TeamCity On-Premises 2021.1 Help

Multinode Setup

The TeamCity server can be configured to use multiple nodes (or servers) for high availability and flexible load distribution. It is possible to set up a cluster of TeamCity nodes, where each node is responsible for different tasks, like processing data from builds or collecting changes from VCS repositories. Or, to keep one main node that does all the work and a secondary node which provides a read-only interface. In case the main node goes down, all data processing can be switched to the secondary node with minimum downtime.

As the main use case of a multinode setup is to achieve high availability (HA), this article will focus on configuring an HA cluster. However, you can use the same methods for any setup with multiple TeamCity nodes: for example, to distribute load between several machines.

Main vs. secondary node

A TeamCity cluster can have one main node and multiple secondary nodes. The main node is the "preferred" one. By default, it receives all incoming HTTP requests. It also performs critical background tasks, such as starting builds. A secondary node mostly serves as a backup server, necessary for the failover. For better load distribution and performance optimization, it can also be granted with additional responsibilities.

TeamCity setup with two nodes

High-Availability Setup

Prerequisites

A basic HA setup must include the following components:

  • Dedicated database server: an external database server from the list of supported databases.

  • Dedicated server for the TeamCity data directory: the data directory should be shared with nodes by network, via NFS or SMB.

  • At least two servers for TeamCity nodes with the mounted shared data directory: both servers should have the same or comparable hardware. Otherwise, if a secondary node is less performant, you can experience a significant performance drop in case of a failover.

  • Local storage on the TeamCity nodes: necessary for the TeamCity installation and storing logs and local caches. To estimate the size of caches, see the size of the <TeamCity data directory>/system/caches directory in your current installation.

  • Dedicated reverse HTTP proxy server.

The minimum number of server machines necessary for a high-availability setup is 5: a database, a network storage server, two TeamCity nodes, and one server for the reverse HTTP proxy. A simpler load-balancing solution might be achieved with fewer machines.

Shared Data Directory

The main TeamCity node and secondary nodes must be able to access and share the same TeamCity Data Directory.

Here are main recommendations on setting up the shared Data Directory:

  • For a high-availability setup, store it on a separate and well-performing machine, so it is accessible even when the main node goes down.

  • All TeamCity nodes’ machines should be able to access it in the read/write modes.

  • The typical Data Directory mounting options are SMB and NFS. TeamCity uses the Data Directory as a regular file system so all basic file system operations should be supported.

  • The I/O operations count or I/O volume limits should not be restricted by the storage or mounting option.

  • Make sure to review performance guidelines for your storage solution. For example, increasing MTU for the network connection between the server and the storage usually increases the artifact transfer speed.

Disable Network Client Caches on Data Directory Mounts

It is important that all the nodes "see" the current state of the shared Data Directory without delay. If this is not the case, it is likely to result in unstable behavior and frequent build log corruptions.

If TeamCity nodes run on Windows with Data Directory shared via SMB protocol, make sure all the registry keys mentioned in this article are set to 0 on all the TeamCity nodes.

If the Data Directory is shared via NFS, make sure all nodes have the following option in their mount settings: lookupcache=positive.

Configuring HA Setup

This section relies on the following assumptions:

Now, we can proceed with the transition from a single server setup to a high-availability cluster setup.

Used terms:

  • TeamCity Data Directory— a path to a mount point of the shared data directory.

  • TeamCity Home Directory— a path to the TeamCity server installation directory.

  • Node-specific Data Directory — a path to each node’s local storage where the node keeps its specific configuration and caches.

  • <node_ID>— a unique identifier of a TeamCity node, which can be used in the UI and configuration files.

  • <node_root_URL>— a direct URL of a node, usually http://<node_hostname>. This URL is required for inter-node communications; a firewall should be configured to allow connections to this URL from one node to another.

To configure a TeamCity cluster consisting of two nodes, follow these steps:

  1. Check that the version of the TeamCity server installed on both nodes is the same and corresponds to the version of the Data Directory.

  2. Select an ID for each of the nodes: for example, a short ID based on a hostname.

  3. Create the TEAMCITY_SERVER_OPTS environment variable on each node. This variable should have the following arguments:

    -Dteamcity.server.nodeId=<node_ID> -Dteamcity.server.rootURL=<node_root_URL> -Dteamcity.data.path=<TeamCity Data Directory> -Dteamcity.node.data.path=<Node-specific Data Directory>
  4. Start both nodes using regular TeamCity scripts or via the TeamCity service.

