Wrapping my thinking around vector clocks

Ben Tilly btilly at gmail.com
Thu Apr 21 21:29:06 EDT 2011

Riak's design explicitly falls into the AP corner of the widely cited
CAP Theorem.  This means that it gives up consistency.  The scenario
that you are asking about involves consistency in a deep way, and so
is tricky to do with Riak.

Your life will be much easier if you visit
http://blog.nahurst.com/visual-guide-to-nosql-systems and pick a
system that supports consistency from the get go for the part of your
work that requires those semantics.

On Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 11:47 AM, Jeffrey Kesselman <jeffpk at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Guys,
> I've been studying Riak and am considering a major technology base
> shift in a project I've been working on for more then  a decade (the
> Project Darkstar/RedDwarf game server.)  As may coming to this from a
> strict RDBMS background I am sure, I am trying to wrap my head around
> vector clocks.
> I read the "Why vector clocks are reasy" blog and think i follow that.
>  My question is this: what if I have multiple data changes to multipel
> data structures that all have to remain in sync (be atomic)? Which
> data strictures are  involved in any one change is not predictable.  I
> can allow for eventual resolution of that consistent state, and even
> change from one consistent state to another, but the state must always
> be consistant.  This is easy to do in a traitional transaction btu im
> having trouble with the VC equivalent.
> As a gedanken experiment picture two players trying to buy a limited
> commodity of which there is only 1 available.  In both cases they are
> attempting to decrement their money, remove the object from the store
> inventory, and add it to their own inventory. Only one can succeed as
> these 3 actions must be atomic.  It is okay for both to initially
> think they succeeded as long as next time we go to look at these
> states they resolve themselves. (Assume a resolution mechanism, for
> argument we can say earliest timestamp wins.)
> This needs to be a general solution, knowledge of what the data
> structures are or do *cannot* be part of the solution.  This means
> that the item cant itself have an "owner" field which is part of the
> disambiguating logic.  Disambiguating all structures (the 2 player
> inventories, the store  inventory and the two players money values)
> must be done without any semantic knowledge of what the data is for.
> Is this possible?  Can someone lay out the solution based on the
> simpel case above?
> Thanks
> JK
> Note that I need a general solutioso any
> --
> It's always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
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