[C3] Speed for the elite, consistency for the masses: differentiating eventual consistency in large-scale distributed systems


Eventual consistency is a consistency model that emphasizes liveness over safety; it is often used for its ability to scale as distributed systems grow larger. Eventual consistency tends to be uniformly applied to an entire system, but we argue that there is a growing demand for differentiated eventual consistency requirements. We address this demand with UPS, a novel consistency mechanism that offers differentiated eventual consistency and delivery speed by working in pair with a two-phase epidemic broadcast protocol. We propose a closed-form analysis of our approach’s delivery speed, and we evaluate our complete mechanism experimentally on a simulated network of one million nodes. To measure the consistency trade-off, we formally define a novel and scalable consistency metric that operates at runtime. In our simulations, UPS divides by more than 4 the inconsistencies experienced by a majority of the nodes, while reducing the average latency incurred by a small fraction of the nodes from 6 rounds down to 3 rounds.

The 2016 IEEE 35th Symposium on Reliable Distributed Systems