High availability EventStoreDB allows you to run more than one node as a cluster. Follow this guide to learn how to set up a highly-available EventStoreDB cluster.

Cluster nodes

EventStoreDB clusters follow a "shared nothing" philosophy, meaning that clustering requires no shared disks for clustering to work. Instead, several database nodes store your data to ensure it isn't lost in case of a drive failure or a node crashing.


Lean more about cluster node roles.

EventStoreDB uses a quorum-based replication model, in which a majority of nodes in the cluster must acknowledge that they committed a write to disk before acknowledging the write to the client. This means that to be able to tolerate the failure of n nodes, the cluster must be of size (2n + 1). A three-database-node cluster can continue to accept writes if one node is unavailable. A five-database-node cluster can continue to accept writes if two nodes are unavailable, and so forth.

A typical deployment topology consists of three physical machines, each running one manager node and one database node. Each of the physical machines may have two network interfaces, one for communicating with other cluster members, and one for serving clients. Although it may be preferable in some situations to run over two separate networks. It's also possible to use different TCP ports on one interface. Read more about the network interfaces configuration in the networking documentation.

Cluster size

For any cluster configuration, you first need to decide how many nodes you want, provision each node and set the cluster size option on each node.

The cluster size is a pre-defined value. The cluster expects the number of nodes to match this predefined number, otherwise the cluster would be incomplete and therefore unhealthy.

The cluster cannot be dynamically scaled. If you need to change the number of cluster nodes, the cluster size setting must be changed on all nodes before the new node can join.

Use the ClusterSize option to tell each cluster node about how many nodes the cluster should have.

Command line--cluster-size

Default: 1 (single node, no high-availability).

When setting up a cluster, you generally want an odd number of nodes as EventStoreDB uses a quorum based algorithm to handle high availability. We recommended you define an odd number of nodes to avoid split brain problems.

Common values for the ClusterSize setting are three or five (to have a majority of two nodes and a majority of three nodes).

Discovering cluster members

Cluster nodes use the gossip protocol to discover each other and select the cluster leader. There could be only one leader and each client application connecting to the cluster would always be directed to the leader node.

Cluster nodes need to know about one another to gossip. To start this process, you provide gossip seeds or the addresses where it can find other nodes, to each node. When running with manager nodes, it normally uses the following approach:

  • On each physical machine, configure the database node(s) with a gossip seed of the internal HTTP interface of the manager running on the same physical machine.

  • Configure cluster nodes to discover other nodes in one of two ways:

The preferred method is via a DNS entry. To set this up, create a DNS entry for the cluster with an A record pointing to each member of the cluster. Each node looks up other nodes in the cluster during the startup process based on the DNS name. Since DNS only provides information about addresses, you need to use a consistent TCP port across the cluster for gossip.

Internal communication

When setting up a cluster the nodes must be able to reach each other over both the internal HTTP channel and the internal TCP channel. You should ensure that these ports are open on firewalls on the machines and between the machines.

Learn more about the internal networking configuration to set up the cluster properly.

Cluster with DNS

When you tell EventStoreDB to use DNS for its gossip, the server will resolve the DNS name to a list of IP addresses and connect to each of those addresses to find other nodes. This method is very flexible because you can change the list of nodes on your DNS server without changing the cluster configuration. The DNS method is also useful in automated deployment scenario when you control both the cluster deployment and the DNS server from your infrastructure-as-code scripts.

To use the DNS discovery, you need to set the ClusterDns option to the DNS name that resolves to a list of IP addresses for the cluster nodes. You also need to have the DiscoverViaDns option to be set to true but it is its default value.

Command line--cluster-dns
Environment variableEVENTSTORE_CLUSTER_DNS

Default: fake.dns, which doesn't resolve to anything. You have to set it to a proper DNS name when used in combination to the DNS discovery (next setting).

Command line--discover-via-dns

Default: true, the DNS discovery is enabled by default.

It will be used only if the cluster has more than one node. You must set the ClusterDns setting to a proper DNS name.

When using DNS for cluster gossip, you'd need to set the GossipPort setting to the internal (usual) or external HTTP port, depending on your cluster networking configuration. Refer to gossip port option documentation to learn more.

Cluster with gossip seeds

If you don't want or cannot use the DNS-based configuration, it is possible to tell cluster nodes to call other nodes using their IP addresses. This method is a bit more cumbersome, because each node has to have the list of addresses for other nodes configured, but not its own address.

The setting accepts a comma-separated list of IP addresses (not host names) with their gossip port values.

Command line--gossip-seed
Environment variableEVENTSTORE_GOSSIP_SEED

Gossip protocol

EventStoreDB uses a quorum-based replication model. When working normally, a cluster has one database node known as a leader, and the remaining nodes are followers. The leader node is responsible for coordinating writes while it is the leader. Database nodes use a consensus algorithm to determine which database node should be master and which should be followers. EventStoreDB bases the decision as to which node should be the leader on a number of factors.

