Digest Rules

Digest Node are responsible for executing real-time queries and compiling incoming events into segment files.

Whenever parsing is completed, new events are placed in a Kafka queue called the The Parse Phase.

Digest Partitions

A cluster will divide data into partitions (or buckets); we cannot know exactly which partition a given event will be put in. Partitions are chosen randomly to spread the workload evenly across digest nodes. These partitions should correlate with the number of Kafka humio-ingest topic partitions, which uses a default of 24.

Each partition of that queue must have a node associated to handle the work that is placed in the partition, or they will not be processed or saved.

Humio clusters have a set of rules that associate partitions in the Digest Queue with the nodes that are responsible for processing events on that queue. These are called Digest Rules.

Configuring Digest Rules

You can see the current Digest Rules for your own cluster by going to the Cluster Management Page and selecting the Digest Rules tab on the right-hand side:

Configuring Digest Rules

Figure 227. Configuring Digest Rules

The image above shows Digest Rules for a cluster of 3 nodes where each node is assigned to 8 out of 24 digest partitions.

When a node is assigned to at least one digest partition, it is considered to be a Digest Node.

Example Digest Rules

Partition ID Node
1 1
2 3
3 1

The table shows three digest rules. Node 1 will receive 2x more work than node 3. This is because 1 is assigned to two partitions while node 3 is only handling events on partition 2.

If a node is not assigned to a partition, it will not take part in the digest phase.

Increasing Digest Partitions

This operation is not reversible. Once you've increased partitions, you cannot later decrease the number you're using.

If additional digest nodes are added to a cluster, you will likely want to increase the number of digest partitions to ensure all digest nodes are able to consume from at least one partition. To do this, you must first increase the number of partitions for the Kafka humio-ingest topic. Increasing the number of Kafka partitions for a topic involves logging into one of your Kafka nodes and running this command:

/usr/lib/kafka/bin/kafka-topics.sh --alter --zookeeper \
  localhost:2181 --topic humio-ingest --partitions 28

The path to kafka-topics.sh may vary depending on installation type. Docker containers may have this at /products/kafka/bin. Ansible-based installs will have it at the above path. If you installed this by hand, use the path where Kafka is installed.

If Zookeeper is running on the Kafka machine, use localhost for the Zookeeper address; otherwise specify its actual hostname or IP. Replace 28 with whatever total partition count you're after (note that you're specifying the total and not the number of partitions being added). After running the command, you should see output that says "Adding partitions succeeded!".

Next, create the digest partitions in Humio using the Cluster Management API. Connect to a Humio node and run this command to get the current partition layout (be sure you update the path to the local admin token if necessary)

curl -v -H "Content-Type: application/json" \
-H "Authorization: Bearer $(cat /data/humio-data/local-admin-token.txt)" \

You should get JSON output similar to this (the array for hosts will reflect which nodes you have assigned to each partition in the Humio administration interface)


Copy that JSON output and add additional entries to the array for the added partitions. Now POST that JSON payload back to the endpoint. In the case above where the count is being increased from 24 to 28, that would look like this

curl -v -H "Content-Type: application/json" -H "Authorization: Bearer $(cat /data/humio-data/local-admin-token.txt)" -d '[{"hosts":[1],"partition":0},{"hosts":[1],"partition":1},{"hosts":[1],"partition":2},{"hosts":[1],"partition":3},{"hosts":[1],"partition":4},{"hosts":[1],"partition":5},{"hosts":[1],"partition":6},{"hosts":[1],"partition":7},{"hosts":[1],"partition":8},{"hosts":[1],"partition":9},{"hosts":[1],"partition":10},{"hosts":[1],"partition":11},{"hosts":[1],"partition":12},{"hosts":[1],"partition":13},{"hosts":[1],"partition":14},{"hosts":[1],"partition":15},{"hosts":[1],"partition":16},{"hosts":[1],"partition":17},{"hosts":[1],"partition":18},{"hosts":[1],"partition":19},{"hosts":[1],"partition":20},{"hosts":[1],"partition":21},{"hosts":[1],"partition":22},{"hosts":[1],"partition":23},{"hosts":[1],"partition":24},{"hosts":[1],"partition":25},{"hosts":[1],"partition":26},{"hosts":[1],"partition":27}]'

You can confirm that the new digest partitions are created by checking Administration --> Cluster Nodes --> Digest in Humio.

Removing a Digest Node

When removing a digest node, it's important that you first assign another cluster node to take the work in any digest partitions that the node is assigned to. If you do not do this, there will be no node to process the incoming events and they will stack up. The worst case is that data might get lost.

High Availability

Humio has High Availability support for digest nodes.

The short version:

  • Run a cluster of at least 3 nodes.

  • Make sure to list 2 independent nodes on each partition, both for digest partitions and for storage partitions, then optionally apply those new storage rules to all existing segments to allow searching existing data too if a node should stop working.

  • If any data is present on only one node, then queries will get warnings saying "Segment files missing, partial results".

  • Make your http-load-balancer know about more than one node in the cluster; preferably all of them.

  • Make sure your cluster has the CPU power required to handle the failover: It should be running at well below 50% utilization normally.

This feature presumes that your Kafka cluster is properly configured for high-availability: All topics in use by Humio need to have at least two replicas on independent server nodes.

High Availability in Humio

The design aims for high performance during normal operation at the cost of a penalty to be paid when a failover situation happens.

Turn on high availability on ingest by configuring all digest partitions to have two or more nodes listed. The first live node in the list will handle that partition during normal operation. If the primary node stops, then the next one in the list will take on the responsibility of handling the digest on that partition. If the primary returns at some point, then the primary will resume responsibility for that partition. This happens independently for all digest partitions.

To get proper results in all live queries, all live queries get restarted when a node stops.

The node that then takes on the digest processing has to start quite a way back in time on the digest queue, processing all events (again probably) that have not yet been written to segments replicated sufficiently to other nodes. Humio takes care to ensure that events only get included once in a query, regardless of the re-processing in digest, including not duplicating them once the failed node returns and has those events as well.

The failover process can take quite while to complete, depending on how much data has been ingested during the latest 30 minutes or so. The cluster typically needs to start 30 minutes back in time on a failover. While it does so, the event latency of events coming in will be higher than normal on the partitions that have been temporarily reassigned, starting at up to 1800 - 2000 seconds. The cluster thus needs to have sufficiently ample CPU resources to catch up from such a latency fairly quickly. To aid in that process, queries get limited to 50% of their normal CPU time while the digest latency is high.

Fail-over makes the cluster start much further back in time compared to a controlled handover between two live nodes. When reassigning partitions with the nodes active, the nodes cooperate to reduce the number of events being reprocessed to a minimum, making the latency in ingested events typically stay below 10 seconds.

The decision to go with the 30 minutes as target failover cost is a compromise between two conflicting concerns. If the value is raised further, the failover will take even longer, which is usually not desirable. But raising it reduces the number of small segments generated, since segments get flushed after at most that amount of time. Reducing the 30-minute interval to say, five minutes would make the failover happen much faster, but at the cost of normal operation, as there would be 12 * 24 = 288 segments in each datasource per day, compared to the 2 * 24 = 48 with the current value. The cost of having all these extra segments would slow down normal operation somewhat.

There are a number of configuration parameters to control the tradeoffs. Here they are listed with their defaults.

ini files
# How long can a mini-segment stay open. How long back is a fail-over likely to go?

# Desired number of blocks (each ~1MB before compression) in a final segment after merge

# How long cn the same semgent be the final target of all the minisegments being produced?