This guide describes DRBD version 8.4 and above. For 8.3 please look here.


2.9. Split brain notification and automatic recovery

Split brain is a situation where, due to temporary failure of all network links between cluster nodes, and possibly due to intervention by a cluster management software or human error, both nodes switched to the primary role while disconnected. This is a potentially harmful state, as it implies that modifications to the data might have been made on either node, without having been replicated to the peer. Thus, it is likely in this situation that two diverging sets of data have been created, which cannot be trivially merged.

DRBD split brain is distinct from cluster split brain, which is the loss of all connectivity between hosts managed by a distributed cluster management application such as Heartbeat. To avoid confusion, this guide uses the following convention:

DRBD allows for automatic operator notification (by email or other means) when it detects split brain. See Section 6.17.1, “Split brain notification” for details on how to configure this feature.

While the recommended course of action in this scenario is to manually resolve the split brain and then eliminate its root cause, it may be desirable, in some cases, to automate the process. DRBD has several resolution algorithms available for doing so:

Whether or not automatic split brain recovery is acceptable depends largely on the individual application. Consider the example of DRBD hosting a database. The discard modifications from host with fewer changes approach may be fine for a web application click-through database. By contrast, it may be totally unacceptable to automatically discard any modifications made to a financial database, requiring manual recovery in any split brain event. Consider your application’s requirements carefully before enabling automatic split brain recovery.

Refer to Section 6.17.2, “Automatic split brain recovery policies” for details on configuring DRBD’s automatic split brain recovery policies.


This guide describes DRBD version 8.4 and above. For 8.3 please look here.