Tiered Locality

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The tiered locality feature enables applications to make intelligent, topology-based decisions regarding which Alluxio workers to read from and write to.


For an application running on host1, reading data from an Alluxio worker also on host1 is typically more efficient than reading from a different worker on host2. Similarly, reading from a worker on the same rack, or in the same availability zone, or in the same data center is faster than reading from a worker on a different rack, different availability zone, or different data center. Tiered locality allows users to take advantage of various levels of locality by configuring servers and clients with network topology information.

Tiered Identity

To indicate different levels of locality, one can assign an Alluxio master, worker, or client with a Tiered Identity. This identity is an address tuple in the format (tierName1=value1, tierName2=value2, ...) where each entry tierName1=value1 is called a locality tier. Alluxio clients will favor interacting with workers that share identical identity entries in the provided order.


For example, a client with an identity (node=A, rack=rack1, datacenter=dc1) will prefer to read from or write to a worker at (node=B, rack=rack1, datacenter=dc1) over a worker at (node=C, rack=rack2, datacenter=dc1) because:

  • no worker shares the same node value as the client
  • the first worker shares the same rack value, rack1, as the client
  • the datacenter entry is ignored because at least one match was found in the previous locality tier

When is tiered locality used?

  1. When clients choose which worker to read through during UFS reads
  2. When clients choose which worker to read from when multiple Alluxio workers hold a block
  3. If using the LocalFirstPolicy or LocalFirstAvoidEvictionPolicy, clients use tiered locality to choose which worker to write to when writing data to Alluxio

Basic Setup

Alluxio configures two locality tiers by default: node and rack. One can set the tier value for a worker on host1 of rack2 in alluxio-site.properties:


This will assign this worker a tiered identity of (node=host1, rack=rack2).

To verify that the configuration is working, check the master, worker, and application logs. A log entry should appear of the format:

INFO  TieredIdentityFactory - Initialized tiered identity TieredIdentity(node=host1, rack=rack2)

If the log entry does not appear, try running the locality script directly to check its output and ensure it is executable by the user that launched the Alluxio server.


Custom locality tiers

Users may customize locality tiers to take advantage of more advanced topologies. The list of tiers is determined by the alluxio.locality.order property on the master. The order should go from most to least specific. For example, to add availability zone locality to a cluster, set:


If the user does nothing to provide tiered identity info, each entity will perform a hostname lookup to set its node-level identity info. If other locality tiers are left unset, they will not be used to inform locality decisions.

Setting locality

Option A: shell script

By default, Alluxio clients and servers search the classpath for a script named alluxio-locality.sh. The output format of this script is a comma-separated list of tierName=tierValue pairs.

For example, suppose Alluxio workers are spread across multiple availability zones within EC2. To configure tiered locality with availability zones:

  1. On the Alluxio master(s), set alluxio.locality.order=node,availability_zone to define the order of locality tiers to prefer node over availability_zone.

  2. Create a script alluxio-locality.sh to determine the tiered identity for each entity (the name of this script can be overridden by setting alluxio.locality.script). The output format is a comma-separated list of tierName=tierValue pairs.
    #!/usr/bin/env bash
    # Ask EC2 which availability zone we're in
    availability_zone=$(curl -s
    echo "node=${node},availability_zone=${availability_zone}"
  3. Make the script executable with chmod +x alluxio-locality.sh.

  4. Include the script on the classpath of your applications and Alluxio servers. For servers, put the file in the ${ALLUXIO_HOME}/conf/ directory.

  5. Restart Alluxio servers to pick up the configuration changes.

A log entry should appear of the format:

INFO  TieredIdentityFactory - Initialized tiered identity TieredIdentity(node=ip-xx-xx-xx-xx, availability_zone=us-east-1)

Option B: configuration properties

Using the locality shell script is the preferred way to configure tiered locality over configuration properties because the same script can be used for Alluxio servers and compute applications. In situations where users do not have access to application classpaths, tiered locality can be configured by setting alluxio.locality.[tiername]:


See the Configuration-Settings page for the different ways to set configuration properties.

Custom locality tier order

For every tier name (e.g. node, rack, availibility_zone etc.) the order of precedence for obtaining its value, from highest priority to lowest priority, is as follows:

  1. From alluxio.locality.node set in alluxio-site.properties

  2. From node=... in the output of the script, whose name is configured by alluxio.locality.script

In order to supply a default value for a particular node tier, the above list is followed by two more sources, from highest to lowest priority:

  1. From alluxio.worker.hostname on a worker, alluxio.master.hostname on a master, or alluxio.user.hostname on a client in their respective alluxio-site.properties

  2. If none of the above are configured, node locality is determined by hostname lookup

Cluster partitioning

Admins can partition their cluster so that the workers and clients in each partition load data independently. This could be desirable, for example, when workers are split across multiple availability zones (AZs). Constraining data to stay within the same AZ avoids the cost of cross-AZ data transfer, and makes sure data is cached locally within each AZ that is using it. Set alluxio.locality.{tierName}.strict to true to indicate that data should be kept within the specified tierName. For example, to partition by AZ, set


This configuration should be applied to workers, masters, and clients.