Replicated tables

General information

Replicated dynamic tables are a type of tables in YTsaurus that does not store a full set of written data, but is a replication queue. As the data is successfully written to replica tables of the current dynamic table, the data from the original table is deleted.

Copies (replicas) of a replicated table can be located both on the same cluster as the source table (intra-cluster replication) and on other clusters often located in different DCs (inter-cluster replication). Replication between dynamic tables enables you to have multiple copies of the same table in independent clusters and organize automatic data replication between them.

Using replicated dynamic tables enables you to:

  • Survive DC level failures, both read and write.
  • Increase fault tolerance of the user service by isolating table replicas.
  • Update YTsaurus clusters updates with less (or without) downtime for the user.

Both sorted and ordered dynamic tables can be replicated. Replicas can be synchronous and asynchronous. A successful write transaction commit ensures that the data is in synchronous replication and in the replication queue. Data will be written to asynchronous replicas in the background. For more information, see Replication.

Each replicated dynamic table can have replicas of both types. Data consistency when writing to a replicated dynamic table is the same as when using an unreplicated dynamic table (sorted or ordered respectively).

In order to use replication, one meta-cluster and one or more replica clusters are required. Setting up replication consists of several steps:

  1. Creating a special replicated_table object on the meta-cluster. This object stores information about replicas and replication status.
  2. Create one dynamic table (sorted or ordered depending on the task) on each of the replica clusters.
  3. Setting up replicas on the meta-cluster and enabling replication.

Once the above steps are complete, data can be written to or deleted from the replicated table on the meta-cluster using the insert-rows and delete-rows commands. The changes will get into the replica clusters.

A replicated dynamic table has a schema and tablets defined by the boundary keys. The schema of the replicated table must be no wider than that of the replicas (differences are possible during migration of all replicas to a wider schema).

Transactions apply to a write to a replicated dynamic table: the actual writing of rows into it occurs when a write transaction is committed. This transaction must be performed exactly on the meta-cluster. Other dynamic (not necessarily replicated) meta-cluster tables can still be used within such a transaction.

Writing data

Writing from the client to the replicated dynamic table results in a distributed commit. As part of the commit, rows are added to the replication queue on the meta-cluster. The client also writes changes to each synchronous replica (if any) as part of this transaction. The data flows from the client to the meta-cluster, as well as to each cluster with a synchronous replica directly, i.e. the flows from the client are multiplied (at least doubled with one synchronous replica). This distributed transaction is coordinated by the meta-cluster. If data cannot be written to at least one synchronous replica, the client will get an error.

Writing to a replicated dynamic table with at least one synchronous replica semantically does not differ from writing to a regular dynamic table. You can write to a replicated dynamic table even if there are no synchronous replicas.


When writing to a replicated dynamic table without synchronous replicas, the system is unable to check for conflicts between transactions, so semantically such a write differs from a regular one.

A successful write to a replicated dynamic table with only asynchronous replicas means that the changes are accepted by the system and are guaranteed (as quickly as possible) to be delivered to the replicas. The asynchronous replicas themselves are always lagging behind the source table.

To allow a client to write to a replicated dynamic table that has no synchronous replica, the write commands (insert-rows, delete-rows) have a special require_sync_replica flag (the default value is true). Setting this flag to false enables a write to a replicated dynamic table without a synchronous replica.

If data cannot be written to the asynchronous replica, it will be accumulated in the replicated table. Once the connection with the replica is re-established, all unreplicated data will be written to the replica.

Reading data

The main task of a replicated dynamic table is to write user data to the replication queue as quickly as possible. As was mentioned above, a replicated dynamic table does not store a full set of data. Therefore, the YTsaurus system seeks to reduce the read load from the replicated dynamic table and will redirect all read queries to the synchronous replica if there is one (defined by a subquery to the meta-cluster). Such reading is guaranteed to be semantically indistinguishable from reading from a regular dynamic table.


The ability to read from a replicated dynamic table causes the additional overhead costs of interacting with the meta-cluster. This feature cannot be used in a situation when low latency or high RPS is required.


