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Showing posts from February, 2016

Paper review: Implementing Linearizability at Large Scale and Low Latency (SOSP'15)

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Motivation for the paper Remember the 2-phase commit problem?  The 2-phase commit blocks when the initiator crashes. Or, after a server crash the client/initiator may not be able to determine whether the transaction is completed. And transaction blocks. Because if we retry we may end up giving inconsistent result or redoing the transaction which messes up linearizability.

You need to have 3-phase commit to fix this. The new-leader/recovery-agent comes and tries to recommit things. Unfortunately, 3-phase commit solutions are complicated, there are a lot of corner cases. Lamport and Gray recommended that the Paxos consensus box can be used to remember the initiator's abort commit decision to achieve consistency, or more precisely they recommended the Paxos box remembers each participants decision  for the sake of shaving off a message in critical latency path.

What this paper recommends is an alternative approach. Don't use Paxos box to remember the decision, instead use a dura…

Holistic Configuration Management at Facebook

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Move fast and break things That was Facebook's famous mantra for developers. Facebook believes in getting early feedback and iterating rapidly, so it releases software early and frequently: Three times a day for frontend code, three times a day for for backend code. I am amazed that Facebook is able to maintain such an agile deployment process at that scale. I have heard other software companies, even relatively young ones, develop problems with agility, even to the point that deploying a trivial app would take couple months due to reviews, filing tickets, routing, permissions, etc.

Of course when deploying that frequently at that scale you need discipline and good processes in order to prevent chaos. In his F8 Developers conference in 2014, Zuckerberg announced the new Facebook motto "Move Fast With Stable Infra."

I think the configerator tool discussed in this paper is a big part of the "Stable Infra". (By the way, why is it configerator but not configurator…

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