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  1. Kafka
  2. KAFKA-10336

Rolling upgrade with Suppression may throw exceptions



    • Bug
    • Status: Open
    • Critical
    • Resolution: Unresolved
    • 2.3.0, 2.4.0, 2.5.0, 2.6.0
    • None
    • streams



      If you use Suppress with changelogging enabled, you may experience exceptions leading to threads shutting down on the OLD instances during a rolling upgrade. No corruption is expected, and when the rolling upgrade completes, all threads will be running and processing correctly.


      The Suppression changelog has had to change its internal data format several times to fix bugs. The binary schema of the changelog values is determined by a version header on the records, and new versions are able to decode all old versions' formats.

      The suppression changelog decoder is also configured to throw an exception if it encounters a version number that it doesn't recognize, causing the thread to stop processing and shut down.

      When standbys are configured, there is one so-called "active" worker writing into the suppression buffer and sending the same messages into the changelog, while another "standby" worker reads those messages, decodes them, and maintains a hot-standby replica of the suppression buffer.

      If the standby worker is running and older version of Streams than the active worker, what can happen today is that the active worker may write changelog messages with a higher version number than the standby worker can understand. When the standby worker receives one of these messages, it will throw the exception and shut down its thread.

      A similar condition can arise without standby replicas. During the rolling bounce it is possible that tasks may shuffled between nodes. As the rolling bounce progresses, a task may be moved from a new-versioned instance to an old-versioned one. If the new-versioned instance had processed some data, the old-versioned one would have to restore from the changelog and would encounter the same issue I described for standbys. 

      Note, although the exceptions are undesired, at least this behavior protects the integrity of the application and prevents data corruption or loss.


      Several workarounds are possible:

      This only affects clusters that do all of (A) rolling bounce, (B) suppression, (C) changelogged suppression buffers. Changing any of those variables will prevent the issue from occurring. I would NOT recommend disabling changelogging (C), and (B) is probably off the table, since the application logic presumably depends on it. Therefore, your practical choice is to do a full-cluster bounce (A). Disabling standby replicas will decrease the probability of exceptions, but it’s no guarantee. Personally, I think (A) is the best option.

      Also note, although the exceptions and threads shutting down are not ideal, they would only afflict the old-versioned nodes. I.e., the nodes you intend to replace anyway. So another "workaround" is simply to ignore the exceptions and proceed with the rolling bounce. As the old-versioned nodes are replaced with new-versioned nodes, the new nodes will again be able to decode their peers' changelog messages and be able to maintain the hot-standby replicas of the suppression buffers.


      Although I really should have anticipated this condition, I first detected it while expanding our system test coverage as part of KAFKA-10173. I added a rolling upgrade test with an application that uses both suppression and standby replicas, and observed that the rolling upgrades would occasionally cause the old nodes to crash. Accordingly, in KAFKA-10173, I disabled the rolling-upgrade configuration and only do full-cluster upgrades. Resolving this ticket will allow us to re-enable rolling upgrades in the system test. 

      Proposed solution:

      Part 1:

      Since Streams can decode both current and past versions, but not future versions, we need to implement a mechanism to prevent new-versioned nodes from writing new-versioned messages, which would appear as future-versioned messages to the old-versioned nodes.

      We have an UPGRADE_FROM configuration that we could leverage to accomplish this. In that case, when upgrading from 2.3 to 2.4, you would set UPGRADE_FROM to "2.3", and then do a rolling upgrade to 2.4. The new (2.4) nodes would continue writing messages in the old (2.3) format. Thus, the still-running old nodes will still be able to read them.

      Then, you would remove the UPGRADE_FROM config and do ANOTHER rolling bounce. Post-bounce, the nodes would start writing in the 2.4 format, which is ok because all the members are running 2.4 at this point and can decode these messages, even if they are still configured to write with version 2.3.

      After the second rolling bounce, the whole cluster is both running 2.4 and writing with the 2.4 format.

      Part 2:

      Managing two rolling bounces can be difficult, so it is also desirable to implement a mechanism for automatically negotiating the schema version internally.

      In fact, this is already present in Streams, and it is called "version probing". Right now, version probing is used to enable the exact same kind of transition from an old-message-format to a new-message-format when both old and new members are in the cluster, but it is only used for the assignment protocol messages (i.e., the formats of the subscription and assignment messages that group members send to each other).

      We can expand the "version probing" version from "assignment protocol version" to "general protocol version". Then, when the cluster contains mixed-versioned members, the entire cluster will only write changelog (and repartition) messages with the protocol version of the oldest-versioned member.

      With that in place, you would never need to specify UPGRADE_FROM. You'd simply perform rolling upgrades, and Streams would internally negotiate the right protocol/schema versions to write such that all running members can decode them at all times.

      Part 3:

      Although Part 2 is sufficient to ensure rolling upgrades, it does not allow for downgrades. If you upgrade your whole cluster to 2.4, then later decide you want to go back to 2.3, you will find that the 2.3-versioned nodes crash when attempting to decode changelog messages that had previously been written by 2.4 nodes. Since the changelog messages are by design durable indefinitely, this effectively prevents ever downgrading.

      To solve this last problem, I propose that, although we don't require UPGRADE_FROM, we still allow it. Specifying UPGRADE_FROM=2.3 would cause new-versioned members to set their "max protocol version" in the assignment protocol to 2.3, so version probing would never let the members upgrade their message formats to 2.4. You could run 2.4 as long as you want with UPGRADE_FROM set to 2.3. If any issues arise, you could still downgrade the application to version 2.3.

      Once you're satisfied that 2.4 is working and you won't want to downgrade anymore, you would remove the UPGRADE_FROM config and bounce again. Now, the members will be free to start writing with the latest message format.


      • No KIP is required, since all the needed mechanisms are already present
      • As part of completing this work, we should enable rolling upgrade tests in the streams_application_upgrade_test.py


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              Unassigned Unassigned
              vvcephei John Roesler
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