High Availability

Replication is used for data protection, high availability and failover.

If a volume is replicated, each replica is scheduled on a different node. Writes to the master volume are written synchronously to each replica. During the replication process a volume can continue to be used with no noticeable drop in performance.

The maximum number of replicas that can be created is five, or up to the number of remaining nodes in the cluster. For most applications, one replica is sufficient.


If the master volume is lost, a random replica is promoted to master and a new replica is created and synced.

If a replica volume is lost and there are enough remaining nodes, a new replica is created and synced.

While a new replica is created and being synced, the volume’s health will be marked as degraded and the failure mode will determine whether the volume can be used while the recovery is taking place.

Create a volume with replicas

Volumes are replicated (copied) across nodes by setting the StorageOS feature label storageos.com/replicas to a value between 1 and 5. No replicas are set by default.

To create a volume with 2 replicas (3 copies of the data total), set the storageos.com/replicas label:

storageos volume create --namespace default --label storageos.com/replicas=2 volume-name

or the Docker CLI:

$ docker volume create --driver storageos --opt size=15 --opt storageos.com/replicas=2 volume-name

Adding replicas

When storageos.com/replicas is set on an existing volume, the entire volume will be copied (synced via a separate process) to a new replica, and any new writes that come in to the master volume during or after the sync will also be copied.

To add replicas to a volume:

storageos volume update --label-add storageos.com/replicas=2 default/volume-name

Failure modes

Failure modes specify how StorageOS should react to node issues.

There are three different modes:

  • soft is the default mode. It works together with the failure tolerance label to help decide whether the volume should be writable or not. The failure tolerance specifies how many failed replicas we tolerate, defaulting to 1 if there is only 1 replica, or replicas - 1 if there is more than 1 replica.

    To ensure there are always two copies of the data, use hard mode with a single replica, or use two replicas with soft mode.

  • hard: if the number of replicas falls below that set in storageos.com/replicas, mark the volume as unavailable. Any reads or writes will fail.

  • alwayson: as long as any copy of the volume is available, the volume will be usable.

You can select failure mode using labels:

storageos volume create --namespace default --label storageos.com/replicas=2 --label storageos.com/failure.mode=alwayson volume-name