  5. Open the TeamCity Administration | Nodes Configuration page on any of the two servers and enable the "Main TeamCity node" responsibility for a node you want to make main.

  6. Proceed with configuring the reverse HTTP proxy.

Proxy Configuration

The reverse HTTP proxy serves as a single endpoint for TeamCity users and for build agents. This is also a good place to configure HTTPS connection settings for the entire cluster.

In case with TeamCity, the proxy server also acts as a load balancer for incoming requests. It can determine where the request should be sent and route it to the corresponding upstream server. In this article, we provide examples of the proxy configuration for two most popular proxy servers: NGINX and HAProxy.

defaults mode http timeout connect 240s timeout client 1200s timeout server 1200s frontend http-in bind *:80 stats enable stats uri /healthz default_backend web_endpoint option httplog log /dev/log local0 info # Uncomment if logging to stdout is desired (e.g. when running in a containerized environment) #log stdout local0 info option http-buffer-request declare capture request len 40000000 http-request capture req.body id 0 capture request header user-agent len 150 capture request header Host len 15 capture cookie X-TeamCity-Node-Id-Cookie= len 100 http-request add-header X-TeamCity-Proxy "type=haproxy; version=2021.1" http-request set-header X-Forwarded-Host %[req.hdr(Host)] acl is_build_agent hdr_beg(User-Agent) -i "TeamCity Agent" use_backend agents_endpoint if is_build_agent use_backend web_endpoint unless is_build_agent backend agents_endpoint acl cookie_found req.cook(X-TeamCity-Node-Id-Cookie) -m found use-server MAIN_NODE unless cookie_found cookie X-TeamCity-Node-Id-Cookie option httpchk GET /app/rest/version server MAIN_NODE {main_node_hostname} check inter 30s downinter 15s fall 4 rise 4 cookie {main_node_id} server SECONDARY_NODE {secondary_node_hostname} check inter 30s downinter 15s fall 4 rise 4 cookie {secondary_node_id} backend web_endpoint balance first # choose first available server option httpchk GET /app/rest/version server WEB_MAIN_NODE {main_node_hostname} check inter 30s downinter 15s fall 4 rise 4 server WEB_SECONDARY_NODE {secondary_node_hostname} check inter 30s downinter 15s fall 4 rise 4
upstream {main_node_id} { server {main_node_hostname} max_fails=0; server {secondary_node_hostname} backup; } upstream {secondary_node_id} { server {secondary_node_hostname} max_fails=0; server {main_node_hostname} backup; } upstream web_requests { server {main_node_hostname} max_fails=0; server {secondary_node_hostname} backup; } map $http_cookie $backend_cookie { default "{main_node_id}"; "~*X-TeamCity-Node-Id-Cookie=(?<node_name>[^;]+)" $node_name; } map $http_user_agent $is_agent { default @users; "~*TeamCity Agent*" @agents; } map $http_upgrade $connection_upgrade { # WebSocket support default upgrade; '' ''; } proxy_read_timeout 1200; proxy_connect_timeout 240; client_max_body_size 0; # maximum size of an HTTP request. 0 allows uploading large artifacts to TeamCity server { listen 80; server_name {proxy server hostname}; set $proxy_header_host $host; location / { try_files /dev/null $is_agent; } location @agents { proxy_pass http://$backend_cookie; proxy_next_upstream error timeout http_503 non_idempotent; proxy_intercept_errors on; proxy_set_header Host $host:$server_port; proxy_redirect off; proxy_set_header X-TeamCity-Proxy "type=nginx; version=2021.1"; proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Host $http_host; # necessary for proper absolute redirects and TeamCity CSRF check proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme; proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $remote_addr; proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade; # WebSocket support proxy_set_header Connection $connection_upgrade; # WebSocket support } location @users { proxy_pass http://web_requests; proxy_next_upstream error timeout http_503 non_idempotent; proxy_intercept_errors on; proxy_set_header Host $host:$server_port; proxy_redirect off; proxy_set_header X-TeamCity-Proxy "type=nginx; version=2021.1"; proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Host $http_host; # necessary for proper absolute redirects and TeamCity CSRF check proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme; proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $remote_addr; proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade; # WebSocket support proxy_set_header Connection $connection_upgrade; # WebSocket support } }

In the examples above, the following values should be replaced:

  • {main_node_hostname}— a hostname of the main node. If the UI of the main node operates on a port different from the proxy server port, this value should be specified in the form hostname:port.

