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Selected Publications on Distributed Systems

Zeno: Eventually Consistent Byzantine-Fault Tolerance
Citation key SFKRM-ZECBFT-09
Author Singh, Atul and Fonseca, Pedro and Kuznetsov, Petr and Rodrigues, Rodrigo and Maniatis, Petros
Title of Book 6th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI '09)
Pages 169–184
Year 2009
Location Boston, MA, USA
Address Berkeley, CA, USA
Month April
Publisher USENIX Association
Organization USENIX
Abstract Many distributed services are hosted at large, shared, geographically diverse data centers, and they use replication to achieve high availability despite the unreachability of an entire data center. Recent events show that non-crash faults occur in these services and may lead to long outages. While Byzantine-Fault Tolerance (BFT) could be used to withstand these faults, current BFT protocols can become unavailable if a small fraction of their replicas are unreachable. This is because existing BFT protocols favor strong safety guarantees (consistency) over liveness (availability). This paper presents a novel BFT state machine replication protocol called Zeno that trades consistency for higher availability. In particular, Zeno replaces strong consistency (linearizability) with a weaker guarantee (eventual consistency): clients can temporarily miss each other's updates but when the network is stable the states from the individual partitions are merged by having the replicas agree on a total order for all requests. We have built a prototype of Zeno and our evaluation using micro-benchmarks shows that Zeno provides better availability than traditional BFT protocols.
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