How to Install and Configure MaxScale for MariaDB

Sebastian Insausti


There are different reasons for adding a load balancer between your application and your database. If you have high traffic (and you want to balance the traffic between different database nodes) or you want to use the load balancer as a single endpoint (so in case of failover, this load balancer will cope with this issue sending the traffic to the available/healthy node.) It could also be that you want to use different ports to write and read data from your database. 

In all these cases, a load balancer will be useful for you, and if you have a MariaDB cluster, one option for this is using MaxScale which is a database proxy for MariaDB databases.

In this blog, we will show you how to install and configure it manually, and how ClusterControl can help you in this task. For this example, we will use a MariaDB replication cluster with 1 master and 1 slave node, and CentOS8 as the operating system.

How to Install MaxScale

We will assume you have your MariaDB database up and running, and also a machine (virtual or physical) to install MaxScale. We recommend you use a different host, so in case of master failure, MaxScale can failover to the slave node, otherwise, MaxScale can’t take any action if the server where it is running goes down.

There are different ways to install MaxScale, in this case, we will use the MariaDB repositories. To add it into the MaxScale server, you have to run:

$ curl -sS | sudo bash

[info] Repository file successfully written to /etc/yum.repos.d/mariadb.repo

[info] Adding trusted package signing keys...

[info] Successfully added trusted package signing keys

Now, install the MaxScale package:

$ yum install maxscale

Now you have your MaxScale node installed, before starting, you need to configure it.

How to Configure MaxScale

As MaxScale perform tasks like authentication, monitoring, and more, you need to create a database user with some specific privileges:

MariaDB [(none)]> CREATE USER 'maxscaleuser'@'%' IDENTIFIED BY 'maxscalepassword';

MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT SELECT ON mysql.user TO 'maxscaleuser'@'%';

MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT SELECT ON mysql.db TO 'maxscaleuser'@'%';

MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT SELECT ON mysql.tables_priv TO 'maxscaleuser'@'%';

MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT SELECT ON mysql.roles_mapping TO 'maxscaleuser'@'%';

MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT SHOW DATABASES ON *.* TO 'maxscaleuser'@'%';

MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT REPLICATION CLIENT on *.* to 'maxscaleuser'@'%';

Keep in mind that MariaDB versions 10.2.2 to 10.2.10 also require:

MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT SELECT ON mysql.* TO 'maxscaleuser'@'%';

Now you have the database user ready, let’s see the configuration files. When you install MaxScale, the file maxscale.cnf will be created under /etc/. There are several variables and different ways to configure it, so let’s see an example:

$ cat  /etc/maxscale.cnf 

# Global parameters


threads = auto

log_augmentation = 1

ms_timestamp = 1

syslog = 1

# Server definitions











# Monitor for the servers








# Service definitions














# Listener definitions for the services











In this configuration, we have 2 database nodes, (Master) and (Slave), as you can see in the Servers Definition section.

We have also 2 different services, one for read-only, where there is the slave node, and another one for read-write where there is the master node.

Finally, we have 2 listeners, one for each service. The read-only listener, listening in the port 4008, and the read-write one, listening in the port 4006.

This is a basic configuration file. If you need something more specific you can follow the official MariaDB documentation.

Now you are ready to start it, so just run:

$ systemctl start maxscale.service

And check it:

$ maxctrl list services
$ maxctrl list servers

You can find a maxctrl commands list here, or you can even use maxadmin to manage it.

Now let’s test the connection. For this, you can try to access your database using the MaxScale IP address and the port that you want to test. In our case, the traffic on the port 4006 should be sent to server1, and the traffic on the port 4008 to server2.

$ mysql -h -umaxscaleuser -pmaxscalepassword -P4006 -e 'SELECT @@hostname;'


| @@hostname |


| server1   |


$ mysql -h -umaxscaleuser -pmaxscalepassword -P4008 -e 'SELECT @@hostname;'


| @@hostname |


| server2   |


It works!

How to Deploy MaxScale with ClusterControl

Let’s see now, how you can use ClusterControl to simplify this task. For this, we will assume you have your MariaDB cluster added to ClusterControl.

Go to ClusterControl -> Select the MariaDB cluster -> Cluster Actions -> Add Load Balancer -> MaxScale.

Here you can deploy a new MaxScale node or you can also import an existing one. If you are deploying it, you need to add the IP Address or Hostname, the admin and user MaxScale credentials, amount of threads, and ports (write and read-only). You can also specify which database node you want to add to the MaxScale configuration.

You can monitor the task in the ClusterControl Activity section. When it finishes, you will have a new MaxScale node in your MariaDB cluster.

And running the MaxScale commands from the ClusterControl UI without the need of accessing the server via SSH.

It looks easier than deploying it manually, right?


Having a Load Balancer is a good solution if you want to balance or split your traffic, or even for failover actions, and MaxScale, as a MariaDB product, is a good option for MariaDB databases

The installation is easy, but the configuration and usage could be difficult if it is something new for you. In that case, you can use ClusterControl to deploy, configure, and manage it in an easier way.

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