  • {secondary_node_hostname}— a hostname of the secondary node.

  • {main_node_id}— the ID of the main node.

  • {secondary_node_id}— the ID of the secondary node.

On a failover, if a former secondary node is assigned with the Main TeamCity node responsibility, the configuration of the main and secondary nodes in the proxy config should be updated: {main_node_hostname} and {main_node_id} should be replaced with the hostname and ID of the new main node; {secondary_node_hostname} and {secondary_node_id}— with the hostname and ID of the former main node.

The proxy config sets a special header X-TeamCity-Proxy. It tells TeamCity that a request comes through a properly configured proxy. The header also defines a version of the proxy config: it helps ensure that the TeamCity server is compatible with the proxy configuration.

Domain Isolation Proxy Configuration

The domain isolation mode requires configuring a dedicated domain for serving artifacts. Make sure to add a new record in your DNS pointing from this domain to the proxy address: for example, it could be a CNAME record pointing to the proxy URL.

Failover

In the case of a failover, when the main node is no longer available either because of a crash or during maintenance, a secondary node can be granted with the "Main TeamCity node" responsibility and act as a main node temporarily or permanently.

Each secondary node tracks the activity of the current main node and, if it is inactive for several minutes (3 by default), shows the corresponding health report. After you see this report, you can assign the "Main TeamCity Node" responsibility to another node. However, if this inactivity has not been planned (that is, the main node has crashed), it is important to verify that no TeamCity server processes are left running on the inactive node. If you detect such processes, you need to stop them before reassigning the "Main TeamCity node" responsibility.

After switching the responsibility, you also need to update the IDs and hostnames of nodes in the reverse proxy configuration and reload the proxy server configuration. Otherwise, if you decide to start the former main node again, the proxy won’t be able to properly route agents and users.

To sum up, on a failover, follow these steps:

  1. Wait for a server health report about the main node unavailability on the secondary node.

  2. Make sure the main node is stopped.

  3. Switch the "Main node" responsibility on the secondary node.

  4. Update the main node ID in the reverse proxy configuration and reload the config.

Nodes Configuration and Usage

Authentication and License

The main and secondary nodes operate under the same license.

Secondary nodes use the same authentication settings as the main node. However, users might be asked to relog in after they are routed to a secondary node. This happens in two cases: (1) a user did not select the "Remember Me" option on the login screen and (2) SSO authentication is not configured.

Global Settings

Secondary notes use the same global settings (path to artifacts, version control settings, and so on) as the main node.

Responsibilities

By default, a newly started secondary node provides a read-only user interface and does not perform any background activity. You can assign the following additional responsibilities to each secondary node in Administration | Server Administration | Nodes Configuration:

A node assigned to any responsibility will allow users to perform the most common actions on builds.

You can enable and disable responsibilities for nodes at any moment.

Processing Data Produced by Builds on Secondary Node

It is possible to use one or more secondary nodes to process traffic from the TeamCity agents. This allows moving the related load to a separate machine from the main TeamCity node which will improve the TeamCity performance when handling hundreds of concurrent and actively logging builds.

In general, you do not need a separate node for running builds unless you have more than 400 agents connected to a single node. Using a secondary node allows you to significantly increase the number of agents which the setup can handle.

Once you assign a secondary node to the Processing data produced by builds responsibility for the first time, all* newly started builds will be routed to this node. The existing running builds will continue being executed on the main node. When you disable the responsibility, only the newly started builds will be switched to the main node. The builds that were already running on the secondary node will continue running there.
If you assign more than one secondary nodes to this responsibility, builds will be distributed equally between these nodes.

* You can control how many builds can be run by each node.
To do this, find the required node in the list of available nodes and click Edit next to its Processing data produced by running builds responsibility. The Limit builds dialog will open. Here, you can enter a relative limit of builds allowed to run on this node. We suggest that you choose this limit depending on the node's hardware capabilities.
If the maximum limit of allowed running builds is reached on all secondary nodes, TeamCity will be running new builds on the main node until some secondary node finishes its build.

