Infoscience

Conference paper

Clock-SI: Snapshot Isolation for Partitioned Data Stores Using Loosely Synchronized Clocks

Clock-SI is a fully distributed protocol that implements snapshot isolation (SI) for partitioned data stores. It derives snapshot and commit timestamps from loosely synchronized clocks, rather than from a centralized timestamp authority as used in current systems. A transaction obtains its snapshot timestamp by reading the clock at its originating partition and Clock-SI provides the corresponding consistent snapshot across all the partitions. In contrast to using a centralized timestamp authority, Clock-SI has availability and performance benefits: It avoids a single point of failure and a potential performance bottleneck, and improves transaction latency and throughput. We develop an analytical model to study the trade-offs introduced by Clock-SI among snapshot age, delay probabilities of transactions, and abort rates of update transactions. We verify the model predictions using a system implementation. Furthermore, we demonstrate the performance benefits of Clock-SI experimentally using a micro-benchmark and an application-level benchmark on a partitioned key-value store. For short read-only transactions, Clock-SI improves latency and throughput by 50% by avoiding communications with a centralized timestamp authority. With a geographically partitioned data store, Clock-SI reduces transaction latency by more than 100 milliseconds. Moreover, the performance benefits of Clock-SI come with higher availability.

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