We present PRACTI, a new approach for large-scale replication. PRACTI systems can replicate or cache any subset of data on any node (Partial Replication), provide a broad range of consistency guarantees (Arbitrary Consistency), and permit any node to send information to any other node (Topology Independence). A PRACTI architecture yields two significant advantages. First, by providing all three PRACTI properties, it enables better trade-offs than existing mechanisms that support at most two of the three desirable properties. The PRACTI approach thus exposes new points in the design space for replication systems. Second, the flexibility of PRACTI protocols simplifies the design of replication systems by allowing a single architecture to subsume a broad range of existing systems and to reduce development costs for new ones. To illustrate both advantages, we use our PRACTI prototype to emulate existing server replication, client-server, and object replication systems and to implement novel policies that improve performance for mobile users, web edge servers, and grid computing by as much as an order of magnitude.
USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI), May 2006
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