With asynchronous replicas only, the ability to read from the replicated dynamic table remains, but is undesirable as it creates additional load on the replicated dynamic table. Reading should be performed from replicas.

Reading from a replicated dynamic table can be performed using the select-rows and lookup-rows commands. When using select-rows, several meta-cluster tables can participate in a single query. If at least one of the tables in a query is replicated, all other tables must also be replicated, and there must be a single cluster on which there are synchronous replicas of all the specified tables. In other words, inter-cluster queries are not supported.


The asynchronous replication process works according to the push schema. There is a replicator for each tablet of the replicated dynamic table and each replica there, which reads fresh changes from the replication queue and sends the data to the asynchronous replicas. The sending process is a distributed (between clusters) transaction, in which data is written to the replica table and data portion replication is recorded in the replicated dynamic table metadata.


For asynchronous replicas, replication transactions (delivering data to replicas) are in no way coordinated with write transactions to the replicated table. Changes in a single write transaction to a replicated table can be broken down into multiple replication transactions. Guarantees:

  • There are no guarantees of atomicity for the replica reader - they may catch the replica in an intermediate state when only part of the transaction changes have been applied to it.
  • Exactly-once semantics is guaranteed (each write to the replicated table will be delivered to all replicas exactly once).
  • The correct order of change delivery to the replica tables is guaranteed — all transactions in the tablet of the replicated table are ordered relative to the commit timestamp. This is the order in which the changes are sent to the replicas.

In case of synchronous mode, the replicator is not involved in the appearance of data in the replica. Instead, a client writing to a replicated table within the same transaction writes (automatically, implicitly) to the synchronous replica table as well. In this sense, the way the data gets into the synchronous replica is not much different from an ordinary table write. In particular, for a synchronous replica, the consistency of its state is guaranteed at exactly the same level as for a regular dynamic table. However, it is important to realize that what is written is only true if the replica remains synchronous at all times. When replication mode switches to asynchronous, the data starts getting into the table with a lag, and when communicating directly with the replica, there is not much chance for the client to realize that such a switch occurred.

The replica tables can be accessed directly through the clusters where these replicas are physically located. The replica tables are special. When replicated, the replica tables contain data with the timestamp generated on the meta-cluster. You cannot write data to replica tables directly (bypassing the meta-cluster), the system makes every effort to prohibit such writing (such writing can be performed by setting upstream_replica_id to zero. The risks of this action are described below). You can read data from replica tables. This is a welcome use case when the replica tables serve a realtime service hosted in the same DC, which gives data to an external user.

Limitations on the consistency of the data that can be read:

  • If the replica is synchronous, reading without specifying a timestamp will give the most recent state (specifically, there is no snapshot isolation at the level of individual values of individual rows: different rows and different columns of the same row may correspond to different points in time; visibility of data from all committed transactions is guaranteed).
  • Reading from a replica with a timestamp is possible, but we recommend getting the timestamp from the meta-cluster, because this timestamp is actually invalid for the replica cluster (because it came from the meta-cluster).
  • For asynchronous replicas, a lag is always possible (and it exists), so any reading will return lagged data; consistency is not guaranteed in replication (a transaction in the replicated table can atomically change A and B keys, read the new value for A from the replica one, and the old value for B after that).


Each replicated table is associated with a set of replicas (table_replica objects) created as follows:

Creating a replica:

yt create replicated_table //tmp/replicated --attr '{dynamic=%true; schema=[{name=k;type=string;sort_order=ascending};{name=v;type=string}]}'

yt create table_replica --attr '{table_path="//tmp/replicated"; <cluster-name>="replica_cluster";replica_path="//tmp/replica"}'

This set of commands creates a replicated table on the meta-cluster //tmp/replicated and configures an (asynchronous) replica for it on the replica_cluster cluster at //tmp/replica.

The specified commands do not create the table itself //tmp/replica on the replica cluster, but only configure the replica for //tmp/replicated. Replica tables must be created individually.

