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Showing posts from April, 2011

Centrifuge: Integrated Lease Management and Partitioning for Cloud Services

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For performance reasons many large-scale sites (LinkedIn, Digg, Facebook, etc.) employ a pool of backend servers that operate purely on in-memory state. The frontend servers that forward the requests to the backend servers then should be very carefully implemented to ensure that they forward the requests to the correct backends. The frontend should ensure that the selected backend has the requested object in its memory and also possesses the lease to update the object. Unfortunately, things may change quickly at the backend; backend servers may fail, new ones may join, backend servers may start to cache different objects due to load-balancing requirements, and leases may exchange hands. All of these make the task of programming the frontend very challenging and frustrating.
This work (from NSDI'10) proposes Centrifuge, a datacenter lease manager that addresses this problem. The Centrifuge system has been deployed as part of Microsoft live mesh service, a large scale commercial clou…

Smoke and Mirrors: Reflecting Files at a Geographically Remote Location Without Loss of Performance

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This paper from FAST'09 introduces smoke and mirrors filesystem (SMFS) which mirrors files at a geographically remote datacenter with negligible impact on performance. It turns out remote mirroring is a major problem for banking systems which keep off-site mirrors (employing dedicated high-speed 10-40Gbits optical links) to survive disasters.
This paper is about disaster tolerance, not your everyday fault-tolerance. The fault model includes that the primary site may get destroyed, and some sporadic packet losses upto 1% may occur simultaneously as well, yet still no data should be lost. (Data is said to be lost if the client is acknowledged for the update but the corresponding update/data no longer exists in the system.) The primary site being destroyed may be a bit over-dramatization. An equivalent way to state the fault model would be that the paper just rules out a post~hoc correction (replay or manual correction). Here is how manual correction would work: if power outage occur…

Consistency analysis in Bloom: a CALM and collected approach

This work from CIDR11 aims to provide theoretical foundations for correctness under eventual consistency, and identifies "order independence" (independence of program execution from temporal nondeterminism) as a sufficient condition for eventual consistency.
CALM (consistency and logical monotonicity) principle states that monotonic programs guarantee order independence, and hence, eventual consistency. A monotonic program is one where any true statement remains to be true as new axioms arrive. In contrast, in a non-monotonic program, new input can cause the earlier output to be revoked. A monotonic program guarantees eventual consistency, whereas non-monotonicity requires the use of coordination logic.
To simplify the task of identifying monotonic and nonmonotonic program segments, this work proposes using program analysis in a declarative language, Bloom. In Bloom, monotonicity of a program is examined via simple syntactic checks. Selection, join, and projection operators a…

Life beyond Distributed Transactions: an Apostate's Opinion

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Pat Helland is one of the veterans of the database community. He worked on the Tandem Computers with Jim Gray. His tribute to Jim Gray, which gives a lot of insights into Jim Gray as a researcher, is worth reading again and again.
This 2007 position paper from Pat Helland is about extreme scalability in cloud systems, and by its nature anti-transactional. Since Pat has been a strong advocate for transactions and global serializability for most of his career, the title is aptly named as an apostate's opinion.
This paper is very relevant to the NoSQL movement. Pat introduces "entity and activities" abstractions as building primitives for extreme scalability cloud systems. He also talks about at length about the need to craft a good workflow/business-logic on top of these primitives.
Entity and activities abstractions Entities are collections of named (keyed) data which may be atomically updated within the entity but never atomically updated across entities. An entity lives on…

Tempest and Deutronomy reviews

I am 3 weeks behind in writing summaries for the papers we discuss in my seminar. In order to have some chance of catching up, I am skipping the summaries for Tempest and Deutronomy papers, and refer to student summaries for these two.

Tempest: Soft state replication in the service tier (DSN'08)

Deuteronomy: Transaction Support for Cloud Data (CIDR'11)

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