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Related work

Most distributed systems are not designed such that failures are independent, and there has been recent interest in protocols for systems where failures are correlated. Quorum-based protocols, which implement replicated update by reading and writing overlapping subsets of replicas, are easily adapted to correlated failures. A model of dependent failures was introduced for Byzantine-tolerant quorum systems [23]. This model, called a fail-prone system, is a dual representation of the model (cores) that we use here. Our model was developed as part of a study of lower bounds and optimal protocols for Consensus in environments where failures can be correlated [15].

The ability of Internet pathogens to spread through a vulnerable host population on the network fundamentally depends on three properties of the network: the number of susceptible hosts that could be infected, the number of infected hosts actively spreading the pathogen, and the contact rate at which the pathogen spreads. Various approaches have been developed for defending against such epidemics that address each of these properties.

Prevention techniques, such as patching [24,38,42] and overflow guarding [7,41], prevent pathogens from exploiting vulnerabilities, thereby reducing the size of the vulnerable host population and limiting the extent of a worm outbreak. However, these approaches have the traditional limitations of ensuring soundness and completeness, or leave windows of vulnerability due to the time required to develop, test, and deploy.

Treatment techniques, such as disinfection [6,9] and vaccination [33], remove software vulnerabilities after they have been exploited and reduce the rate of infection as hosts are treated. However, such techniques are reactive in nature and hosts still become infected.

Containment techniques, such as throttling [21,44] and filtering [28,39], block infectious communication between infected and uninfected hosts, thereby reducing or potentially halting the contact rate of a spreading pathogen. The efficacy of reactive containment fundamentally depends upon the ability to quickly detect a new pathogen [19,29,37,46], characterize it to create filters specific to infectious traffic [10,16,17,34], and deploy such filters in the network [22,40]. Unfortunately, containment at Internet scales is challenging, requiring short reaction times and extensive deployment [28,45]. Again, since containment is inherently reactive, some hosts always become infected.

Various approaches take advantage of software heterogeneity to make systems fault-tolerant. N-version programming uses different implementations of the same service to prevent correlated failures across implementations. Castro's Byzantine fault tolerant NFS service (BFS) is one such example [4] and provides excellent fault-tolerant guarantees, but requires multiple implementations of every service. Scrambling the layout and execution of code can introduce heterogeneity into deployed software [1]. However, such approaches can make debugging, troubleshooting, and maintaining software considerably more challenging. In contrast, our approach takes advantage of existing software diversity.

Lastly, Phoenix is just one of many proposed cooperative systems for providing archival and backup services. For example, Intermemory [5] and Oceanstore [18] enable stored data to persist indefinitely on servers distributed across the Internet. As with Phoenix, Oceanstore proposes mechanisms to cope with correlated failures [43]. The approach, however, is reactive and does not enable recovery after Internet catastrophes. With Pastiche [8], pStore [2], and CIBS [20], users relinquish a fraction of their computing resources to collectively create a backup service. However, these systems target localized failures simply by storing replicas offsite. Such systems provide similar functionality as Phoenix, but are not designed to survive wide-spread correlated failures of Internet catastrophes. Finally, Glacier is a system specifically designed to survive highly correlated failures like Internet catastrophes [11]. In contrast to Phoenix, Glacier assumes a very weak failure model and instead copes with catastrophic failures via massive replication. Phoenix relies upon a stronger failure model, but replication in Phoenix is modest in comparison.

next up previous
Next: System model Up: Surviving Internet Catastrophes Previous: Introduction
Flavio Junqueira 2005-02-17