Note that immediately after a replica is created, it is in a disabled state (state = "disabled") in which replication is disabled. To run a replica, run the alter-table-replica --enable command and see below.

Each created replica (like any master server object) has an ID. The following commands can be used to view replica information:

Viewing a replica:

yt get //tmp/replicated/@replicas
yt get '#replica-id/@'

You can delete a replica like other objects using the remove command:

Deleting a replica:

yt remove '#replica-id'

When creating a replica, you can specify the start_replication_timestamp attribute. Then all changes that have a commit ts strictly greater than the specified value will be replicated. This parameter enables you to connect a new replica to an existing replicated table on the fly (assuming that you somehow managed to make a copy of the table as of the specified timestamp). We are talking about timestamps in the meta-cluster sense.

Creating replica tables

A replica table is a regular (dynamic) table on the target cluster. But when creating it, you must specify the upstream_replica_id attribute and the ID of the replica object on the meta-cluster. Specifying upstream_replica_id allows the replicator to write from the metacluster to the replica cluster and prohibits direct writing to the replica table (which would bypass the replicator). Specifying this ID protects against configuration errors when the same table appears as a replica for multiple replicated tables.

Creating a replica table:

yt create table //tmp/replica --attr '{dynamic=%true; upstream_replica_id=replica-id;schema=[{name=k;type=string;sort_order=ascending};{name=v;type=string}]}'

The upstream_replica_id table attribute can be changed after the table is created using the alter-table command. All table tablets must be unmounted.

Replica settings

Immediately after a replica is created, it is in a disabled state (the state attribute). No replication is performed in this state. To enable a replica, use the alter-table-replica command:

Enabling a replica:

yt alter-table-replica replica-id --enable

The replica will switch to enabling state and after it is successfully enabled, it will switch to enabled state.

The replica can be disabled, thereby interrupting replication. To disable a replica, use the same alter-table-replica command. Disabling is also asynchronous, the replica will switch to disabling and then to disabled state:

Disabling a replica:

yt alter-table-replica replica-id --disable

Manual synchronization

In some cases it is sufficient to have only asynchronous replicas (they provide the maximum possible write speed to the replicated table, since all actions are performed in the background), but still be able to explicitly wait for replication to finish in any replica. The get-in-sync-replicas command is used for that. For it to work, you need to specify a timestamp and the system will find all replicas that are guaranteed to be reached by all changes with a timestamp no greater than the specified one. For example, you can generate the current timestamp and then wait in the cycle for the specified replica to be in the list returned by the command. This replica can then be queried and timestamped. This will guarantee read consistency.

Replication modes

By default, replicas are created in asynchronous mode. The user can specify a synchronous mode at creation (via the mode attribute) and change the mode on the fly (using the alter_table_replica command). This switch can result in write downtime: if a replica is switched from asynchronous to synchronous mode, queue tail replication must be fully complete before the client can write to that replica. Therefore, it is not a good idea to consider a replica with a large lag to be synchronous (the replicated table cannot be written to until the lag disappears).

Asynchronous replication is possible without saving the start timestamps. To use this mode, create a replica with the {"mode": "async", "preserve_timestamps": "false"} attributes, and the replica table must be created without specifying the upstream_replica_id attribute. This feature can be useful in a number of cases:

  1. You want to replicate data from multiple sources into one replica table.
  2. You want to manually change data in the replica table (patch, insert new data), bypassing the replication mechanism.

Automatic switching of the synchronous replica

If the cluster on which the synchronous replica is located is unavailable, writing to the replicated dynamic table is stopped. To continue writing, the synchronous replica must be switched to another cluster. The YTsaurus system can automatically switch a synchronous replica. To activate this feature, either create a replicated dynamic table with the replicated_table_options={enable_replicated_table_tracker=%true} attribute or add the specified attribute later using the yt set call. The YTsaurus system will then monitor the table replicas and switch the synchronous replica to another cluster if necessary.

