URA : a universal data replication architecture

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Zheng, Jiandan

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Data replication is a key building block for large-scale distributed systems to improve availability, performance, and scalability. Because there is a fundamental trade-off between performance and consistency as well as between availability and consistency, systems must make trade-offs among these factors based on the demands and technologies of their target environments and workloads. Unfortunately, existing replication protocols and mechanisms are intrinsically entangled with specific policy assumptions. Therefore, to accommodate new trade-offs for new policy requirements, developers have to either build a new replication system from scratch or modify existing mechanisms. This dissertation presents a universal data replication architecture (URA) that cleanly separates mechanism and policy and supports Partial Replication (PR), Any Consistency (AC), and Topology Independence (TI) simultaneously. Our architecture yields two significant advantages. First, by providing a single set of mechanisms that capture the common underlying abstractions for data replication, URA can serve as a common substrate for building and deploying new replication systems. It therefore can significantly reduce the effort required to construct or modify a replication system. Second, by providing a set of general and flexible mechanisms independent of any specific policy, URA enables better trade-offs than any current system can provide. In particular, URA can simultaneously provide the three PRACTI properties while any existing system can provide at most two of them. Our experimental results and case-study systems confirm that universal data replication architecture is a way to build better replication systems and a better way to build replication systems.