Topology-Aware Placement

Ondat Topology-Aware Placement is a feature that enforces placement of data across failure domains to guarantee high availability. Topology-Aware Placement (TAP) is available from Ondat v2.5+.

TAP uses default labels on nodes to define failure domains. For instance, an Availability Zone. However, the key label used to segment failure domains can be defined by the user per node. Also, TAP is an opt in feature per volume.

Benefits of enabling the Topology-Aware Placement (TAP) feature

Deploying a stateful application on a clusters with multiple nodes without TAP enabled can result in suboptimal placement for high availability. Not enabling TAP can cause following problems:

  • unschedulable pods due to resource, affinity, and taint issues when a full failure domain experiences a failure
  • volume replicas placed within the same zone as a primary volume


Enabling Topology-Aware Placement

Topology-Aware Placement can be enabled by applying the label to a PVC or as a parameter of its StorageClass.

Topology Domains

A topology domain is a set of nodes. The domain is identified by a label, which can be defined by the user. The default label that Ondat uses to segment nodes in failure domains is However, you can define your own topology key by setting the key string in the label

To enable TAP on your volumes, follow the TAP operations page.


The Topology-Aware Placement attempts to distribute sensitive data across different failure domains. Hence, a primary volume and its replicas are scattered across failure domains. That is implemented following a best effort algorithm. In case that the TAP rules can’t be fulfilled the placement algorithm will attempt a best approach placement (even if new replicas are in the same failure domain). The best effort placement allows the system to place replicas on the same failure domains when a full domain has failed catastrophically. Hence, the system self heals as fast as possible without waiting for the nodes on the failed domain to recover.

It is the user’s responsibility to rebalance the data when the failed domain has recovered its availability. That can be achieved by recreating the replicas of a volume. Future versions of Ondat will facilitate the procedure by allowing a volume drain.

Failure Modes

Failure modes are a complimentary feature of the Topology-Aware Placement functionality. Failure modes allow you to define how many replicas of a volume can become unavailable before the volume is marked as read-only. For more information , see the failure mode concepts page.

For example, assuming that your cluster has three topology zones, A, B and C, and your deployment has a master and two replicas, Ondat will attempt to place one volume in each topology zone.

If zone A fails, I/O to your volume will stop completely if the Failure Mode is hard. If the Failure Mode is soft, I/O will continue while volume failover is in progress, and a new replica will be placed in an operational zone. Note that if zone A recovers, the cluster will not automatically rebalance.

The soft failure mode will not tolerate the failure of multiple replicas at once, and will suspend I/O in this case. If you wish to tolerate more than one failed replica, then you can set this as an integer using the <integer>label.

If individual nodes within a topology zone fail, the replicas will fail over to other nodes within that zone. Once nodes in the zone are exhausted, placement will revert to best-effort.