There are two settings to specify the number of synchronous replicas: min_sync_replica_count and max_sync_replica_count. The automated system switches available replicas to synchronous mode, but so that there are no more than max_sync_replica_count synchronous replicas. The automated system also monitors that the number of synchronous replicas does not fall below min_sync_replica_count.
If min_sync_replica_count and max_sync_replica_count are not specified, then both fields are equal to 1 by default. If only min_sync_replica_count is not specified, it will be equal to max_sync_replica_count. If only max_sync_replica_count is not specified, it will be equal to the total number of replicas. Thus, by default, the automated system supports exactly one synchronous replica.

There is a mode when the YTsaurus system stops monitoring any table replica, but continues monitoring the remaining replicas. To enable this mode for a replica (table_replica), use the yt set call and set the enable_replicated_table_tracker=%false attribute.

You can view the current mode for the replica table using the replicated_table_tracker_enabled attribute of the meta-cluster replica object:

yt meta-cluster get //home/some_meta_table/@replicas

"table-replica-id" = {
     "cluster_name" = "some_name";
     "replica_path" = "//home/some_table";
     "state" = "enabled";
     "mode" = "async";
     "replicated_table_tracker_enabled" = %false;

Concurrent switching of synchronous table group replicas

You can combine replicated tables into groups (collocations) so that the system monitors that synchronous replicas of these tables are on the same clusters.
To do this, create a table_collocation object that stores a list of collocated replicated tables.

Working with replicated table collocations:

# Create a collocation with a list of tables.
yt create table_collocation --attributes '{collocation_type=replication; table_paths=["//tmp/replicated_table_1"; "//tmp/replicated_table_2"]}'

# Find out the list of tables in a collocation.
yt get "#collocation-id/@table_ids"
yt get "#collocation-id/@table_paths"

# Find out the ID of the collocation to which the table belongs.
yt get //tmp/replicated_table_1/@replication_collocation_id

# Find out the list of all tables in the collocation to which the table belongs.
yt get //tmp/replicated_table_1/@replication_collocation_table_paths

# Add a table to the collocation.
yt set //tmp/replicated_table_3/@replication_collocation_id collocation-id

# Delete a table from the collocation.
yt remove //tmp/replicated_table_3/@replication_collocation_id

Specifying preferred clusters for synchronous replicas

When a replicated table on different clusters has multiple replicas that can become synchronous, you can specify which of them should be given preference in case of automatic switching. To do this, the following attribute must be set on the replicated table:

yt set //tmp/replicated_table/@replicated_table_options/preferred_sync_replica_clusters '["cluster-name"]'

This attribute respects collocations of replicated tables, but for it to work correctly, the attribute must be set to all tables of the collocation.

Limiting replication speed

Table replication can significantly load the network between data centers. Therefore, we recommend setting limits for tables with intensive writing. To do this, use the replication_throttler attribute for which two values can be specified:

  • limit: The limit for the average bandwidth value in bytes/sec.
  • period: The time interval in ms during which the average bandwidth value is measured.

For example, the following command sets a replication limit of one megabyte per second:

yt set //tmp/replicated_table/@replication_throttler '{period=1000;limit=1000000}'


The limit you set does not apply to the entire table, but to each table tablet individually.

Resistance to downtimes and updates

Each replica cluster exists independently. When a replica cluster is disabled, there is no way to read data from it. Replicas can be updated independently.

The replica table schemas do not have to match the replicated table schema, but must be no narrower than the replicated table schema for replication to work correctly. You need to start the schema change with the replicas and then move on to the replicated table.

In order to write data to a replicated table, two conditions must be met, and are sufficient:

  1. The meta-cluster is available.
  2. All synchronous replicas of the replicated table are available. It is assumed that the meta-cluster is geo-distributed, updated infrequently and with a short downtime during which the table cannot be written to (but can still be read directly from replicas). If a replicated table has no synchronous replicas, it can be written to whenever a meta-cluster is available. If a table has a synchronous replica, it needs to be kept available (which can be helped by automated synchronous replica switching).


