Synchronous multi-master replication with the Galera plugin. Your application connects to the load balancer and it redirects read/write traffic to the various MySQL Galera nodes. Tested a setup with 17 SQL nodes and you can have even more. Scaling reads and also a little bit for scaling writes is what Galera is good for.
If one node fails, the other two nodes still communicates with each other and the load balancer is aware of the failed node.
Why Galera? There is master-slave replication but its not multi-master, and its asynchronous and you can get inconsistencies. There is master-master replication but its asynchronous and can have inconsistencies and conflicts if you write on both nodes. MHA/MMM/Tungsten are not providing new technology but are based on the MySQL replication technology. MySQL Cluster is another solution but its not InnoDB storage & your need new know-how for Cluster. Also Cluster has problems with fast JOINs. Active/Passive failover clustering, but too often you have resources idling. Schooner being closed & expensive is hard to know much about what they’re doing.
Galera is synchronous & based on InnoDB (others should in theory be possible). Active-active real multi-master topology. True parallel replication on row level. Cluster speaks with each other. There is no slave lag. Won’t lose transactions. Read/write scalability, write throughput can be improved but can’t scale in the way like MySQL Cluster.
Disadvantages? Its not native MySQL binaries/sources but a patch. Codership provides binaries. Higher probability of deadlocks. When you do a full sync (like when a node comes back after downtime), one node is blocked. This is why the minimum you need a 3-node cluster. Also if you do a full sync with a database larger than 50GB, the recommended method is to use mysqldump (which can be very slow). You can use rsync. Percona is working on xtrabackup to do a full sync between nodes.
Setup: 3 nodes are recommended. Or just 2 nodes and one for garbd (Galera Arbitrator Daemon). 2 nodes works but pay attention to a split brain scenario. Go to the Codership website, download their binaries and wsrep (the Galera plug-in). Create your own user on all nodes (don’t use the default root user). You then need to configure my.cnf (there have been discussions for a galera.conf, but Oli just uses my.cnf). Galera works only with InnoDB, so in my.cnf make the default storage engine InnoDB (don’t for example, by accident have MyISAM tables).
The demo has a strange Galera start script, but its not been easy to work. Just start MySQL usually like you would do.
SST is Snapshot State Transfer (SST). Its the initial full sync between the 1st and the other node. SST blocks the donor node (hence why you need 3 nodes). With Galera v2.0, there is also incremental state transfer. It should be GA in February 2012. You can get deltas as opposed to the full sync. You can configure which will be the donor node.
Currently there are 27 variables about Galera in v1.1. You can do it just by doing SHOW GLOBAL VARIABLES LIKE ‘wsrep%’;. The plugin itself, wsrep_provider_options has plenty of options & plenty of room for tuning. SHOW GLOBAL STATUS LIKE ‘wsrep%’; currently has 38 status information fields in Galera v1.1.
For load balancing, you can do it in your application (on your own). You can also use Connector/J which provides load balancing. There is also a PHP MySQLnd that works.