Sabtu, 20 Agustus 2011

Consistency and replication

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An important issue in distributed  system is the replication of data. Data are generally replicated to enhance reliability or improve performance. One of the major problems is keeping replicas consistent. Informally, this means that when one copy is updated we need to ensure that the order copies are updated as well otherwise the replicas will no longer be the same. In this chapter, we take a detailed look at what consistency of replicated data actually means and the various ways that consistency can be achieved.
We start with a general introduction discussing why replications is useful and how it relates to scalability. We then continue by focusing on what consistency actually means. An important class of what are known as consistency models assumes that multiple processes simultaneously access shared data. Consistency for these situations can be formulated with respect to what processes can expect when reading and updating the shared data, knowing that others are accessing that data as well.
Consistency models for shared data are often hard to implement efficiently in large-scale distributed system. Moreover, in many cases is formed by client-centric consistency models, which concentrate on consistency from the perspective of a single (possibly mobile) client. Client-centric consistency models are discussed in a separate section.
Consistency is only half of the story. We also need to consider how consistency is actually implemented. There are essentially two, more or less independent, issues we need to consider. First of all, we start with concentrating on managing replicas, which takes into account not only the placement of replica servers, but also how content is distributed to these servers.
The second issue is how replicas are kept consistent. In most cases, applications require a strong form of consistency. Informally, this means that updates are to be propagated more of less immediately between replicas. There are various alter/natives for implementing strong consistency, which are discussed in a separate section. Also, attention is paid to caching protocols, which form a special case of consistency protocols.
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