All replicated tables are tables and they have a corresponding set of attributes. Any replicated table is additionally characterized by these parameters:

Name Type Description
replicas Guid->ReplicaInfo Description of replicas (keys — IDs of replicas, values — some of their important attributes).
replicated_table_options ReplicatedTableOptions Automated replica switching settings.

ReplicatedTableOptions here have the following form:

Name Type Description
enable_replicated_table_tracker bool Whether automated synchronous replica switching is enabled; the default value is %false.
max_sync_replica_count integer Maximum and desired number of synchronous replicas to be supported by the automated system.
min_sync_replica_count integer Maximum number of synchronous replicas to be supported by the automated system.
preferred_sync_replica_clusters list List of preferred clusters for synchronous replicas.

Each replica is described by the ReplicaInfo dict with the following form:

Name Type Description
string Replica cluster name.
replica_path string The path to the replica table on the replica cluster.
state TableReplicaState Replica state^[enabled/enabling/disabled/disabling]
mode TableReplicaMode Replica mode: async or sync.
replication_lag_time Duration Replica lag estimate.
errors* Error List of replication errors for this replica.
preserve_timestamps bool Save start timestamps? The default value is true. Makes sense only for asynchronous replicas.
atomicity EAtomicity full or none. Makes sense only for asynchronous replicas.

The replication_lag_time gives a rough estimate of the replication lag (to within tens of seconds).

The replica object itself, in addition to the listed attributes (as well as those inherent in all objects), also has a number of additional attributes (all of which can be found out by running a query of the yt get '#replica-id/@' type):

Name Type Description
mode ReplicaMode Replica mode: sync, async.
start_replication_timestamp Timestamp Start timestamp for the replica.
table_path string Path to the replicated table on the meta-cluster.
tablets[]() TabletReplicaInfo Description of the tablet state; the position in the list corresponds to the tablet index as in the table itself.
enable_replicated_table_tracker bool Enables automated synchronous replica switching (see above); the default value is %true.

The TabletReplicaInfo structure has the following form:

Name Type Description
tablet_id Guid Tablet ID.
state TableReplicaState State of this replica of this tablet.
current_replication_row_index integer Replication boundary in the queue by write index (writes with index >= the one specified are subject to replication).
current_replication_timestamp Timestamp Replication boundary in the queue by timestamp (writes with timestamp > the specified are subject to replication).
replication_lag_time Duration Replica lag estimate for this tablet.
flushed_row_count integer The number of rows written to the disk in a specified tablet; if the replicated table is frozen, this value can be compared to current_replication_row_index for keeping track of replication.
trimmed_row_count` integer The number of initial rows in a specified tablet that were replicated everywhere and whose chunks were deleted (log truncation).
replication_error Error Describes a replication error. If there is no error, this tag will also be missing.

The current_replication_row_index and current_replication_timestamp parameters increase monotonically as the replicator runs, marking the successfully replicated writes.

Checking a replication queue

A replication queue check is useful for re-creating a replicated table without losing changes. The procedure is as follows:

  1. Run the freeze-table command for the replicated table.
  2. Wait (by querying the tablet_state table attribute) for all tablets to go into frozen state.
  3. Get information about the state of the tablets of the table of interest by making a get #replica-id/@tablets query. Each response list item describes the replication state for a specified tablet of the replicated table to the specified replica. For each tablet, view the flushed_row_count and current_replication_row_index values and wait until they are the same.

Use cases

Creating, setting up replicas

The examples work from version ytsaurus-client >= 0.8.19. .

