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Essential Reading

Mark McKeown recently posted a superb canned history of 2PC and consensus protocols on rest-discuss. A few of us asked him if he would make a weblog post out of it. And here it is: "A brief history of Consensus, 2PC and Transaction Commit." Here's a slice:

"By this time "consensus" was the name given to the problem of getting a bunch of processors to agree a value. In an asynchronous system (where processors run at arbitrary speeds and messages can take an arbitrarily long time to travel between processors) with a perfect network (all messages are delivered, messages arrive in order and can not be duplicated) distributed consensus is impossible with just one faulty process (even just a fail-stop). The kernel of the problem is that you cannot tell the difference between a process that has stopped and one that is running very slowly, making dealing with faults in an asynchronous system almost impossible."

June 13, 2007 11:45 PM


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