Friday, January 30, 2015

ZooKeeper: wait-free coordination for internet scale systems

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Distributed systems would be much simpler if the distributed parts didn’t have to coordinate in some fashion. But it’s this notion of ‘working together’ to achieve some aim that differentiates a distributed system from an unrelated bag of parts. Examples of the need for coordination include configuration information, leader elections, group membership, rendezvous points, resource locking, and synchronized computation with double barriers. ZooKeeper doesn’t implement any of these! But – it does implement an underlying coordination mechanism on top of which all of these coordination protocols and more can be easily built. It’s designed for high throughput (tens to hundreds of thousands of transactions per second) under workloads that are read-dominated.

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