Examples of using replicated tables:

export YT_PROXY=cluster-name

# Creating a replicated table.
yt create replicated_table //tmp/replicated --attr '{

# Creating a replica associated with the <cluster-name> cluster..
yt create table_replica --attr '{

# Creating a second replica on the <cluster-name> cluster.
yt create table_replica --attr '{

# Creating a replica table on the <cluster-name> cluster.
YT_PROXY=cluster-name yt create table //tmp/replica --attr '{

# Creating a replica table on the <cluster-name> cluster.
YT_PROXY=<cluster-name> yt create table //tmp/replica --attr '{

# Mounting a replica table and a replicated table.
yt mount-table //tmp/replicated
YT_PROXY=cluster-name yt mount-table //tmp/replica
YT_PROXY=<cluster-name> yt mount-table //tmp/replica

# Writing data to a replicated table.
echo '{k=1;v=100}' | yt insert-rows //tmp/replicated --format yson
Table //tmp/replicated has no synchronous replicas

# Setting the no-require-sync-replica flag to force a write
echo '{k=1;v=100}' | yt insert-rows //tmp/replicated --format yson --no-require-sync-replica

# Write was successful, but there is no data in the replica:
YT_PROXY=cluster-name yt select-rows '* from [//tmp/replica]' --format yson

# Viewing replica state.
yt get '#730e-7bcd8-3ff02c5-fd0b36ee/@state'

# Replica was not enabled. Enabling a replica.
yt alter-table-replica 730e-8611b-3ff02c5-f647333f --enable
yt alter-table-replica 730e-7bcd8-3ff02c5-fd0b36ee --enable

# Checking replication progress.
YT_PROXY=cluster-name yt select-rows '* from [//tmp/replica]' --format json

# Attempting to read data directly from a replicated table.
yt select-rows '* from [//tmp/replicated]' --format json
No in-sync replicas found for table //tmp/replicated

# Reading is not possible without synchronous replicas.
# Disabling the second replica and rewriting.
yt alter-table-replica 730e-8611b-3ff02c5-f647333f --disable
echo '{k=2;v=200}' | yt insert-rows //tmp/replicated --format yson --no-require-sync-replica

# Reading from replicas
YT_PROXY=cluster-name yt select-rows '* from [//tmp/replica]' --format json

YT_PROXY=<cluster-name> yt select-rows '* from [//tmp/replica]' --format json

# You can see that <cluster-name> received the data, but <cluster-name> did not.
# Failed replication can be noticed by a growing lag.
yt get '#730e-8611b-3ff02c5-f647333f/@replication_lag_time'

# Changing the replication type to <cluster-name> and enabling the replica
yt alter-table-replica 730e-8611b-3ff02c5-f647333f --enable --mode sync

# Reading data from <cluster-name> and checking data availability
YT_PROXY=<cluster-name> yt select-rows '* from [//tmp/replica]' --format json

# Synchronous replica makes it possible to read directly from the replicated table
yt select-rows '* from [//tmp/replicated]' --format json

# Deleting the first row, this time in sync mode.
echo '{k=1}' | yt delete-rows //tmp/replicated --format yson

# Checking the command execution
YT_PROXY=cluster-name yt select-rows '* from [//tmp/replica]' --format json

YT_PROXY=<cluster-name> yt select-rows '* from [//tmp/replica]' --format json

# Disabling writing to a replicated table
yt freeze-table //tmp/replicated

# Checking that the tablet is frozen, i.e. all data was written to the disk.
yt get //tmp/replicated/@tablet_state

# Checking that all rows were successfully replicated in each of the replicas.
# To do this, view the flushed_row_count and replicated_row_index attributes.
yt get '#730e-7bcd8-3ff02c5-fd0b36ee/@tablets'
        "flushed_row_count" = 5;
        "tablet_id" = "730e-68d3e-3ff02be-ee882e4a";
        "trimmed_row_count" = 2;
        "replication_lag_time" = 0;
        "current_replication_timestamp" = 1610012496066773010u;
        "current_replication_row_index" = 5;
        "state" = "enabled";

yt get '#730e-8611b-3ff02c5-f647333f/@tablets'
        "flushed_row_count" = 5;
        "tablet_id" = "730e-68d3e-3ff02be-ee882e4a";
        "trimmed_row_count" = 2;
        "replication_lag_time" = 0;
        "current_replication_timestamp" = 1610012496066773010u;
        "current_replication_row_index" = 5;
        "state" = "enabled";

# You can see that the flushed_row_count and current_replication_row_index values are the same, i.e. both replicas are fully replicated.