There is an issue that decster ran into in production where a machine had a bad disk. Unfortunately, the disk was not failing to write, it was just very slow. This resulted in the UpdateConsensus RPC queue filling up on that machine when it was a follower, which looked like this in the log (from the leader's perspective):
W0229 00:07:14.332468 18148 consensus_peers.cc:316] T 41e637c3c2b34e8db36d138c4d37d032 P 6434970484be4d29855f05e1f6aed1b8 -> Peer 7f331507718d477f96d60eb1bc573baa (st128:18700): Couldn't send request to peer 7f331507718d477f96d60eb1bc573baa for tablet 41e637c3c2b34e8db36d138c4d37d032 Status: Remote error: Service unavailable: UpdateConsensus request on kudu.consensus.ConsensusService dropped due to backpressure. The service queue is full; it has 50 items.. Retrying in the next heartbeat period. Already tried 25 times.
The result is that the follower could not receive heartbeat messages from the leader anymore. The follower (st128) would decide that the leader was dead and start an election. Because it had the same amount of data as the rest of the cluster, it won the election. Then, for reasons we still need to investigate, it would not heartbeat to its own followers. After some timeout, a different node (typically the previous leader) would start an election, get elected, and the flapping process would continue.
It's possible that the bad node, when leader, was only partially transitioned to leadership, and was blocking on some disk operation before starting to heartbeat. Hopefully we can get logs from the bad node so we can better understand what was happening from its perspective.
- is related to
KUDU-1635 Mitigate leader election storms when consensus metadata disk is slow