Fault-Tolerance, Fast and Slow: Exploiting Failure Asynchrony in Distributed Systems


Ramnatthan Alagappan, Aishwarya Ganesan, Jing Liu, Andrea Arpaci-Dusseau, and Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau, University of Wisconsin - Madison


We introduce situation-aware updates and crash recovery (SAUCR), a new approach to performing replicated data updates in a distributed system. SAUCR adapts the update protocol to the current situation: with many nodes up, SAUCR buffers updates in memory; when failures arise, SAUCR flushes updates to disk. This situation-awareness enables SAUCR to achieve high performance while offering strong durability and availability guarantees. We implement a prototype of SAUCR in ZooKeeper. Through rigorous crash testing, we demonstrate that SAUCR significantly improves durability and availability compared to systems that always write only to memory. We also show that SAUCR’s reliability improvements come at little or no cost: SAUCR’s overheads are within 0%-9% of a purely memory-based system.

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@inproceedings {222639,
author = {Ramnatthan Alagappan and Aishwarya Ganesan and Jing Liu and Andrea Arpaci-Dusseau and Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau},
title = {{Fault-Tolerance}, Fast and Slow: Exploiting Failure Asynchrony in Distributed Systems},
booktitle = {13th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI 18)},
year = {2018},
isbn = {978-1-939133-08-3},
address = {Carlsbad, CA},
pages = {390--408},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/osdi18/presentation/alagappan},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = oct

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