VIP address on one of its interfaces (eth0:0 is used in Junos Space for this) and sends gratuitous ARP packets for the VIP address. All hosts on the network should receive these ARP packets and, from this point forward, send subsequent packets for the VIP address to this node. When the node that currently owns the VIP address crashes, an automatic failover of the VIP address to the other node in the cluster occurs in a little more than 10 seconds. When the crashed node comes back up (for example, in the case of a reboot), it joins the HA cluster and acts as the standby node. In other words, an automatic failback of the VIP address does not happen.


The 10 seconds that it takes Junos Space to detect a failed node is applicable when the node crashes or becomes nonresponsive. However, in cases where the node is shut down or rebooted, or if the heartbeat service on the node is stopped by the Junos Space administrator, a message is sent to the heartbeat service on the other node and VIP failover occurs almost instantaneously.

In the case of dedicated database nodes, the database VIP address failover happens in a similar manner to ensure database high availability.