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Thursday
Jul312014

Paper: ZooKeeper: Wait-free coordination for Internet-scale systems

In this paper, we describe ZooKeeper, a service for coordinating processes of distributed applications. Since ZooKeeper is part of critical infrastructure, ZooKeeper aims to provide a simple and high performance kernel for building more complex coordination primitives at the client. It incorporates elements from group messaging, shared registers, and distributed lock services in a replicated, centralized service. The interface exposed by Zoo-Keeper has the wait-free aspects of shared registers with an event-driven mechanism similar to cache invalidations of distributed file systems to provide a simple, yet powerful coordination service.

 

The ZooKeeper interface enables a high-performance service implementation. In addition to the wait-free property, ZooKeeper provides a per client guarantee of FIFO execution of requests and linearizability for all requests that change the ZooKeeper state. These design decisions enable the implementation of a high performance processing pipeline with read requests being satisfied byvlocal servers. We show for the target workloads, 2:1 to 100:1 read to write ratio, that ZooKeeper can handle tens to hundreds of thousands of transactions per second. This performance allows ZooKeeper to be used extensively by client applications.

ZooKeeper achieves throughput values of hundreds of thousands of operations per second for read-dominant workloads by using fast reads with watches, both of which served by local replicas. Although our consistency guarantees for reads and watches appear to be weak, we have shown with our use cases that this combination allows us to implement efficient and sophisticated coordination protocols at the client even though reads are not precedence-ordered and the implementation of data objects is wait-free. The wait-free property has proved to be essential for high performance.

Although we have described only a few applications, there are many others using ZooKeeper. We believe such a success is due to its simple interface and the powerful abstractions that one can implement through this interface. Further, because of the high-throughput of ZooKeeper, applications can make extensive use of it, not only course-grained locking.

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