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Design Trade-offs of CAP Theorem and Beyond: Understanding Implications of Design Choices in a Software-defined Shared Nothing Storage Architecture
The key objective of this tutorial is to provide an understanding of how the design choices made for the key building blocks (such as metadata service, replication, locking, etc.) impacts the overall properties of the shared nothing storage architecture, and also mapping it to the application data model and storage workload requirements.
Eric Brewer coined the CAP theorem to convey that the design of a scale-out system involves trade-offs. CAP is commonly oversimplified to mean that between Consistency, Availability, and Partition tolerance, only two of the three attributes can be realized in a system. In general, the architecture of any shared nothing scale-out storage involves a collection of design choices and trade-offs that ultimately dictate the observable behavior of the system. Following are some choices involved in the design of a shared nothing storage solution:
- Data locality versus cluster scalability?
- Master versus masterless metadata architectures?
- Locking versus multi-version concurrency control?
- Strong versus eventual versus weak consistency?
- Replication versus RAID?
- Node-to-node communication: UDP versus TCP versus RDMA?
- Two-phase commit versus Paxos versus Multi-Paxos?
- In-memory data grids versus disk-based DAS architectures?
- Data models: ACID versus BASE (Basically Available, Soft state, Eventually consistent)?
We will start the tutorial with a bare-bones skeleton of the architecture, then incrementally populate the building blocks. For each building block, we discuss popular design choices, followed by an interactive discussion on the implications of mix-and-match of these building blocks (for example, matching coarse-grained data sharding for better data locality performance, with appropriate patterns for scaling and distributed data recovery). The tutorial assumes a basic knowledge of distributed systems. Additionally, to better appreciate the under-the-hood exploration, we expect an awareness of the cloud storage landscape, and a high-level understanding of the popular solutions.
Storage architects, engineers, administrators, and students, who are interested in a deep-dive of building blocks and design patterns of software-defined shared nothing storage architectures (a.k.a. cloud storage).
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