Group communications and database replication: techniques, issues and performance

Databases are an important part of today's IT infrastructure: both companies and state institutions rely on database systems to store most of their important data. As we are more and more dependent on database systems, securing this key facility is now a priority. Because of this, research on fault-tolerant database systems is of increasing importance. One way to ensure the fault-tolerance of a system is by replicating it. Replication is a natural way to deal with failures: if one copy is not available, we use another one. However implementing consistent replication is not easy. Database replication is hardly a new area of research: the first papers on the subject are more than twenty years old. Yet how to build an efficient, consistent replicated database is still an open research question. Recently, a new approach to solve this problem has been proposed. The idea is to rely on some communication infrastructure called group communications. This infrastructure offers some high-level primitives that can help in the design and the implementation of a replicated database. While promising, this approach to database replication is still in its infancy. This thesis focuses on group communication-based database replication and strives to give an overall understanding of this topic. This thesis has three major contributions. In the structural domain, it introduces a classification of replication techniques. In the qualitative domain, an analysis of fault-tolerance semantics is proposed. Finally, in the quantitative domain, a performance evaluation of group communication-based database replication is presented. The classification gives an overview of the different means to implement database replication. Techniques described in the literature are sorted using this classification. The classification highlights structural similarities of techniques originating from different communities (database community and distributed system community). For each category of the classification, we also analyse the requirements imposed on the database component and group communication primitives that are needed to enforce consistency. Group communication-based database replication implies building a system from two different components: a database system and a group communication system. Fault-tolerance is an end-to-end property: a system built from two components tends to be as fault-tolerant as the weakest component. The analysis of fault-tolerance semantics show what fault-tolerance guarantee is ensured by group communication based replication techniques. Additionally a new faulttolerance guarantee, group-safety, is proposed. Group-safety is better suited to group communication-based database replication. We also show that group-safe replication techniques can offer improved performance. Finally, the performance evaluation offers a quantitative view of group communication based replication techniques. The performance of group communication techniques and classical database replication techniques is compared. The way those different techniques react to different loads is explored. Some optimisation of group communication techniques are also described and their performance benefits evaluated.

    Thèse École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, n° 2577 (2002)
    Section d'informatique
    Faculté informatique et communications
    Institut d'informatique fondamentale
    Laboratoire de systèmes répartis
    Jury: Karl Aberer, Gustavo Alonso, Martin Odersky, Philippe Pucheral

    Public defense: 2002-5-31


    Record created on 2005-03-16, modified on 2016-08-08

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