Efficient Fork-Linearizable Access to Untrusted Shared Memory

When data is stored on a faulty server that is accessed concurrently by multiple clients, the server may present inconsistent data to different clients. For example, the server might complete a write operation of one client, but respond with stale data to another client. Mazieres and Shasha (Proc. PODC 2002, pp. 108–117) introduced the notion of fork-consistency, also called fork-linearizability, which ensures that the operations seen by every client are linearizable and guarantees that if the server causes the views of two clients to differ in a single operation, they may never again see each other’s updates after that without the server being exposed as faulty. In this paper, we improve the communication complexity of their fork-linearizable storage access protocol with n clients from Omega (n squared) to O(n). We also prove that in every such protocol, a reader must wait for a concurrent writer. This explains a seeming limitation of their and of our improved protocol. Furthermore, we give novel characterizations of fork-linearizability and prove that it is neither stronger nor weaker than sequential consistency.

By: Christian Cachin; Abhi Shelat; Alexander Shraer

Published in: RZ3688 in 2007


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