VCS Repositories Polling on Secondary Node

Usually, the main TeamCity node polls the VCS repositories for changes to detect new commits. You can delegate VCS polling to the secondary node thus improving the performance of the main node. Only one secondary node can be assigned to this responsibility.

Once you assign the VCS repositories polling responsibility to a node, it may take some time for the main node to finish the polling activities in progress, and then the secondary node will pick up this task. When you disable the responsibility, the main node will start polling VCS repositories. This responsibility can be assigned only to one node in a cluster.

If you have commit hooks configured on the main node, no changes in hooks are required: the hooks will continue working if the VCS polling is delegated to the secondary node.

Processing Triggers on Secondary Node

In setups with many build agents, a significant amount of the main node's CPU is allocated to constant processing of build triggers. By enabling the Processing build trigger responsibility for one or more secondary nodes, you can distribute the trigger processing tasks and CPU load between the main node and the responsible secondary ones. TeamCity distributes the triggers automatically but you can see what triggers are currently assigned to each node.

Processing User Requests to Modify Data on Secondary Node

This responsibility is responsible for allowing user actions on a secondary node. It is especially useful when the main node is down or goes through maintenance.

Main Node Responsibility

You can assign a secondary node to the Main TeamCity node responsibility. This responsibility by default belongs to the current main node, but gets vacant if this node becomes unavailable. After you assign any secondary node to this responsibility, it becomes the main node and receives all its other responsibilities (processing builds, managing agents, and so on). All the running builds will continue their operations without interruption. If a proxy is configured in your setup, build agents will seamlessly reconnect to the new main node.
When the previous main node starts again, it becomes a secondary node, as the Main TeamCity node responsibility is already occupied by another node. If necessary, you can repeat the procedure above to switch roles between these nodes.

Internal Properties

All TeamCity nodes rely both on common internal properties, stored in the shared data directory, and specific properties, stored in the node-specific data directory. The node-specific properties have a higher priority and overwrite the common values in case of a conflict.

To disable any common property on a given secondary node, pass it using the following syntax: -<property_name>.

Secondary Node Memory Settings

The secondary node requires the same memory settings as the main node. If you have already configured the TEAMCITY_SERVER_MEM_OPTS environment variable for the main node, make sure to use the same variable for the secondary node. If your main node uses a 64-bit JVM, the secondary node must use a 64-bit JVM as well.

Project Import

You can import projects to the main node only. Secondary nodes will detect the imported data in the runtime, without restarting.

Using Plugins

A secondary node has access to all plugins enabled on the main node. It also watches for the newly uploaded plugins. If a secondary node detects that a plugin has been uploaded to the main node, it will show the respective notification on its Administration | Plugins page. If the plugin supports it, it can be reloaded in runtime with no need to restart the secondary node — the respective hint will be displayed in the UI.

A number of bundled plugins can be used on the main node only:

  • Jira Cloud integration

  • Kubernetes support

  • Install Agent on a remote host (agent push)

  • WebHooks support

Clean-up

The TeamCity clean-up task runs on the main node only. In a multinode configuration, as well as in a single node configuration, the task can run while the secondary nodes are handling their operations.

Installing Additional Secondary Node

To install a secondary node, follow these steps on the secondary node machine:

  1. Install the TeamCity software as usual: download the distribution package and follow the installation wizard. Please note: when installing a secondary node using the installation wizard, it is important not to start the TeamCity Server service until the environment variables in step 2 and 3 are configured.

  2. Provide the path to the shared Data Directory via the TEAMCITY_DATA_PATH environment variable.

  3. Add additional arguments to the TEAMCITY_SERVER_OPTS environment variable:

    TEAMCITY_SERVER_OPTS = -Dteamcity.server.nodeId=<node_ID> -Dteamcity.node.data.path=<path_to_node_data_directory> -Dteamcity.server.rootURL=<node_URL>

    where

    • <node_ID> is the ID of the node that will be displayed on the Administration | Nodes Configuration page.

    • <path_to_node_data_directory> is the path to the node Data Directory.

    • <node_URL> is the secondary node root URL. It should be accessible from the main node and agents.

