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Simple Database High Availability for your Django app


what is HA (high availability) at all ?

what happen if one of your servers,services,dbs get down , and you slept in bed and you think everything is ok ?

the simplest definition of HA is :

HA make your server stay always up , if one server or service getting down , its will replace it with a alternative healthy server or service

what about servers replicates?

if you wanna make your HA system work you should make sure all your db backends have the same level of information, that’s mean copying data from a database in one server to a database in another. so all servers have same data and records

many dbms backend’s such as Mysql , SQL Server and Postgresql have their built in replication systems .


Getting start

first we should define our main dbms and then or alternative or backup dbsm servers to django, so just need to do something like this in our django settings

in this example i used postgresql as my dbms backend

    'default': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
        'NAME': 'my_database',
        'USER': 'postgre_user',
        'PASSWORD': 'blahblah',
        'HOST': '',
        'PORT': '5432',
    'failover1': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
        'NAME': 'my_database',
        'USER': 'postgre_user',
        'PASSWORD': 'blahblah',
        'HOST': '',
        'PORT': '5432',
    'failover2': {
        'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.postgresql_psycopg2',
        'NAME': 'my_database',
        'USER': 'postgre_user',
        'PASSWORD': 'blahblah',
        'HOST': '',
        'PORT': '5432',

with this setting our app just use the default backend ( for its read and write and if this server get down by any reason our app will stop working

so lets code :)

Simple code for check our servers status

I just wrote a simple code to check our dbms server status and save current avalaible server in a file.

for reducing requests , checking servers status happen in every 10 second


# coding=utf-8
from django.conf import settings
from datetime import datetime
import socket, os

def test_connection_to_db(database_name):
        db_definition = getattr(settings, 'DATABASES')[database_name]
        s = socket.create_connection((db_definition['HOST'], db_definition['PORT']), 5)
        return True
    except Exception as e:
        return False

def available_db():
    with open(os.path.dirname(__file__) + '/dbha_last_check.txt', 'r') as f:
        f = f.read().splitlines()
        dbha_last_check = datetime.strptime(f[0], '%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S')
        last_db = f[1]
    if (datetime.now() - dbha_last_check).seconds > 10:
        if test_connection_to_db('default'):
            db = 'default'
        elif test_connection_to_db('failover1'):
            db = 'failover1'
        elif test_connection_to_db('failover2'):
            db = 'failover2'

        with open(os.path.dirname(__file__) + '/dbha_last_check.txt', 'w') as status_file:
            lines_of_text = datetime.now().strftime('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S') + "\n" + db

        return db

    return last_db

creating our custom django database route

django framework have a database route system feature, so we can use to handle our fail over and HA system .

first we need to make router.py file in our app root directory with this content


# -*- coding: UTF-8 -*-
import dbha

class ModelDatabaseRouter(object):

    def db_for_read(self, model, **hints):
        """Point all read operations to our available dbms server"""
        return dbha.available_db()

    def db_for_write(self, model, **hints):
        """Point all write operations to our available dbms server"""
        return dbha.available_db()

with this code we will get last available dbms server

and in the end we need to tell django to use our router instance it’s default router so just need to put this in our django settings

DATABASE_ROUTERS = ['app.router.ModelDatabaseRouter']

anything else ?

for sure you can done something like this system on your database side and not application side , you can take a look on this post for more information to how manage your failover on database side with Repmgr for Postgresql DBMS.