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Hierarchical Cache Consistency in a WAN
This paper explores ways to provide improved consistency for Internet applications that scale to millions of clients. We make four contributions. First, we identify how workloads affect the scalability of cache consistency algorithms. Second, we define two primitive mechanisms, split and join, for growing and shrinking consistency hierarchies, and we present a simple mechanism for implementing them. Third, we describe and evaluate policies for using split and join to address the fault tolerance and performance challenges of consistency hierarchies. Fourth, using synthetic workload and trace-based simulation, we compare various algorithms for maintaining strong consistency in a range of hierarchy configurations. Our results indicate that a promising configuration for providing strong consistency in a WAN is a two-level consistency hierarchy where servers and proxies work to maintain consistency for data cached at clients. Specifically, by adapting to clients' access patterns, two-level hierarchies reduce the read latency for demanding workloads without introducing excessive overhead for nondemanding workloads. Also, they can improve scalability by orders of magnitude. Furthermore, this configuration is easy to deploy by augmenting proxies, and it allows invalidation messages to traverse firewalls.