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«Efficient, scalable consistency for highly fault-tolerant storage GARTH GOODSON August 2004 CMU-CS-04-111 Dept. of Electrical and Computer ...»

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While this thesis has demonstrated the feasibility of using versioning storage-nodes to provide consistency through the use of scalable, optimistic protocols, there are many tradeoffs and design decisions that remain unanswered.

There exist additional system models that use stronger assumptions to reduce the constraints (in terms of N, QC, and m) of the protocol in use. For example, we have developed a family of R/W protocols that enable the client to choose between a synchronous or asynchronous timing model, Byzantine or crash fault models (for both clients and storage-nodes), and repair or non-repair [Goodson et al. 2003]. There is a tradeoff between when to use which of the protocol family members. Additionally, alternative fault models could be examined. The focus, in the work so far, has been on Byzantine and crash faults. Additional fault models between these two extremes exist. For example, many applications may not require the expensive cost of Byzantine faults, but require protection from integrity or value faults, which may lead to lower constraints. As well, non-colluding Byzantine faults may be considered.

For the block-based protocols there is the tradeoff between when to use the different encoding schemes. There exists the option to increase space-efficiency by increasing · 128 Efficient, scalable consistency for highly fault-tolerant storage the m parameter. However, increasing m also requires an increase in N and QC, which requires communicating with a larger number of storage-nodes and thus leads to higher disk head utilization. Different workloads may require different configurations and encoding schemes (e.g., the use of replication over the striping of data, or the combination of replication and erasure coding). Identifying the correct configuration to use for each application is an interesting problem. Similarly, different quorum constructions have different properties in terms of load and scalability. Thus, knowing when to transition between different quorum constructions could prove to be of great benefit to the system.

Additionally, an examination of the availability and reliability of the system when using different encoding schemes can be made.

There are also a number of protocol optimizations that can be used. For example, authenticators could be used the R/W protocol to enable garbage collection without the need for storage-nodes to communicate. Additionally, write witnesses may be used to increase space-efficiency in many of the protocols. Similar to read witnesses, write witnesses hold only a timestamp with no data, but have the ability to vote for a specific piece of data by use of the data hash contained within the timestamp.

In terms of the file system, a number of tradeoffs and open questions exist. In order to provide true file sharing between clients, the issue of client cache coherency must be addressed. There are traditional methods such as locks and leases with (or without) callbacks that solve this problem. However, synchrony assumptions are often introduced to detect clients who fail while holding locks. The impact of these assumptions have not been examined. As well, a fully functional file system requires the enforcement of access control. While an overview of lock/lease and access control objects was discussed, they have not been implemented. Lastly, a thorough examination of the tradeoffs involved in desiging a storage-service can be made (e.g., the use of the R/W protocol vs. the R/CW protocol in providing the storage-service).

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