Effortless Leader Election: Using Leases in Kubernetes

8 min readSep 13, 2023

Why Leader Election Matters

Imagine you’re creating a data replication service that requires only one instance to process data so as to maintain the proper sequence. Alternatively, consider developing a multiplayer online game where synchronizing the game state among all participants is crucial. These types of services typically require a single instance to exclusively handle specific tasks, while also necessitating standby replicas that can rapidly take over the workload when the current instance fails.

One commonly used technique to address such challenges is leader election. It works by having nodes in a group/cluster participate in a voting or consensus process to select a single leader instance. This leader then takes on responsibilities that require centralized coordination. If the leader fails, the remaining nodes automatically re-run the election process to choose a new leader, ensuring system continuity and fault tolerance.

Navigating the Complexities of Implementation

Achieving consensus among all nodes in a group about who the leader is becomes critical for implementing leader election.

A basic implementation could utilise a lock service to determine the leadership.