Upgrade/Downgrade

It is recommended that the main TeamCity node and all secondary nodes have the same version. In certain cases, the main node and secondary nodes can be running different versions for a short period, for example, during the minor upgrade of the main node. When the versions of a secondary node and the main node are different, the corresponding health report will be displayed on both nodes.

When upgrading to a minor version (a bugfix release), the main and the secondary nodes should be running without issues as the TeamCity data format stays the same. You can upgrade the main TeamCity node and then the secondary nodes manually, or with the automatic update.

When upgrading the main node to a major version, its TeamCity data format will change. We recommend stopping all the secondary nodes before starting the upgrade of the main node to avoid any possible data format errors.
To be able to process tasks, all secondary nodes must be upgraded after the main node major upgrade.

To upgrade nodes in a multinode setup to a major version of TeamCity, follow these steps:

  1. Stop all secondary nodes.

  2. Start the upgrade on the main TeamCity node as usual.

  3. Proceed with the upgrade.

  4. Verify that everything works properly and agents are connecting to the main node (the agents will reroute the data that was supposed to be routed to the secondary nodes to the main node).

  5. Upgrade TeamCity on the secondary nodes to the same version.

  6. Start the secondary nodes and verify that they are connected on the Administration | Server Administration | Nodes Configuration page on the main node.

To downgrade nodes in a multinode setup, follow these steps:

  1. Shutdown the main node and the secondary nodes.

  2. Restore the data from backup (only if the data format has been changed during the upgrade).

  3. Downgrade the TeamCity software on the main node.

  4. Start the main TeamCity node and verify that everything works properly.

  5. Downgrade the TeamCity software on the secondary nodes to the same version as the main node.

  6. Start the secondary nodes.

TeamCity agents will perform upgrade/downgrade automatically.

Start/Stop

Any TeamCity node can be started/stopped using regular TeamCity scripts (teamcity-server.bat or teamcity-server.sh) or Windows services. The environment variables [TEAMCITY_DATA_PATH], [TEAMCITY_SERVER_MEM_OPTS], and [TEAMCITY_SERVER_OPTS] are supported by all types of nodes.

All nodes use the same approach to logging events. You can check the state of the startup in the <TeamCity Home Directory>/logs/teamcity-server.log file. Or, you can open <node root URL> in your browser to see the TeamCity startup screens.

A secondary node, as well as the main node, can be stopped or restarted while the builds are running. They will continue running on agents and either will be reassigned to another node by the proxy, or will wait until their appointed node starts again.

Backup/Restore

You can back up the main node right from the TeamCity UI. From a command line, you can back up both the main node and secondary nodes.

The restore operation can be done on either of the nodes, but only if all nodes using the TeamCity database and data directory are stopped.

User-level Actions on Secondary Node

If the "Processing user requests to modify data" responsibility is enabled on a secondary node, it will allow performing the most common user-level actions:

  • Triggering a build, including a custom or personal one

  • Stopping/deleting and pinning/tagging/commenting builds

  • Assigning investigations and muting build problems and tests

  • Marking a build as successful/failed

  • Editing build changes' descriptions

  • Merging sources and labeling sources actions

  • Adding builds to favorites

  • Changing settings of user profiles, including general settings, groups and roles, access tokens, VCS usernames, and notification rules

  • Reordering and hiding projects and build configurations

  • Checking for pending changes

  • Agent-related actions (see the list of actions)

  • Editing projects and build configurations

See the related tasks in our issue tracker for the full list of available actions: TW-62749, TW-63346.

Administrator-level actions are not yet available on secondary nodes. Use the main node if you need to change the node configuration.

Multinode Setup Health Reports

See the related reports in the dedicated article.

Common Issues

Trouble Accessing Data Directory from Windows Service

Note that if TeamCity is running as a service on Windows, it might not be able to access the TeamCity Data Directory via a mapped network drive. This happens because Windows services cannot work with mapped network drives, and TeamCity does not support the UNC format (\\host\directory) for the Data Directory path. To work around this problem, you can use mklink as it allows making a symbolic link on a network drive:

mklink /d "C:\<path to mount point>" "\\<host>\<shared directory name>\"

Make sure remote-to-local symbolic link evaluations are enabled in your OS:

fsutil behavior query SymlinkEvaluation

To enable them, use the following command:

fsutil behavior set SymlinkEvaluation R2L:1
Last modified: 21 July 2021