Important: This documentation is about an older version. It's relevant only to the release noted, many of the features and functions have been updated or replaced. Please view the current version.
Grafana Mimir hash rings
Hash rings are a distributed consistent hashing scheme and are widely used by Grafana Mimir for sharding and replication.
How hash rings work in Grafana Mimir
Hash rings in Grafana Mimir are used to share work across several replicas of a component in a consistent way, so that any other component can decide which address to talk to. The workload or data to share is hashed first and the result of the hashing is used to find which ring member owns it.
Grafana Mimir uses the
fnv32a hash function, which returns 32-bit unsigned integers so its value can be between
This value is called token and used as the ID of the data.
The token determines the location on the hash ring deterministically.
This allows independent determination of what instance of Grafana Mimir is the authoritative owner of any specific data.
For example, series are sharded across ingesters. The token of a given series is computed by hashing all of the series’ labels and the tenant ID: the result of which is an unsigned 32-bit integer within the space of the tokens. The ingester that owns that series is the instance that owns the range of the tokens, including the series’ token.
To divide up the set of possible tokens (
2^32) across the available instances within the cluster, all of the running instances of a given Grafana Mimir component, such as the ingesters, join a hash ring.
The hash ring is a data structure that splits the space of the tokens into multiple ranges, and assigns each range to a given Grafana Mimir ring member.
Upon startup, an instance generates random token values, and it registers them into the ring.
The values that each instance registers determine which instance owns a given token.
A token is owned by the instance that registered the smallest value that is higher than the token being looked up (by wrapping around zero when it reaches
To replicate the data across multiple instances, Grafana Mimir finds the replicas by starting from the authoritative owner of the data and walking the ring clockwise. Data is replicated to the next instances found while walking the ring.
A practical example
To better understand how it works, take four ingesters and a tokens space between
9 as an example:
- Ingester #1 is registered in the ring with the token
- Ingester #2 is registered in the ring with the token
- Ingester #3 is registered in the ring with the token
- Ingester #4 is registered in the ring with the token
Grafana Mimir receives an incoming sample for the series
It hashes the series’ labels, and the result of the hashing function is the token
To find which ingester owns token
3, Grafana Mimir looks up the token
3 in the ring and finds the ingester that is registered with the smallest token larger than
The ingester #2, which is registered with token
4, is the authoritative owner of the series
By default, Grafana Mimir replicates each series to three ingesters.
After finding the authoritative owner of the series, Grafana Mimir continues to walk the ring clockwise to find the remaining two instances where the series should be replicated.
In the example that follows, the series are replicated to the instances of
Ingester #3 and
A hash ring guarantees what is known as consistent hashing.
When an instance is added or removed from a given ring, consistent hashing minimizes the number of tokens that are moved from one instance to another.
On average, the number of tokens that need to move to a different instance is only
n is the total number of tokens (32-bit unsigned integer) and
m is the number of instances that are registered in the ring.
Components that use a hash ring
There are several Grafana Mimir components that need a hash ring. Each of the following components builds an independent hash ring:
- Ingesters shard and replicate series.
- Distributors enforce rate limits.
- Compactors shard compaction workload.
- Store-gateways shard blocks to query from long-term storage.
- (Optional) Rulers shard rule groups to evaluate.
- (Optional) Alertmanagers shard tenants.
How a hash ring is shared between Grafana Mimir instances
Hash ring data structures need to be shared between Grafana Mimir instances. To propagate changes to a given hash ring, Grafana Mimir uses a key-value store. The key-value store is required and can be configured independently for the hash rings of different components.
For more information, see the key-value store documentation.
Features that are built using a hash ring
Grafana Mimir primarily uses a hash ring for sharding and replication. Features that are built using a hash ring:
- Service discovery: Instances can discover each other looking up who is registered in the ring.
- Heartbeating: Instances periodically send a heartbeat to the ring to signal they’re up and running. An instance is considered unhealthy if it misses the heartbeat for some period of time.
- Zone-aware replication: Zone-aware replication is the replication of data across failure domains and can be optionally enabled in Grafana Mimir. For more information, see configuring zone-aware replication.
- Shuffle sharding: Grafana Mimir optionally supports shuffle sharding in a multi-tenant cluster, to reduce the blast radius of an outage and better isolate tenants. For more information, refer to configure shuffle sharding.