Showing posts from June, 2024

Optimizing Distributed Protocols with Query Rewrites

This paper (Sigmod 2024) formalizes scalability optimizations as rule-driven rewrites, inspired by SQL query optimizations. It focuses on two well-known and popular techniques: decoupling (distributing logic/code across nodes for introducing pipeline parallelism) and partitioning (distributing data across nodes--no new components, but instances of them-- for workload parallelism). Whittaker et al. (hi!) applied decoupling and partitioning optimizations to Paxos in the Compartmentalized Paxos work. That work deconstructed Paxos and showed how to reconstruct it using decoupling and partitioning to be more scalable by individually focusing on each component/role in Paxos. This is a simple but effective trick. Even after you learn the trick, you still keep getting surprised by how effective it is. The current paper aims to do this application via query rewrite rules more methodically rather than the traditional/ad-hoc way.  To this end, the paper utilizes Dedalus, a Datalog¬ dialect with

Always Measure One Level Deeper

This is a great paper (CACM 2018) by John Ousterhout. Ousterhout is well known for his work on log-structured file system, tcl/tk, Raft, and magic VLSI CAD. His book on Philosophy of Software Design is great, and he has a lot of wisdom about life in general that he shares in his Stanford CS classes. The paper is written very well, so I lift up paragraphs verbatim from it to summarize its main points. There are many war stories in the text. Please do read it, because they are fascinating, and likely you can see how they can apply to your work, and save you from making a mistake. At the end, I chime in with my reflections and link to other relevant work.  Key Insights In academic research a thorough performance evaluation is considered essential for many publications to prove the value of a new idea. In industry, performance evaluation is necessary to maintain a high level of performance across the lifetime of a product. A good performance evaluation provides a deep understanding of

TLA+ modeling of a single replicaset transaction modeling

For some time I had been playing with transaction modeling and most recently with replicaset modeling by way of a single log. While playing with these, I realized I can build something cool on top of these building blocks. I just finished building snapshot isolated transaction modeling that sit on top of a replicaset log. This is also a high level approximation of MongoDB-style snapshot isolated transactions on a single replicaset. I put this up on github at Next, I will work on extending this to modeling MongoDB multishard transactions. That will be a whole lot of more work, but I think I have a good foundation to take on the challenge.   Modeling process My starting point was these components. ClientCentricIsolation: This is a module for checking isolation levels on transactions using an ops-log per transaction. I discussed this here two years ago .   KVSnap: This is a high level snapshot isolated singlenode key-value store

Know Yourself

MongoDB has a nice leadership development program internally. They suggested that filling/sharing this questionnaire would be useful to get you acquainted with the people you work with daily. I am not super into being in-touch with your feelings stuff, so I thought I probably won't do this. But then, the questions were interesting, and I jot down my answers to them quickly. I don't think this took me more than 5 minutes or so, and I felt good after having answered the questions. Maybe this gave me a little bit of self-acceptance, and being kind to my innate nature rather than judging it all the time. The questionnaire description was spot on: "Increase awareness of your own preferences by answering the questions below." Here are my answers to these questions. What would your answers be? I think it is good practice to do this exercise once in a while to know yourself a bit better. What are you AMAZING at? Where do you want to improve? I am good at research. I enjoy bei

Understanding Inconsistency in Azure Cosmos DB with TLA+

This paper, by Finn Hackett, Joshua Rowe, Markus Kuppe, appeared in International Conference on Software Engineering 2023. It presents a specification of Azure Cosmos DB consistency behavior as exposed to the clients.  During my sabbatical at CosmosDB in 2018, I was involved in a specification of CosmosDB as exposed to the clients .  The nice thing about these specs is that they didn't need to model internal implementation but just captured the consistency semantics for clients precisely, rather than ambiguously like English explanations do. They aimed to answer the question of what kind of behavior should a client be able to witness while interacting with the service? The feedback at that time was that customers found this very useful. This 2023 paper improves on our preliminary specs from 2018. It has this great opening paragraph, which echoes the experience of everyone that has painstakingly specified a distributed/concurrent system behavior. Consistency guarantees for distribu

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