Provide a high availability (clustering) solution for Linux which promotes reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) through a community development effort.
Heartbeat is a daemon that provides cluster infrastructure (communication and membership) services to its clients. This allows clients to know about the presence (or disappearance!) of peer processes on other machines and to easily exchange messages with them.
In order to be useful to users, the Heartbeat daemon needs to be combined with a cluster resource manager (CRM) which has the task of starting and stopping the services (IP addresses, web servers, etc) that cluster will make highly available.
Heartbeat comes with a primitive resource manager, see haresources, however it is only capable of managing 2 nodes and does not detect resource-level failures.
A new resource manager which addressed these limitations and more was written for Heartbeat 2.0.0. However in 2007 the new resource manager was spun-off to become the Pacemaker project in order to better support additional cluster stacks (such as OpenAIS) and is no longer associated with the Linux-HA project.
The current stable series of Heartbeat is 2.99.x and can be obtained for many platforms (including CentOS, RHEL, Fedora, openSUSE and SLES) from http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/server:/ha-clustering
The Linux-HA project is a widely used and important component in many interesting High Availability solutions, and ranks as among the best HA software packages for any platform. We estimate that we currently have more than thirty thousand installations up in mission-critical uses in the real world since 1999. Interest in this project continues to grow. These web pages are average nearly 20000 hits per day, and we see more than 100 downloads of Heartbeat per day.
Heartbeat now ships as part of SUSE Linux, Mandriva Linux, Debian GNU/Linux, Ubuntu Linux, Red Flag Linux, and Gentoo Linux. Ultra Monkey, and several company's embedded systems are also based on it. Although this is called the Linux-HA project, the software is highly portable and runs on FreeBSD, Solaris, and OpenBSD, even on MacOS/X from time to time.
There have been many articles and several chapters in books written on this project and software. See the PressRoom for more details.
We include advanced integration with the DRBD real-time disk replication software, and also work well with the LVS (Linux Virtual Server) project. We expect to continue to collaborate with them in the future, since our goals are complementary.
Heartbeat is also a leading implementor of the Open Cluster Framework (OCF) standard and when combined with a resource manager like Pacemaker, is competitive with commercial systems similar to those described in D. H. Brown's 1998 or March 2000 analysis of RAS cluster features and functions. In fact Heartbeat + Pacemaker brings technologies and basic capabilities which match or exceed the capabilities of many commercial HA systems. Check it out, we think you'll be surprised.
We also have a page of reference sites (see SuccessStories) to provide a few real-life examples of how organizations both small and large use Heartbeat in production. Submissions for this page are actively encouraged.
The following types of applications are typical:
Heartbeat is used in virtually every market segment, industry, and organization size.
Mar 27, 1999 - 0.2.0 First public release
Mar 16, 2001 - 0.4.9d released.
First version of BasicSanityCheck
Feb 19, 2003 - 1.0.1 Start of a new stable series
Oct 11, 2004 - 1.99.0. First beta version of the 'v2 CRM and LRM
Jul 30, 2005 - 2.0.0 First stable version of the new CRM