Autopilot enables automated workflows for managing Raft clusters. The current feature set includes 3 main features: Server Stabilization, Dead Server Cleanup and State API. These three features were introduced in Vault 1.7. The Enterprise feature set includes 2 main features: Automated Upgrades and Redundancy Zones. These two features were introduced in Vault 1.11.
Server stabilization helps to retain the stability of the Raft cluster by safely
joining new voting nodes to the cluster. When a new voter node is joined to an
existing cluster, autopilot adds it as a non-voter instead, and waits for a
pre-configured amount of time to monitor it's health. If the node remains to be
healthy for the entire duration of stabilization, then that node will be
promoted as a voter. The server stabilization period can be tuned using
server_stabilization_time (see below).
Dead Server Cleanup
Dead server cleanup automatically removes nodes deemed unhealthy from the
Raft cluster, avoiding the manual operator intervention. This feature can be
tuned using the
min_quorum (see below).
State API provides detailed information about all the nodes in the Raft cluster in a single call. This API can be used for monitoring for cluster health.
Follower node health is determined by 2 factors.
- Its ability to heartbeat to leader node at regular intervals. Tuned using
- Its ability to keep up with data replication from the leader node. Tuned using
By default, Autopilot will be enabled with clusters using Vault 1.7+, although dead server cleanup is not enabled by default. Upgrade of Raft clusters deployed with older versions of Vault will also transition to use Autopilot automatically.
Autopilot exposes a configuration API to manage its behavior. Autopilot gets initialized with the following default values. If these default values do not meet your expected autopilot behavior, don't forget to set them to your desired values.
- This controls whether to remove dead servers from
the Raft peer list periodically or when a new server joins. This requires that
min-quorumis also set.
- This controls whether to remove dead servers from the Raft peer list periodically or when a new server joins. This requires that
- Limit on the amount of time
a server can go without leader contact before being considered failed. This
takes effect only when
- Limit on the amount of time a server can go without leader contact before being considered failed. This takes effect only when
min_quorum- This doesn't default to anything and should be set to the expected number of voters in your cluster when
cleanup_dead_serversis set as
- Minimum number of servers that should always be present in a cluster. Autopilot will not prune servers below this number.
- Amount of entries in the Raft Log that a server can be behind before being considered unhealthy.
- Limit on the amount of time a server can go without leader contact before being considered unhealthy.
- Minimum amount of time a server must be in a healthy state before it can become a voter. Until that happens, it will be visible as a peer in the cluster, but as a non-voter, meaning it won't contribute to quorum.
- Controls whether to disable automated upgrade migrations, an Enterprise-only feature.
Note: Autopilot in Vault does similar things to what autopilot does in Consul. However, the configuration in these 2 systems differ in terms of default values and thresholds; some additional parameters might also show up in Vault in comparison to Consul as well. Autopilot in Vault and Consul use different technical underpinnings requiring these differences, to provide the autopilot functionality.
Automated Upgrades lets you automatically upgrade a cluster of Vault nodes to a new version as updated server nodes join the cluster. Once the number of nodes on the new version is equal to or greater than the number of nodes on the old version, Autopilot will promote the newer versioned nodes to voters, demote the older versioned nodes to non-voters, and initiate a leadership transfer from the older version leader to one of the newer versioned nodes. After the leadership transfer completes, the older versioned non-voting nodes can be removed from the cluster.
Redundancy Zones provide both scaling and resiliency benefits by deploying non-voting nodes alongside voting nodes on a per availability zone basis. When using redundancy zones, each zone will have exactly one voting node and as many additional non-voting nodes as desired. If the voting node in a zone fails, a non-voting node will be automatically promoted to voter. If an entire zone is lost, a non-voting node from another zone will be promoted to voter, maintaining quorum. These non-voting nodes function not only as hot standbys, but also increase read scalability.
DR secondary and Performance secondary clusters have their own Autopilot configurations, managed independently of their primary.
The Autopilot API uses DR operation tokens for authorization when executed against a DR secondary cluster.
Refer to the following tutorials to learn more.