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Replication Notes


I've been reading and trying to understand OpenLDAP replication, I made
notes along the way. I am posting them here in the hope that it is useful
for somebody else. Please feel free to add it to the OpenLDAP CVS repository
if you think this is useful.


Ganesan R (rganesan@debian.org>)     | http://www.debian.org/~rganesan/
1024D/5D8C12EA, fingerprint F361 84F1 8D82 32E7 1832  6798 15E0 02BA 5D8C 12EA
Replication in OpenLDAP

Please read "Section 10. Replication with slurpd" in the OpenLDAP guide for
an overview and configuration of single-master replication. This document
describes the internals of the replication mechanism.

slapd/repl.c contains routines add_replica_info() and
add_replica_suffix(). add_replica_info() adds a new host to the list of
replicas for a backend. add_replica_info() returns a number for the
replica. add_replica_suffix() must then be called with the replica number to
add a suffix that is hosted on this replica. add_replica_info() and add_replica_suffix() do not lock the

Replicas are specified in the slapd.conf file. When slapd/config.c sees a
"replica" line in slapd.conf, it calls add_replica_info() with the host
specified in the "host=" directive and then calls add_replica_suffix() with
the replica number and and the suffix specified in the "suffix="

slapd writes out a replication log file containing LDIF change records for
each configured replica for a suffix. The change records are generated for
add, modify, delete and modrdn operations. A function called replog() is
called at the end of the routines do_add (slapd/add.c),
do_modify(slapd/modify.c), do_delete(slapd/delete.c) and
do_modrdn(slapd/modrnd.c) to write out the change records.

In master/slave replication, updates are not allowed on slave
replicas. Therefore replog() is not called if the suffix is configured with
a updatedn (which indicates that this is a slave replica), instead a
referral is returned back to the client. If multi-master replication is
enabled, replog() is always called whenever any of the above updates happen
unless the dn which is making the change is the updatedn. When the dn making
the change is the same as the updatedn, it is assumed that this entry is
being replicated by a slurpd instance on another host. (Note: For this
reason, the updatedn must not be a "regular" admin/user object in
multi-master replication).

The function replog() in slapd/repl.c generates the actual change
records. Each change record is preceded by the list of replicas to which
this change record needs to be replicated, the time when this change
happened and the dn this change applies to. The pseudo code for replog() is

1. Check that a replog exists.
2. Lock the replog mutex.
3. Open and lock the replog file. 
4. Normalize the dn for the entry and write out a "replica:" entry for each
   replica with a matching suffix. 
5. Write out the the timestamp and the dn for the entry.
6. Depending on the type of change, write out an appropriate changetype
7. Close the replication log
8. Unlock the replog mutex

slurpd has a file manager routine (function fm()) which watches for any
change in the replication log. Whenever fm() detects a change in the
replication log it locks the log, appends the records to slurpd's private
copy of the replication log and truncates the log. See the slurpd/DESIGN
file for a description of how slurpd works. 

slapd can be configured to write out a replication log even if no replicas
are configured. In this case the administrator has to truncate the
replication log manually (under a lock!).