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Erasure Coding

MinIO Erasure Coding is a data redundancy and availability feature that allows MinIO deployments to automatically reconstruct objects on-the-fly despite the loss of multiple drives or pods in the cluster. Erasure Coding provides object-level healing with less overhead than adjacent technologies such as RAID or replication.

Erasure Coding uses a system of data blocks, parity blocks, and drives grouped into Erasure Sets. Each object written to the MinIO Tenant is split into data and parity blocks, where parity blocks support reconstruction of missing or corrupted data block. For a given Erasure Code parity level (EC:N), N drives in the Erasure Set contain parity blocks while the remaining drives contain data blocks.

The number of parity blocks determines the Tenant’s ability to continue servicing read and write requests in the event of drive or pod failure. Specifically:

  • For read operations, the MinIO Tenant can tolerate the loss of up to N drives in the Erasure Set.

  • For write operations, the MinIO Tenant can tolerate the loss of up to N-1 drives in the Erasure Set.

Since parity blocks require storage space, higher levels of parity provide increased tolerance to drive or pod failure at the cost of total usable storage capacity.

The following table lists the outcome of varying EC levels on a MinIO Tenant with 4 pods and 4 1Ti drives per node. MinIO creates a single Erasure Set consisting of 16 drives for this Tenant.

Outcome of Parity Settings on a 16 Drive MinIO Tenant

Parity

Total Storage

Storage Ratio

Minimum Drives for Read Operations

Minimum Drives for Write Operations

EC: 4 (Default)

12 Tebibytes

0.750

12

13

EC: 6

10 Tebibytes

0.625

10

16

EC: 8

8 Tebibytes

0.500

8

9

Erasure Sets

An Erasure Set is a set of drives in a MinIO Tenant Pool that support Erasure Coding. MinIO evenly distributes object data and parity blocks among the drives in the Erasure Set.

IMAGE

When creating a MinIO Tenant Pool, MinIO divides the total number of drives in the Pool into sets consisting of between 4 and 16 drives each. MinIO considers two factors when selecting the Erasure Set size:

  • The Greatest Common Divisor (GCD) of the total drives.

  • The number of minio pods in the Pool.

For Pools with an even number of pods, MinIO uses the GCD to calculate the Erasure Set size and ensure the minimum number of Erasure Sets possible. For Pools with an odd number of pods, MinIO selects a common denominator that results in an odd number of Erasure Sets to facilitate more uniform distribution of erasure set drives among pods in the Pool.

For example, consider a Pool consisting of 4 pods with 8 drives each for a total of 32 drives. The GCD of 16 produces 2 Erasure Sets of 16 drives each with uniform distribution of erasure set drives across all 4 pods.

Now consider a Pool consisting of 5 pods with 8 drives each for a total of 40 drives. Using the GCD, MinIO would create 4 erasure sets with 10 drives each. However, this distribution would result in uneven distribution with one node contributing more drives to the Erasure Sets than the others. MinIO instead creates 5 erasure sets with 8 drives each to ensure uniform distribution of Erasure Set drives per Nodes.

MinIO generally recommends maintaining an even number of pods in a Pool to facilitate simplified human calculation of the number and size of Erasure Sets in the Pool. You can review the number of instances per Pool from the MinIO section under the Configure tab of the Cluster:

IMAGE

MinIO uses a hash of an object’s name to determine into which Erasure Set to store that object. MinIO always uses that erasure set for objects with a matching name. For example, MinIO stores all versions of an object in the same Erasure Set.

<DIAGRAM: Object A routes to EC A, Object B routes to EC B, Object B v2 routes to EC B>

Erasure Code Parity (EC:N)

MinIO uses a Reed-Solomon algorithm to split objects into data and parity blocks based on the size of the Erasure Set. MinIO uses parity blocks to automatically heal damaged or missing data blocks when reconstructing an object. MinIO uses the EC:N notation to refer to the number of parity blocks (N) in the Erasure Set.

After MinIO selects an object’s Erasure Set, it divides the object based on the number of drives in the set and the configured parity. MinIO creates:

  • (Erasure Set Drives) - EC:N Data Blocks, and

  • EC:N Parity Blocks.

MinIO randomly and uniformly distributes the data and parity blocks across drives in the erasure set with no overlap. While a drive may contain both data and parity blocks for multiple unique objects, a single unique object has no more than one block per drive in the set. For versioned objects, MinIO selects the same drives for both data and parity storage while maintaining zero overlap on any single drive.

The specified parity for an object also dictates the minimum number of Erasure Set drives (“Quorum”) required for MinIO to either read or write that object:

Read Quorum

The minimum number of Erasure Set drives required for MinIO to serve read operations. MinIO can automatically reconstruct an object with corrupted or missing data blocks if enough drives are online to provide Read Quorum for that object.

MinIO Read Quorum is DRIVES - (EC:N).

Write Quorum

The minimum number of Erasure Set drives required for MinIO to serve write operations. MinIO requires enough available drives to eliminate the risk of split-brain scenarios.

MinIO Write Quorum is DRIVES - (EC:N-1).

Storage Classes

MinIO supports storage classes with Erasure Coding to allow applications to specify per-object parity. Each storage class specifies an EC:N parity setting to apply to objects created with that class.

MinIO references the x-amz-storage-class header in request metadata for determining which storage class to assign an object. The specific syntax or method for setting headers depends on your preferred method for interfacing with the MinIO Tenant. For example, the minio-go SDK S3Client.PutObject method takes a PutObjectOptions data structure as a parameter. The PutObjectOptions data structure includes the StorageClass option for specifying the storage class to assign to the object being created.

MinIO storage classes are distinct from Amazon Web Services storage classes. MinIO storage classes define parity settings per object, while AWS storage classes define storage tiers per object.

MinIO provides the following two storage classes:

STANDARD

The STANDARD storage class defines the default parity for all objects. MinIO sets the default value at Tenant creation based on the number of drives per Erasure Set as EC:N/2, where N is the number of drives in the Erasure Set.

To modify the STANDARD storage class after Tenant creation, use the mc admin config command to modify storage_class.standard EC:N where N is the new parity value. The change applies only to those objects created after updating the storage class value.

  • The maximum value is half of the total drives in the Erasure Set.

  • STANDARD parity must be greater than or equal to REDUCED_REDUNDANCY.

  • If REDUCED_REDUNDANCY is unset, STANDARD parity must be greater than 2

REDUCED_REDUNDANCY

The REDUCED_REDUNDANCY storage class allows creating objects with lower parity than STANDARD. MinIO sets the default value at Tenant creation to EC:2.

To modify the REDUCED_REDUNDANCY storage class after Tenant creation, use the mc admin config set command to modify storage_class.rrs EC:N where N is the new parity value. The change applies only to those objects created after updating the storage class value.

  • REDUCED_REDUNDANCY parity must be less than or equal to STANDARD. If STANDARD is unset, REDUCED_REDUNDANCY must be less than half of the total drives in the Erasure Set.

  • REDUCED_REDUNDANCY is not supported for MinIO Tenants with 4 or fewer drives.