For a cluster node to have this information available to them, the nodes gossip with other nodes in the cluster. Gossip runs over the internal (and optionally the external) HTTP interfaces of cluster nodes.

The gossip protocol configuration can be changed using settings listed below. Pay attention to the settings related to time, like intervals and timeouts, when running in a cloud environment.

Gossip port

It's used for constructing the URL for making a gossip request to other nodes that are discovered via DNS. It's not used when using gossip seeds, because in that case the list contains ip addresses and the port.

Command line--cluster-gossip-port

Default: 30777

Gossip interval

Cluster nodes try to ensure that the communication with their neighbour nodes isn't broken. They use gossip protocol and call each other after a specified period of time. This period is called the gossip interval. You can change the GossipInvervalMs setting so cluster nodes check in with each other more or less frequently.

The default value is one second. For cloud deployments, we recommend using two seconds instead (2000 ms).

Command line--gossip-interval-ms

Default: 1000 (in milliseconds), which is one second.

Time difference toleration

EventStoreDB expects the time on cluster nodes to be in sync. It is however possible that nodes get their clock desynchronized by a small value. This settings allows adjusting the tolerance of how much the clock on different nodes might be out of sync.

If different nodes have their clock out of sync for a number of milliseconds that exceeds the value of this setting, the gossip gets rejected and the node won't be accepted as the cluster member.

Command line--gossip-allowed-difference-ms

Default: 60000 (in milliseconds), which is one minute.

Gossip timeout

When nodes call each other using gossip protocol to understand the cluster status, a busy node might delay the response. When a node isn't getting a response from another node, it might consider that other node as dead. Such a situation might trigger the election process.

If your cluster network is congested, you might increase the gossip timeout using the GossipTimeoutMs setting, so nodes will be more tolerant to delayed gossip responses. The default value is half a second, but for cloud deployments we recommend setting it to 2.5 seconds (2500 ms).

Command line--gossip-timeout-ms

Default: 500 (in milliseconds).

Gossip on single node

When you run a single-node instance of EventStoreDB, the gossip communication is unnecessary. However, if your production environment uses a multi-node cluster and the test environment runs on a single node, you might want to keep the connection style consistent. EventStoreDB clients use either a single-node or gossip-style connection. So, to prevent changing the connection style, you might want to connect to your single-node instance using the gossip protocol as well. To do so, you'd need to enable gossip for that instance as it is disabled by default. Use the GossipOnSingleNode setting to change this behaviour.

Command line--gossip-on-single-node

Default: false

Cluster node roles

Every node in an EventStoreDB cluster can have one of three roles: Leader, Follower and Clone.

All writes are executed by the Leader node unconditionally, confirmed by a number of other nodes, described on the acknowledgement page. Subscription clients can connect to Follower or Clone nodes to offload reads from the Leader node.



Leader node role was previously known as Master.

A cluster assigns the leader role based on an election process. The node with the leader role ensures that the data are committed and persisted to disk before sending back to the client an acknowledgement message. A cluster can only have one leader at a time. If a cluster detects two nodes with a leader role, a new election begins and shuts down the node with less data to restart and re-join the cluster.



Follower role was previously known as Slave.

A cluster assigns the follower role based on an election process. A cluster uses one or more nodes with the follower role to form the quorum, or the majority of nodes necessary to confirm that a write is persisted.



Clone nodes aren't supported in the latest versions of EventStoreDB (20+) and replaced by read-only replicas. The reason for this is that clone nodes can be promoted to cluster members but writes to the cluster never require acknowledgments from clone nodes. Such a collision might lead to a situation of a clone node that hasn't received the latest data to be promoted to a cluster member and potentially cause data loss.

If you add nodes to a cluster beyond the number of nodes specified in the ClusterSize setting the cluster automatically assigns them the clone role.

A cluster asynchronously replicates data one way to a node with the clone role. You don't need to wait for an acknowledgement message as the node is not part of the quorum. For this reason a node with a clone role does not add much overhead to the other nodes.

If a cluster loses nodes to take it below ClusterSize, then the cluster can promote a clone to a leader or follower role.

Node priority

You can control which clones the cluster promotes with the NodePriority setting. The default value is 0, and the cluster is more likely to promote clones with higher values.

Command line--node-priority

Default: 0.


Changing NodePriority doesn't guarantee that the cluster won't promote the clone. It's only one of the criteria that the Election Service considers.


By default, every write to the cluster needs to be acknowledged by all cluster members. This condition could be relaxed to speed up the writes, but it comes with a risk of data loss.

We do not advise to change the acknowledgement settings.

Command line--commit-count

Default: -1, all nodes must acknowledge commits.

Command line--prepare-count

Default: -1, all nodes must acknowledge prepares.